Tuesday 3 October 2023

1987 Travel Journal: Leaving Antigua

Next morning I was out on the street at 8:00.  I had my breakfast (a hamburger and a Coke) with Martin and a guy from New Zealand.  Then after saying goodbye to Martin, who would be traveling elsewhere, I was again off to the bank to cash $25 US so I would have enough money in Tikal.  There were several lines to the various teller’s windows and as usual when I have to queue up, I picked the wrong line.  

The guy in front of me must have been a store owner depositing his weekly take.  Sadly, he had 10,000Q to deposit, all in a mixture of 5’s, 10’s, and 20’s.  The poor cashier had to count it all, which seemed to take forever, as I twiddled my thumbs impatiently waiting for my turn at the window.

Once that long ordeal at the bank was over, I walked back to my hotel room, packed my bags, then climbed onto a bus headed for Guate.  My green suitcase, now enlarged with souvenirs was a bit more bulky and  heavier to lug around.

Guatemala City was no more impressive when I arrived than it was on my first brief view of it a couple of days earlier.  It seemed chaotic, full of diesel fumes and noise.  I had to hike twelve block burdened by my suitcase and camera bag to catch the bus to the airport.  My guide book said Bus #20 was the one I should take.

Amazingly, I found it and boarded.  Like all of the other buses I had taken, it was over-packed and seething with passengers, and I was forced to join the mass of humanity already stuffed shoulder to shoulder in the aisle.  I soon realized that my bags and I had became an obstacle to all those other passengers in the aisle trying to make their way forward or back from the bus door.  

The bus helper worked his way to me and told me that I should get off the bus at one intersection and wait for Bus #6.  Although feeling very insecure in the thought that they might just be trying to just get me off of the bus and out of the way, I did as he said, and got off at the intersection.  I stood there on the sidewalk waiting for Bus #6 to arrive, but no Bus #6 did.  The longer I waited, the more worried I became;  was I going to miss my flight to Tikal?

Finally, I decided that I had better catch a cab to the airport, just to be on the safe side.  I started walking down the sidewalk, looking for a cab, which of course, was the cue for Bus #6 to finally came along.  I flagged it down and boarded, trying to make it known to the driver that I wanted to go to the airport.  This was problematic since there are two airports in Guate, an International airport and a National airport .  I needed the National.  The bus driver nodded that this was the right bus.

View my paintings:  davidmarchant2.ca


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