Guatemala to Mexico

Well, I just finished a full 24 hours of traveling by buses. Left for the San Pedro dock at 6am on Friday, arrived at the Oaxaca bus terminal on 6 am on Saturday. Honestly, it wasn’t as bad as I was thinking it would be.

Upon arrival to Guatemala, I took a shuttle from Antigua to Panajachel (about 3 hours) squished in the absolute worst spot in the bus – the back row, pull-out seat. As I met the shuttle driver in Panajachel yesterday, I was joyed to find out that there was no one else on board!

Guatemala Shuttle - A Nicer One

Guatemala Shuttle – A Nicer One

That would be short lived as we picked up one other passenger 2 hours into our drive in Quetzaltenango. It was some Israeli guy who was traveling alone and didn’t speak much English. Either way, we had the bus to ourselves the WHOLE trip to San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico!

This guy was cool. He didn’t speak much English, so we talked in Spanish most of the time. And, since our levels of Spanish were near identical, it was easy to understand each other. What’s interesting is that I still have problems picking up on the fast pace at which locals speak, but when I talk to foreigners that speak in Spanish, it’s like 2 monkeys communicating. It works.

For the first 4 hours of the trip, we both kind of fade in and out of consciousness since it was so early and neither had much sleep the night before. When I’m awake, I like to admire how nearly every inch of every mountain is completely owned by luscious green plant life. You just can’t see through any of it. And it’s all curvy mountain driving the whole way, with independent villages around every turn. I wanted to stop for pictures about 10 or 20 times, but that wasn’t going to happen with the pace at which the drivers go.

Which brings me to the point that driving is serious business in Guatemala. You either drive a slow vehicle, or you are proactively dangerous. I’m talking about extreme tailgating and passing ON BLIND TURNS – which are innumerable. I’m not joking, that happened alot! It never bothered me, though, since I’m kind of a demon on the roads myself.

There was one blind turn that our driver started to overtake someone and a car came barreling down the other side as we were neck and neck with another shuttle. He slammed on his brakes and I felt the Israeli, who was sleeping across the seats, launch into the back of my seat! lol

Here’s a small video of what I’m talking about. We’re all jockeying for position on the wrong side of the road. The chicken bus driver (overloaded with passengers) is actually CRAZIER than my driver. Look at him go!

Anyway, we made great time to the La Mesilla border and crossed in record time. We then met up with our next driver, who drove even faster. Of course, and interestingly enough, the landscape seems to change drastically once you enter Chiapas, Mexico. It’s like the mountain ranges completely stop and there is open road with which to haul ass.

Eventually, we get shoved out in San Cristobal de las Casas and decide to get some dinner. It was magnificent. Unfortunately, though, since we both speak semi-mangled Spanish, I misunderstood that his friends had already, in fact, left San Cristobal and I ended up buying a ticket to go to Oaxaca that would leave in 2 hours. I didn’t realize this until later, or else I would have just booked the same dorm that he did and we could have hung out for a few days. That sucks!

Well, life goes on and I end up boarding my bus with no one to hang out with in Oaxaca. These buses are alot more comfortable than the shuttles, as you can see. They recline way back and play movies until about 11.

Bus Seats - Maximum Recline!

Bus Seats – Maximum Recline!

Of course, there are no signs anywhere in any bus stations or on the bus itself that tells you what city you’re in. I just ended up asking someone when there was a stop around the 11-hour mark if we were in Oaxaca de Juarez. It worked. Cha-ching!

So, I grab my stuff, stop for some coffee and a baguette and formulate my plan. I know there’s a hostel within walking distance, so I wait 30 minutes for the sun to pop out and head on over. Luckily, they’re open and the guy sets me up in a dorm.

Unluckily, it seems to be filled with a bunch of early-20s people. I doubt it, but perhaps I can blend in? I’m Hip!

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