January 16th 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Tikal featuring on a bank-note

Again, Val was up with the lark.  Just as well, because by the time I struggled up, + had showered, she had packed everything up, and we had no time to lose, since we were catching the 10.30 bus south.  Joined Chris + Shane at the market for breakfast – we were all travelling on the same bus, tho’ to different destinations.  Val + I were getting off at San Felipe, Shane just beyond at Morales, + Chris, having discovered that flights to Guatemala City were booked up for several days, was taking the ride for the whole trip.  Luckily, we were just in time to grab a double seat each pair, tho’ the bus was so full, they were packing 3 to a seat by the time we left.  We had various companions – a mother + baby, a couple of kids, even a man with a cockerel.  And it was a crazy ride.  The road was really bumpy, but the driver sped along with superb indifference.  He went over one little hill so fast that everyone in the bus was thrown six inches up in the air.  And there were 2 checkpoints to break the tedium, the first military, the second civil.  At the military one, we were all searched – all the men, that is – + Chris was rather worried because he’d heard reports that knives were confiscated, + he had his Swiss Army one on him.  Still, he managed to bluff it through.  And at the other we were able to buy some really tasty empanadas.

So, Val + I were finally dropped off in the dark, at an amazing little shanty town, on the banks of the River Dulce, where we said goodbye to our companions of the last week.  It had been nice to have their company, especially for some English, (more or less) from Shane, but I don’t really think our personalities gelled; he was a little too much of the conceited colonial for me.  Still, their company had cheered the past week considerably.

Walked past an amazing, blaring, corrugated iron + chicken-wire cinema, + found a cheapish hotel.  Most disconcerted to discover  we only had Q6, so we couldn’t even afford to go out + eat, but had to make do with cheese + onion rolls in our room.  Ho hum.

Not the most relevant of photos, but there is an issue regarding such which will soon enough become apparent.  One of our regular encounters with the military; we never actually felt threatened, but that may have been our naivety kicking in, never having encountered government sanctioned violence.

The shanty town I recall well, walking past one seedy eating-place after another, lit by flaring kerosene lamps.

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