I am writing this blog while we are on a four to five hour bus from Coban to Guatemala City. Do you see the guy in a military uniform on the right side of the picture? Coban’s annual festival was this week, so many of the military people who participated in the street parade are with us on the bus. This is our fourth day in Guatemala and we have experienced a wide range of public transport options with differing levels of comfort. The bus we are currently on is called a pulman bus. Our bags are stored in the baggage space below and we are forced get to watch Transformers during our trip.
The past few days have consisted of a series of exhausting bus rides and transfers, border crossings, rushed meals and hurried bathroom breaks. Though I feel drained, we have already seen two highlights in Guatemala: the natural pools at Semuc Champey and the breathtaking pyramids in the jungle at Tikal:
It’s not always possible or appropriate to take picture’s while we are in buses or colectivo’s or holding on for dear life on the back of a bakkie (pick up) on a gravel road. I did manage to take a few pictures to show something of what we’ve seen on the road in Guatemala.
From Tikal we took a shuttle to Coban with our four travel friends that we’ve gathered along the way and two others travelers from the UK. We had to cross a river on a special platform. In front of us was a pick up truck transporting pigs. This is exactly the same type of pick up truck that we rode in/ on when we went to the pools at Semuc Champey yesterday.
After getting used to the development and infrastructure in Mexico, I am shocked by how rural and poor Guatemala appears to be.
We stopped at a restaurant for a delicious lunch of meat, rice and salad and coconut juice! Since arriving in Guatemala we’ve had many of these meals for lunch and dinner. After lunch when we had an awkward encounter because initially the lady said the coconuts are 2 Quetzales each (less than 4 Rand), but when we had to pay another lady said for foreigners the price is 5 Quetzales (less than 10 Rand). We didn’t mind paying, because it was still very cheap, but when Dirk tried to explain that he already paid extra for the coconuts the bus driver got involved in the argument and everyone ended up being unhappy.
I took the picture below while we were waiting in the minibus in Coban to go to Lanquin. All the women in Coban wore similar skirts and tops to what the seated woman is wearing. The men wear regular western clothes.
One aspect that stands out in Guatemala is the green green hills. Around every bend there’s more green to be seen!
Through the window of the bus we saw rows of corn on hills and lots of other trees.
We passed a few pedestrians along the way.
I took the two pictures below in Lanquin as we were waiting for the pick up truck to go to Semuc Champey.
They also have Shell garages in Guatemala: