The best laid plans can go astray, even with very experienced travelers like Mr Jim and I.
Bravely we decided to hire a car and drive ourselves in Guatemala instead of paying a guide who wanted an absolute fortune. Jim arrived earlier in the day than I and drove on his own to Antigua. Unable to access GPS, and with incorrect advice on the road rate the 1 hour trip extend to 4 hours. He arrived shattered, tired and less than relaxed.
I, in turn was picked up by a driver around 8.00 pm. That’s a scary situation too. Is he really taking me to my destination? Its pitch dark, we don’t speak the same language and we were in bumper to bumper traffic the entire way. I was on edge and looked for signs that I could understand and recognize. Antigua, there it is. The relief is immense…. goodness this is supposed to be a relaxing break. But once I stepped into the hotel lobby I felt the stress slip away.
I’ve posted quite a lot about our adventures in Antigua and it really was our favorite place to be.
On the home journey.
Today we are on our journey home Driving our own car that has a sticky accelerator. Put your foot down and it takes 10 seconds to re-act…. not too good for passing on mountain roads. Well really, Jim is driving and I’m watching the road and looking out for non existent road signs.
We left Lake Atitilan at around 8.oo am and headed out of the city. The small town was just waking up, and as we bumbled over the cobblestones, we passed people heading to work. Dogs yawned and yelped, There was the smell of coffee in the air and mist from the lake hung low over the lower part of town.
We passed dozens of tuk tuks. The Bangkok-style tuk tuk is the basic taxi around town, its an entertaining way to get around.
We climbed steeply into the mountains and passed huge waterfalls on the right side and frighteningly there was a deep cliff on the left but I admit it provided magnificent views of the lake. Chug, Chug, behind a slow moving truck that belched black smoke.
Families were walking on the side of the road and it occurred to me that we never see an entire family out walking (specially on the road) in the early hours of the morning. Everyone wore national costume. Men, Women and Children and I felt like I was in a National Geographic documentary. Old women, laden down with bundles of wood. Men carrying huge boxes and bags on their backs, small children holding the hands of their parents and I know I would have heart failure if I had to walk with my Grandies on a road full of trucks, bikes and feral busses while walking down a mountain side.
People were working in the fields so steep you could hardly stand.
Pleased with our progress, we followed the signs to Guatemala. The roads were clear and the car performed rather well under the circumstances. Past Antigua and into the city. There is no GPS here, and we couldn’t even download the route on google maps. “No access in the destination” it said. Grrrr.
Jim had access to a form of GPS but only the road, no names… so follow the dot to Mr Thrifty. A few wrong turns and a lot of intuition and finally we arrived at 12.00 to our destination and Mr Thrifty took us to our Hotel. The Westin Camino Real.
Oh, Luxury. With our luggage in tow, we fronted at the registration. The girl behind the counter looked puzzled, Oh, Mr Jim we have you arriving tomorrow!
Jim and I looked at each other and just burst out laughing… we were a day ahead of ourselves. We were so intent on relaxing and not taking note of schedules we stuffed it.
“Sorry we have no vacancy tonight, we are completely booked out”
Well, the end of the story is that she booked us a room just down the street at the Intercontinental and we have to shift to the Westin tomorrow, now I have 3 nights here and Jim has two.
The room is very comfy and the internet is fast.
The view from the window is wonderful, but I decided to relax and work, no more traveling today.