Thursday, May 7, 2009

Whoo hoo!

54 days after beginning our journey through Baja, California and mainland Mexico, we have finally crossed the border into Guatemala. Whoo hoo! Check out our stats:
  • 4 states, 3 countries
  • 2 border crossings
  • 5,587 miles
  • 10 military checkpoints
  • 1 ferry ride
  • 1 oil change/tire rotation
  • 0 flat tires
  • 33 gas fill ups
  • 0 times getting pulled over
  • 1 police escort
  • 0 accidents
  • 3,426 speedbumps (just kidding - we lost count!)
After about an hour of jumping through the border hoops, we were on our way to where this whole thing began…..Xela, xela, xela, xela! (Oh how I wish you can hear that as the voice of the ayudante, hanging out of the bus!)

waiting to exchange our pesos for quetzales

waiting to have our car fumigated

waiting to file the paperwork for Dewey

Starving, our first stop across the border was good 'ole Pollo Campero – Guatemala’s version of KFC. After we had finished scarfing down our friend chicken and fries, we both vowed to never partake in Pollo Campero again – that is unless we are completely desperate like we were today! A few hours (and about 3 podcasts of This American Life) later, we made a brief stop in Huehuetenango, just to see what it is all about. Not much, we quickly learned and were back on the road quickly. Right outside of Xela it occurred to us that living in Antigua (several hours from Xela) we won’t have the delicious calda de frutas at our fingertips. You might recall from an earlier post that it’s a clandestino (illicit) homemade liquor made from some seriously strong fermented fruits only in Salcajá. Of course it wasn’t as easy as we had expected to stop off and buy a few bottles that can only be found at the pink house on the west side of the old church. It turns out there was a festival for the Day of the Cross right outside their door! Never fear though, we made our way out of Salcajá with a few bottles in tow. We’re saving them for our first visitors – better book your tickets soon!

This is a new one - Pollo Campero served from a trailer!

At long last we arrived in Xela where we stayed at the home of Guatemalan family, Napo & Candi Gomez. Oh how we missed them!! We had a nice dinner out at a local steakhouse and slept in our twin beds one last time. The following morning we visited our favorite café for breakfast and made a stop by ICA to visit our friends there (who we hope will come to see us in Antigua).

that's our favorite house in Xela, right under the big sign

Of course we did some people watching in Parque Central

We didn’t stay long, but our visit to Xela was just what we needed to get ourselves into the Chapín (Guatemalan) spirit!

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