Unfortunate travel but necessary all the same...

Published: November 18th 2012
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Friday was a trip from Antigua to Coban. The sole purpose of this lengthy (7 hour) trip was to get closer to the Semuc Champey, which we will visit tomorrow.

We were picked up from our hotel in Antigua by a mini-van. We were the first on, and took the seat behind the driver. It turned out to be the roomiest spot on the bus, but it was a very long ride in a not so comfortable van. We picked up more people than was comfortable and finally left the city about an hour after we were first picked up. We had an Australian couple, a French couple, a guy from Tyler, Texas, one from Houston and another female. We had some traffic, but otherwise the roads were generally good. We ate lunch at a roadside cafeteria type restaurant with both tourists and locals. We ordered hamburgers, but to be quite honest, it did not taste like any beef we have ever had and only ½ of the bun, but it did the job.

After lunch, the male of the Australian couple told us that they had been backpacking almost nine months in South and Central America. They are young, had saved money up and quit their jobs to do it. They are planning to return at Christmas and just get new jobs and start again. How cool! He gave us some good pointers for the other countries where we are going and wrote down spots, “not to miss.”

We got off in Coban, as did the French couple (different hotels) and the others went on to a hostel closer to the Semuc Champey. We had researched those accommodations, but chose to stay in Coban to avoid the “bed bugs” and shared bathrooms, per Trip Adviser.

Coban is not a place to just come visit, apparently. We arrived at our hotel and rang a bell to get in. There is a big wooden door out front and then a wrought iron gate with a big old school pad lock on it to keep people from coming in. There are bars on every window, both outside and inside the courtyard of the hotel. The courtyard is very nice and full of beautiful plants. See photos. Across the street there is a diabetes clinic, which apparently has drugs; thus, there is a security guard with a shotgun out front. (The weapon was very similar to an M870 riot control shotgun, called a “splatter gun” because of the damage it does.) We were going to go to dinner and walk, but our clerk said it would not be safe.

We ended up eating at the restaurant at our hotel (we were the only people here!). We had the typical in Central American hotels (but confusing) Spaghetti Bolognese and a Nutella crepe for dessert. It was very nice and served by a very meticulous, grandmother type. In the room, the beds are hard as a rock and the pillows flat, but, we really can’t complain on an adventure, right?

As an aside, the weather here is just awesome. Warm during the day and cool enough at night to need a blanket and no A/C. Tomorrow, new adventures await us.

Additional photos below
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