Quetzaltenango - lovely place to reenter Guatemala

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Nov 04, 2008

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Where I stayed
Kiktem-Ja: $21 double, fire place!, ensuite, tv, lovely

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Monday, August 4, 2008

Again, the theory is confirmed. If you get up early and wait for the bus, you will be the last one to be picked up and it will be late. Next time we book a bus ride we will be in our underjohns until it arrives!

So instead of 7.30 a.m the bus arrived at 8.00 a.m and it was already packed. We hardly had any space for our backpacks (the driver somehow managed to squash them in the van).

Off we went for 3 hours drive to the frontier, and it was curve after curve after curve...very scenic but only if you can keep yourself from getting "van sick". The frontier is just a small market place, where you need to pay the exit stamp for Mexico at the bank (237 Pesos = $12.5 per person). We thought the tax was only 200 Pesos per person (thats what the agency told us), so we had specifically kept 400 pesos in our wallet to avoid having to change any money back to Quetzales. So it was annoying that we had to pay one of the tax fees in Dollars and then change to Dollars in Mexico (the exchange rate to Quetzals at the frontier is a joke!)

At the frontier we got our stamp into Guatemala again (second time) and suprisingly paid no entry tax.

Change of van to a Guatemalan one, and the fun starts again. Guatemalans just dont know what road signs and the paint on the road means. They must think the yellow lines are just a reminder that the road is there. So travelling in Guatemala is more like "Herby goes to the Races" than a scenic tour. Strangely we still havenīt seen (or been involved!!) in any accident.

The good news is, that was the "last" of our long bus trips. We only have 3 more buses to take before getting to USA, and they are under 2 hours travel time...so a bit of relief there.

From the frontier is was just over 3 hours to Quetzaltenango (locally know with its Maya name of Xela). And the first impression is very, very positive. We have just taken one photo to include in the entry today as it is raining, but the town certainly has a lot of character.

The best part is the hotel we have booked into. The "Kiktem-Ja" which had large rooms, classic wooden floors and roofs and a lovely fireplace in each room (and cable TV which we have missed during 2 weeks to see what is happening in the world). Its only $21 for both of us, so a deal.

We met a couple (US girl - French boy) in the bus and will meet up with them later for some food and drink. We are sharing travel battle stories (they did an 8 month trip to South America 4 years ago) so should be a nice evening.

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