Hue hue, the border and xela

Trip Start Sep 01, 2007
Trip End Sep 10, 2008

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Flag of Guatemala  ,
Monday, October 1, 2007

ok.  enough about the chicken buses.  what about the rest of it?  we left san cristobal on a bus bound for the border town of cuauhtemoc/la mesilla.   since we had all our meals taken care of and our bus tickets in hand in san cristobal, we didnīt get more mexican pesos out of the bank.   we therefore only had $6 pesos in hand (enough for 2 trips to the bathroom).  this was very very dumb on our part!  and here is why. 

the bus station and immigration for mexico side of the border are not actually AT the border but 4 km away.   these 4km are not far but also not considered safe to walk according to the immigration officer.   so now we are forced to take a taxi--without money.   DUMB!!!!   no atm here or at the border.   we have american dollars but the money changer dudes are at the ·$%·&%$/%& border.   ok.  so we start on a cabbie.  he is willing to take us and wait  for the money, but it will cost more.  our fault no point in arguing that.   but then another lady starts to get in the cab.  are we sharing?  i donīt get it.   ummmh? what is happening here?  oh!  the dude wants full fare from ALL of us on the one trip.   i got it.   so now me, jason, this lady, her kid and 2 boxes are all in the back of the cab.  he stops for another guy to get in the front.   again for full fare.  then he tries for another guy.   are you kidding me?  just where is that dude going to sit? in jasonīs lap?   anyway, after honking, whistling, waving and waiting he finally decides his cab is full and therefore worth the actual trip to the border.     the lady next to us loans us the money for the cab.  (she offered, we didnīt ask) because this way he wonīt wait and get annoyed and she is going our way anyway.   very nice.    so we get out of the cab at a road block and the hassling starts.   i think they are speaking spanish but they mumble and i donīt really understand them all.  

anyway, we start walking in no manīs land.   this is effectively a bridge with booths on both sides hawking everything.  the money changers are ready.   we go to the immigration office and get our passports stamped and then change some american money for the nice lady.   then we walked some more.   we came to a road blockade that we walked under and -----wham guatemala.   ???ŋ!!! huh??ŋ thatīs it?  okayyy....

the stalls continue until you get up the hill.   little golf carts run up and down as taxis.   as we near the top of the hill, there is a lot of loitering and glassy eyes.  but í donīt know if itīs from beer, pot or the gas fumes from the cars and trucks.   and, by the way, we stick out.    2 enormous white people with huge back packs.  there is nothing we can do not to really.   irene is at the tall end of the range here and even with her olive skin, is very light in comparison.  one can only imagine the tales of giant white monsters the kids tell at night after seeing jason.  one guy said to him "you pass 2 meters!!"    so anyway, at the top of the hill waits the devil on wheels where the other story began.  

on the way to huehuetenango the canyons fall gradually away to hills and farmlands.   the corn fields begin early and are literally at a 45 degree angle on the mountain.   these become more mild and the rope bridges across the canyon become more sturdy. at a cross roads we watch 2 kids not more than 4 and 6 pour gasoline into a manīs tank, then lick the funnel, huff the fumes, and stagger away with some cash.    the gas station just down the street translates to $12/gallon!!!

hue hue is weird.  alot of people loiter around the zocalo.  and not just on sunday night.   also all day on monday too.    this is uncomfortable an we feel like targets.  we catch another devil bus to xelaju (quetzaltenango).  the ride is hysterical but the scenery is great.   huge pine forests, volcanoes, corn fields and mountains.   xela is more comfortable and with less loitering. 

the streets of the towns we go through are narrow and often cobbled.  the side walks are narrower than san cristobal.   after the devil incarnate on wheels, you canīt beat a private room for $10 US a night ! 
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