Mexico to Guatemala border crossing

Trip Start Nov 15, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Guatemala  ,
Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The adventure begins at an end-of-the-road, but start-of-the-river town called Tenosique. Dilapidated and semi-deserted, but with a kind of charm we canīt describe.

We wait in vain for the hope of other tourists to share the costs of a boat down-river to the Guatemalan border. No tourists, but weīre entertained in a dingy riverside cafe by an ex-medical student turned construction worker who is drinking shots of tequila to keep warm (as the thermometer hits 25). What a lovely guy - we had our best Spanish conversation yet with a Mexican (they generally speak quickly and with lots of swear-words) - lucky it is a familiar topic for us:

Steeeeevie Eeeeerwin el cazador de cocodrilos as they call him in Spanish. You may better recognise him as Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter.
A lot of people over here love watching Discovery Channel and Animal Planet and Steeeevie was a real favourite. Given that a lot of people in Mexico and Central America will never have the opportunity to move far from their own countries, weīre generally impressed by how well-informed and interested they are about the outside world.

It is a relief to know that we can finally converse with someone in Mexico, even if he is drunk at 08:30 am. We politely decline his offer to drive us to the nearest town in the event that we donīt find a boat to our desired destination.

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The boat trip itself was completed in periodic torrential rain and we comforted ourselves by looking over to the shore and telling ourself we could swim there if needs be. The boat was a sturdy-enough fibreglass model, but lifejackets and any other type of safety equipment on most boat journeys here just arenīt a consideration.

Our driver Rodrigo was a dentistīs worst nightmare who had an operatic bent and serenaded us often during the next hour, while pointing out local birdlife and crocodiles in the river
We swapped onto a Guatemalan boat next with a driver intent on breaking some kind of river speed record. We bumped up and down on the hard seats and achieved a first - an impressive kind of bum bruising as a result. One interesting image of this part of the journey was a church picnic group whizzing by in a speedboat and the nunīs veils streaming out behind them.

Arriving at Guatemalan immigration at a riverside town called El Naranjo, we were warmly welcomed by a customs official as if we were his long-lost children. He was thrilled that we could speak Spanish and attempted to discuss serious German literature such as Nietzche and Freud with us.

Only a walk on muddy roads, bus, moto-taxi and a little boat ride later and weīd reached our objective of Flores in Guatemala.
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