Early days of trip

Monday, May 27, 2019
Xela, Quetzaltenango Department, Guatemala
Well the internet's not working but that's excuse enough to try to work on this. It's more boring for me because I've already lived through this, but it may be helpful to those of you who are interested in travel in third world countries.
I started at 7am by taking a one hour bus ride to David. It was less than a half hour wait for the bus to San Jose. The traffic getting out of David was stop and go, but once we got going it went pretty well. We went through a couple of police checkpoints before getting to the border. As there were only about 20 people on the bus we got through the the border pretty quick. The only problem being, as usual, waiting for the luggage check at the Costa Rica customs.
Then it was 6 hours to San Jose, with a 20-minute lunch break, which usually takes 40 minutes. The last hour into San Jose is stop and go traffic. From the bus depot in San Jose, I took a taxi to the next bus station. Again, it was 30 minutes and stop and go traffic, before it cleared up, and another 30 minutes to get to Alajuela, where we spent about 15 more minutes in stop and go traffic before we get to the end.
Walked one block to the hostel, checked in, dropped my bag in my room, then went to their tiny restaurant for a pizza and a couple beers. Then it was off to bed for the night.
Shuttle left at 7 and 8:40. My plane was at 9:45 so I opted for the 7 a.m. shuttle. I was at my gate at 7:20; could have easily slept in for another hour and a half.
Moseyed around the terminal for a while, then sat and played on my laptop for a little bit. Decided to get some breakfast: $13 for basically a fast food meal, but it was tasty. Went to the gate and sat around for about 30 minutes before it was time to board. An hour and a half later we landed in Guatemala City.
I don't know the local buses in Guatemala City, so I took a cab to the next bus depot; they were supposed to leave at 3pm, but either they were full or canceled, I couldn't understand the guy, but he said the next bus wasn't until 7am the next day. So I walked a few blocks to the next bus depot; it was a four hour wait 'til their next bus. So I decided to forego the comfy air-conditioned bus for a local ancient Thomas bus.
It took 30 minutes in stop-and-go traffic to get to the edge of the city, after which the bus driver got up to speed. We climbed a long twisty road to a flat valley road. Then climbed another long twisty road to a flat twisty valley road. Then it was a more gradual twisting climb to get to a valley with a long twisty road. Finally we went up and down over hilltops, going through some clouds, 'til finally reaching the valley where Xela is. Our bus driver was really hauling: I was on an inside seat and I had to really hold on to the bar above the seat in front of me in order not to slide into the aisle while the driver was making these harsh twisty turns. Like I said, he was really hauling: we got to Xela in 4 hours which is about the same time as the express bus takes (which, at this point, was just leaving Guatemala City).
Looked for a taxi to take me to my hostel: the driver wanted Q50, but it shouldn't have been more than Q35, so I said 'no' and started walking, looking for another cab. No cabs came by, but my backpack wasn't that heavy, so I walked all the way to the hostel (about 40 min).
These are typical travel days, when on a limited budget.  
Spending the next week or so trying to find insurance brokers (easier said than done: no yellow pages here), and doing some shopping to see if I can get stuff cheaper here (my meds are actually cheaper in Panama, but the thrift stores are good - if you can find what you want).  
Had a good sandwich for lunch, while shopping.  
One morning, while looking for thrift stores, I came across this 'American' donut shop.  Got a blueberry filled for $1 - tasted just like Dunkin's.  

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2020-08-08