As I mentioned in the previous post I was told by my host to be in Guatemala way before sunset. We had made arrangements for him to pick me up at the local bus terminal Zona 3 . Naively I had pictured a terminal station similar to the ones in the USA and Mexico. I was VERY wrong.
As I began to see there would be no way I would get to G.C. anytime close to sunset I asked one of the other passengers if I could use her phone. I tried calling Vladimir but he didn’t answer. So I just figured I would call when I got there. Well I was again WRONG. This is a crazy place. Basically a side walk goes around in an oval shape with Chicken Buses picking up and dropping people off in a system very similar to a conveyor belt.
It was pitch black when I got there and the guard told me there was no way he would let me use the phone. He was not kind and laughed at me. I will admit I was scared. I know that currently G.C. has a reputation for a lot of crime. I did not know what I was going to do and must have looked a bit stricken, because a group of businessmen from the USA saw me and wanted to know how they could help. I asked if any spoke fluent Spanish, two did, and if they would call my host to tell him I had just arrived. One guy did that while the other got one of the nicer guards to tell him my situation in Spanish.
Vladimir had already been to the station and thought I had stood him up. He had not received the call from me earlier from the other passengers phone. So he told the guy to have me stand under a light and not lose site of the guard and that he would be there in about 40 minutes. He then asked to speak to the guard. The guard, who speaks NO English, smiled at me and kept nodding the entire time he talked to Vlad.
Once everyone was off the phone the guys told me what Vlad had told them and that I was to stay right with the guard. He was going to take care of me. This guard would not let me go two steps away from him. He took my luggage in the hand opposite his gun and pulled it behind us as I walked with him on his route around the “terminal”.
BUT for me this wasn’t even the real scary part. Nope that was about to drive up. Vlad was good to his word and showed up a little over a half hour later. On a MOTORCYLCE. I am scared to death of them. I have two things on my Bucket List published here on this blog and I have already conquered one of them, well sorta, and that is guns. But I need to ease into these things (I did eventually take a ride on my friend’s motorcycle this past summer with a little less fanfare and really enjoyed it). So here I am in the middle of one of the world’s most dangerous cities, with someone I have never physically met, in the middle of the nite getting on a motorcycle to cruise through town. I was terrified.
Off we went. My carry-on luggage between us, me on the back with a death grip on Vlad and him driving. Oh and no helmet. I would have been scared in that traffic in a car. This was crazy. He lives in a small village a half hour outside the city called, Santa Catarina Pinula. So cute. But back to the motorcycle ride. There is a foothill that goes straight up and then you go a city block and it goes straight down to get to the village. TERRIFYING!!!
Once we got there Vlad introduced me to his amazing family. I fell in love with his grandmother.
But Vlad had found out that day that he had to go to Belize. And since I wasn’t going to get on that motorcycle again to save my life I was going to be staying with the family without Vlad. Problem is only he had any command of English, sorta. His 16 yr. old sister knows a few basic words, and we did have Google Translate for what that is worth, but we ended up having to get the 7 yr old nephew to come stay from up the street to be the translator.
I had such a wonderful time with this family. They treated me like royalty. I went with the kids and bought fruit and some goodies for the family and a large bouquet of colorful roses for the grandmother. She was so surprised. She told me she had never been given any flowers in her entire life. We also went to a sort of Swap Meet. It was so fun and I got some really cute clothes. I love them all.
Oh and I woke up the first morning by being thrown off the bed. It was my first out-of-the-country earthquake!!
After several days I went with the kids to the edge of town and caught a taxi to the bus terminal to go to El Salvador. But as a side note that crazy foothill was still really scary even in a taxi…..