Trip Start Mar 11, 2011
217Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Umma Gumma Hostel
That's probably what Juan told his friends that night (in proper Spanish!). That's right, Mario and I solicited a lift from a random guy in a pick-up truck on the streets of Xela. But don't worry, he was a family man and the 5 of us could easily overpower him if push comes to shove. We'll be the ones doing the pushing and shoving!
The traditional modes of transport were just too extortionate - the tourist shuttle, the long distance bus, the freight vans. Besides, we'd much rather hand over some cash to the little guy (no pun intended!)
Overall it was a pleasant enough journey - we enjoyed the views of volcanoes, villages, shops, people and election posters galore. Juan had the foresight to tie down the canopy BEFORE the daily rainfall started around 3pm. The only other "stone in our path" was in fact, a huge rockslide that totally covered our lane and half of the other. Rockslides are part and parcel of life in a volcanically and seismically active country like Guatemala.
It was scary to think that there was no way anyone or anything could have survived if they were unfortunate to be underneath it. Even scarier is knowing that if we were about 10 minutes earlier... There were so many rocks that we couldn't even establish whether any vehicles were underneath. The earthmovers were on the scene surprisingly quickly. We suspect they rushed over from the construction sites further along the road. They cleared a single lane to let traffic ease through.
We were back on our merry way and in no time, we arrived safely in Antigua. Some of us managed to nap while others squeezed in some Spanish audio lessons. Mario says that Liliana seemed mesmerised by all the sights along the way that Juan pointed out to her. Apparently it was her first time in Antigua and we were pleased that we inadvertently made it happen.