Lunch date in Guatemala

Right now, we are super-close to the Mexican border. In May, we won’t be; it’ll be a 24-hour bus ride north from LaPaz if we want to renew our visas. Solid chance we won’t quite be ready to leave by then, so we decided to field-trip it over to Guatemala for lunch. $100 to the Mexican government means we won’t have to exit the country until mid-June.

Not everyone follows procedure for crossing the boarder. These ferries shuttle people and goods across the river all day, on either side of the official bridge.
Not everyone follows procedure for crossing the border. These ferries shuttle people and goods across the river all day, on either side of the official bridge.


Need some fireworks?
Need some fireworks?


Bicitaxi through a boarder town.
Bicitaxi through a border town.

I wouldn’t agree that familiarity breeds contempt—I think it’s often the opposite—but it certainly means not seeing the quotidian with fresh eyes, so I made an effort on our trip across the border to note some stuff that would have seemed remarkable a year ago, but is now just part of our landscape:

  • Endless banana fields. You can tell which ones are Chiquita; they have irrigation, and the banana stems are all individually wrapped in plastic bags.
  • Motorcycle with a baby of about nine months, on the hip of a mama perched on the back. On a highway.
  • Oranges piled up in a mountain along a fence in the corner of a store, reaching over my head.
  • Shrines on the streets to the Virgin of Guadeloupe, decorated with tinsel, candles and fresh flowers.
  • Extra van seating that is just a bucket.
  • Beverages for sale in plastic bags with a straw.
  • Speed bumps the size of Cadillacs, in the middle of the highway.
  • Restaurants with pools. You want a burger, some enchiladas, a beer? Sure! You want to go swimming while you wait for your food? Also fine!
  • Mango plantations with trees bigger than our house.
  • Pickup trucks with the beds full of standing dudes, barreling down the highway at top speed.
  • Evangelical churches with palapa roofs and open-air seating on benches and mismatched plastic chairs.
  • Tamales for sale, brought right to the window of your car.
  • Traditional Mexican ballads that everyone knows. One of our collectivo drivers was in his late 20’s, but instead of playing reggaeton or pop music, he was blasting some ballad that had everyone in the van singing along.
  • Central American fast-food chicken. Pollo Loco, Pollo Campero, Pico Pollo, Pollo Rico—we’ve been seeing so many of these chains since Panama, and in our quest to pay with a credit card instead of exchanging Pesos for Quetzales, we finally ate in one. Not bad!
  • Girl of about 10 making huge pancakes on a burner in a crowded street.
  • Hundreds of three-wheeled vehicles: tuktuks, bicitaxis, moped taxis where the people ride in front like human cow-catchers…
  • An old guy crossing the bridge from Mexico to Guatemala with a live chicken.
Extra van seating
Extra van seating

These are some of the daily sights at which we no longer blink an eye. Well…except maybe for the guy with the live chicken.

The weather is settling down for us, and we plan on leaving the marina Thursday, in company with two other boats. The wind should be barreling back in with a vengeance by nightfall on Christmas, so we’ll be popping back out again quickly and heading for Acapulco. We are so excited to be a traveling boat once again.

Yeah, we'll be traveling on this guy's birthday. We pretended it was this morning, instead. Happy 11, buddy!
Yeah, we’ll be traveling on this guy’s birthday. We pretended it was this morning, instead. Happy 11, buddy!

4 Comments on “Lunch date in Guatemala

  1. Happy birthday Tino and belated to Francesca! enjoy the holidays as best you can, we’ll miss you on the Epiphany.
    Besos y abrazos,
    the uncles.

  2. Merry Christmas! Temps around zero and below here. Winter arrived with a dusting of snow in Madison just in time for Xmas Eve. Have a happy and safe New Year.

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