Guatemala City to Escuintla and Puerto San Jose

Trip Start Apr 30, 2006
Trip End May 07, 2006

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Wednesday, May 3, 2006

May 2, 2006

Day Three

After a good nights sleep, I woke up refreshed and ready to take on the world, or at least Guatemala City once more. Jack had called a former student of Dixie's who lives here in Guatemala with her husband who is an Officer in the Army here. Mayra was born in Guatemala but grew up in Belize after her parents emigrated when she was a baby. She came back to Guatemala to go to University and went for 2 years during which time she fell in love and got married.

We successfully navigated from south center to northwest with a modicum of fuss and entered the military base where we found Mayra's house right on the main road. Jack had not seen her in over 5 years so they had a great time catching up, and talking about old times. Her husband came home from work for lunch and the ordered in a special meal of Chinese Food for lunch in our honor. I never thought I'd be eating Chow Mien in a private home in Guatemala City, that's for sure. Tasty though.

After we left Mayra's we decided that the most direct route would be to drive right through the center of town and set off during which we promptly got lost. Not for too long though. I think we may be getting the hang of this city. Maybe not but it's nice to have the occasional illusion of competency. I think I'll keep this one. One fairly straight shot to Ave. Bolivar which turns into Calzada something or other Batres and we were on the road to Esquintla and further to Puerto Quetzal.

The road was beautiful. Freshly paved and smooth 6 Lane Freeway all the way from Guatemala City to Esquintla where we took a short detour into town just to have a look around. It's not a touristy place. More like a commercial center. Back on the road.

50 Kms. of more good road (I'm amazed. We haven't seen a gravel road since the first 30 kms. from the Belize Border.) later we reached Puerto Quetzal which we soon found out is strictly a container port. After Jack asked around we found out where the Cruise Ship carrying Jack's Brother and Sister would be coming in.

Having sorted that out the search began to find a room for the night. We drove to Puerto San Jose and were dismayed at the lack of accommodations. Not non-existent, just sad looking. We decided to drive to the town on the other side of Puerto Quetzal, Iztapa. Hmmmmm. Even worse. Back to San Jose. I'm even now ensconced in a room with pink walls, blue carpet, puce green plastic chairs, and lavender sheets. There is air conditioning. In more ways than one. I can see outside around the A/C unit as the hole is not sealed. We had to unscrew the light bulb because even after I turned it off it continued to flicker.(horrible fluorescent) I made a crack about the hotel being situated directly across the street from a funeral home when we passed it the first time but, after a few hours in the pink room I have growing suspicions that it may be out of economic prudence.

Granted it's a good thing that the A/C makes a considerable amount of noise as they have some very large speakers playing music next to the reception that get turned off at 10 pm. ( we asked)

We walked from the hotel which is on the outskirts of town, to the main entry road where there is a small La Estancia (Guatemalan Fast Food Franchise) We got the Parrilla Platter for two which included 4 longaniza, 1 giant chuleta, 2 pcs. arrachera, and a 1/4 chicken served with salsa rojo, chimichurri, and picante + Garlic bread and
French Fries. Mmmmmm, Tasty. While waiting for our meal, I saw a rat, 6''- 8'' body, crawl under the storage area for beer. Didn't affect my appetite though. Too many years with Charlie Price(rats big as cats) in Belize I guess.

Of course, we failed to finish it all but were helped out by the appearance of a small black dog. Total cost : 161Q including tip = 22 usd

I get to relax tomorrow while Jack goes off to see his family and then we'll be back on the road in the afternoon. Have not yet decided whether to take the coast road to Mexico or detour into the highlands. I'm for the highlands but I'm leaving it up to Jack, as it's his car. I'll be happy either way. I've never been to either and he's been to both.
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