The Magical World of Guatemalan Asphalt


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Published: September 4th 2008
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Dear Friends,

Sometime you make a decision, and it implies some obligations. Along with our decision to go to Soloma came many many days of buses. Jin and I took two days of solid bus riding to get in and out of that scary town, we spent two in Xela, and now we´ve spent two getting here to the heart of the Guatemalan Jungle, Flores City, outside of the Mayan ruins of Tikal.

Buses can be a wonderful thing. We sit in packed conditions, like the 27 man van in Chichi. Being that close with local Guatemalans is neat in and of itself. It is generally a very quiet experience. One day, as Jin and I headed towards the coffee capital of Guatemala, the highland city of Coban, as we drove in silence from town to town, hour after hour, hearing only the occasional yell of the bus driver as he tried to pack the van even further, it was as if I could almost feel my sanity slowly slipping away.

Today, Jin and I got on a bus at 6 in the morning leaving Coban. As we got on, things were a little strange. The driver who put us on had a little grin, as if Slick Willy had just gotten a cookie, free of charge. We announced where we were going, but even some of the passengers said that wasn´t our destination. It turns out he took us most of the way, and then put us on another bus, free of charge, so he was only stretching the truth. But the ride itself was beautiful. We watched the clouds rise out of the jungle in the morning. And we got so deep in the woods, that Spanish became just as infrequently heard as English, and everyone on board spoke in some native language that sounded much like Arabic.

But on the other hand, as nice as they are, they are still 8 hours of hot, sweaty, crammed buses. At the moment though, it is all becoming worth it. Jin and I are sitting in this internet bar on the banks of a beautiful jungle clad lake. There are three computers in this cinder block, tin-roofed room, a satalite dish outiside and chicken clucking in the background. We went swimming in the lake today, and the only dissappointment was how warm it was, and its not a small lake!

Tomorrow, to the magical ruins of Tikal. Hopefully folks, no more buses for a while. Thanks for all your responses. I love hearing from you all, knowing that you are reading my letters. My favorite part of these travels is always sharing them with others, and hearing your stories too. So keep them coming folks, and of course, post card requests? I always deliver.

Love,
Carl

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