Loving Guatemala!

Trip Start Mar 14, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Guatemala  , Sacatepéquez,
Saturday, April 17, 2004

Guatemala is by far my favorite country so far and I can say that if you never travel here in your lifetime, you are missing out on a great experience.

After leaving the finca, I took an overnight bus to Guatemala city. A girl I met at the finca told me dont even think about stepping outside the bus terminal without getting right into a taxi. So when I arrived, I went for a walk to see what the fuss was all about and actually found it to be quite pleasant. It was 9 in the morning though and the warnings for this area apply more to nightfall. Due to time and location issues, I chose to eat at McDonalds for lunch. Let me tell you they have the fastest service in the world! The place was packed and the workers literally run at top speed. After ordering, I had everything on a tray in about 12 seconds. Ive never seen such fast food efficiency.

In the afternoon, I needed to catch a chicken bus to Antigua but it was getting dark. I met up with my Australian and Portuguese friends and shared a cab with them. The cab driver caught up to the bus we needed and cut it off and stopped it by waving his hands. In seconds, our backpacks were on the roof and we piled in. This is by far the most crowded bus Ive ever been on ... and they still managed to get more people on after that. At its peak, we estimated there were about 85 people on the bus. The ride itself was horrifying as the driver insisted on taking turns at top speed. I thought we were going to roll over for sure but the locals, who have done this a million times, were the only calming effect and didnt express much interest in just about anything. We arrived safe in Antigua, an old colonial city with cobblestone streets and interesting architecture. The town is full of gringos. There are many spanish schools here as well as cheap hotels which draw in the backpackers. Some people never leave! I said goodbye to Chris and Kate from Oz and Ricardo from Portugal. They dont have as much time as I do and they need to move quickly from place to place and I want to slow it down a little. Ill probably stay here til Monday the 19th. It is cooler here since I am in the mountains now and at a much higher elevation. Well, Im off to book a guided tour to climb an active volcano.
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