11 September, Belize to Guatemala
After discussions with Dan and Heather I decided to leave first thing in the morning (6pm) to catch the country bus into Belize City. There are festivities on and no buses on Sunday. I got to the city and the driver took me right in thankfully. Given my large case it was a relief, but amazingly I seem to be traveling fine as long as I don’t go off the beaten track.
I had breakfast (awful eggs) and a coffee next to the Belcove (has a love heart in the logo). I ordered my bus ticket to Tikal or the nearest town Flores. I walked to the bus terminal and was able to do a bit of internet. I have got a host in San Salvador, but noticed he hasn’t looked at this messages. Anyway, he has agreed for me to stay, I just have to hope there is wireless when I get to San Salvador or will have to wing it again. I was able to book a ticket from Belize to San Salvador so that was a relief.
Anyway the bus came for Flores, Guatemala. There were only four of us on it and they were an American, Dutch and South Korean. Turns out they came in from Cancun on the bus to Belize when I did, as they recognized me. The bus was a little bus, no airconditioning (eek) and no toilet. It is a four hour drive and you have to hope you don’t need to go. The driver let me sit up front with him. He was quite a handsome guy, he told me in broken English about his family and showed me 4 shells he said that is his two children and wife. I thought how lovely to explain his family in that way and he put the shells in his pocket.
I sat all the trip in the front and looked at the countryside. I wondered if I will go back to Australia, I really don’t have any reason to go back. I wondered about my work and decided all I can do is take it a day at a time. Not to miss this precious moment. We got to passport checkpoint. Had to get out change money into quetzals (Guatemalan currency) around 6 or 7 to $US. So it is cheap here. Got my passport stamped as exited and nearly didn’t have it stamped Guatemalan side. I very casually just entered Guatemala not realizing I hadn’t had my passport stamped. So those on the bus told me and I quickly went back to do the paper work.
The countryside is very lime green with lots of trees and forest. They are abundant in nature in Guatemala.
The bus I was in did drive very fast but I have to trust that the driver knows what he is doing. I did notice the Guatemalan woman next to me complaining as he overshot the pick up spots for people and reversed back. I think he thought he was a formula 1 driver trying for a land speed record.
Anyway, as I sat there for 12 hours (eek) we traveled through mountain passes, across flater land with mountains all around, to me it seemed much greater than Switzerland. I wondered why Guatemala wasn’t well known by the outside world (before they deforest it all). In Belize and Guatemala you see billboards of politicians, actually come to think of it heaps of it in Mexico. I do feel cynicism around politicians as it seems the corruption is endemic and whilst there does seem visible change in respect of modernizing, the natural environment is the price. People have no issue throwing plastic bottles out the window and often you see pockets of garbage accumulated on the ground. So they are not that conscious of their link to the natural world. They have also become disconnected even though not that much time has passed where they were living quite innocently in communities. I am also aware of the wars that have taken place and the time it takes to get over the psychological turmoil of constant fear and uncertainty.