Rio Dulce, Guatemala
In the morning we drove north and crossed yet another border. Again, we were teased with what looked by a small and simple border crossing but instead found ourselves in line behind what turned out to be passengers from dozens of buses headed for a pilgrimage to a local religious center across the border. Luckily we found ourselves in line with local family that was a lot of fun, and left wondering why we hadn't run into them crossing into El Salv so we could have accepted the invitation to their place for a few days. Nothing but time lost, we manage to get into Guatemala a few hours later.
We drive through increasingly vertical terrain but the bus seems to be holding up better than ever. Probably excited by the spa day we keep telling E about once we arrive back home...but we'll take it!
A few hours up the road and we pull into chiquimula. A big town for our standards, but at the right point in our drive to stop for the night. We get a room at Casa Vieja and head out on foot looking for dinner. We just about give up and return to the bus for an emergency meal, but finally see lights ahead and are excited to have stumbled upon a square and the night market. Many of the booths were shutting down by the time we arrived and this market was way heavy in clothes and way light in food for my personal preference but jen scored a $4 skirt and we got our first street tacos of the trip north. There's a chance we should've eaten sooner, but every food item we bought from the vendors was absolutely delectable. We walked home full, happy and completely content all for about $5.
In the morning we ate breakfast and set out across Guatemala. We're noticing that it's getting harder and harder to get karma in the bus each morning. Especially after a night in a hotel/hostel (which we are doing far more of than on the way south) with a nice bed she's absolutely convinced we should simply call it home and not go any further. Seems like she misses home already, so we can't bear to tell her that we've still got a few months left before we see our own bed again.
On the upside, we feel like we're making pretty good time (for us), and have finally chosen a path! After much discussion we have decided to head across to the gulf side and visit some friends on Coz in the new year. There are pros and cons to each possible path north, but we're stoked to have a (very rough) plan, and really excited to see Kent and Lynn again!
Our next few nights are spent at Rio Dulce. This river is an interesting place as we're still inland but nestled among sailboats as far as the eye can see. Apparently Rio Dulce is a "hurricane hole" (never been hit by a hurricane), so everyone pulls their boats inland as far as here for safety during storm season. This is trouble for jen and i as we have a love of boats and sailing that we've tried to keep under wraps for a few years now, ever since we lived in VAN and were literally minutes from buying a sailboat and sailing south instead of driving. We spent our first day relaxing in the shade but as our second day began we noticed ourselves walking among the boats looking for for sale signs. I'm convinced the only reason we haven't already begun the sailing portion of our adventure is that what we really picture ourselves in is a catamaran and we know that we will never be able to afford one.
We tried to simply stay in the bus to negate the urge to fantasy boat shop but then the sailors started coming by to see the bus. One captain, LT talked to us for the better part of the morning before inviting us aboard his boat. "Just a chance to see if karma even likes it" he said, knowing full well we'd be hooked before stepping back onto the dock.
We sat and chatted for longer than we should have about boating life, the immense similarities to vanlife and the pros/cons of each. We finally excused ourselves and returned to pack up the bus. We both knew deep down that if we didn't get out of this town in a hurry we be stuck here for a while or we'd leave via the water instead...and we aren't yet sure we're ready for that drastic of a plan change..at least just yet. ;)