[12/03/08~10(D+192) Guatemala] It is time to go to Central America.

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I’ve heard there are only two borders from Mexico to Guatemala.
Ciudad Hidalgo – Tecun Uman and Ciudad Cuauhtemoc – Santo Domingo
Ciudad Hidalgo is over 30 km (19 mi) from Taphachula where I stayed. But I find that there is another border which is called Talisman and it’s only 15 km( 9mi).
I pay 20 pesos (USD 1.6$) for visa and they permit me to stay for three months.

Finally it’s Central America!!!

But I am not sure how much I can feel amazing in Central America because I stayed in Mexico too long.
I feel like that I cross the US border from Canada. When I arrived in Canada on 2010 to stay one year, everything was amazing and new things to me. But when I went to the US from Canada, I couldn’t feel like that. So to cross Guatemalan border is like that. But anyway I am so happy that I made it.

When I crossed the Mexican border, I saw so many exchange shops. I thought it would be same in Guatemala. So when many people come to me and say “Do you need to change money?”, I say that no thanks. After I cross the Guatemalan border, I find that there is no exchange shop. I should have had to exchange money with people. But I already cross the border and there are no people who exchange money. I am so embarrassed because I need Guatemala money which is called Quetzal. And then somebody comes to me and asks to exchange. I don’t know price which he shows me, so I ask some people who is beside him and he say it’s good price. So I change all my Mexican money to Quetzal. At that time I have much pesos, because my Korean family in Mexico city gave me much money and also I got money from bank before I got to Mexico city.
I exchange money that 1.7 pesos to 1 Quetzal. But later I realize that 1.6 pesos is 1 Quetzal and the person whom I ask was taxi deriver. It means he will never tell me the truth. Even I exchange everything in the border because I am nervous. It makes a mistake. But I am fine because I learn from that. I hope I can do it better later. (ps : 1.6 Peso = 1Quetzal = USD 0.12cents(1$=8Q))
Somebody says to me that to exchange money in the border is not good, so just exchange some money which I need for a few days around the border.


It’s called chicken bus because when we are in a bus, there is not enough space. Guatemala is highland, so after I cross the Guatemalan border, I just ride a bike over 15 km (9 mi) and then I take a bus from Malacatan to Xela. It costs 25Q (USD 3$) and takes three and half hours. Q is character of Guatemala money, Quetzal.


I am supposed to stay for two nights in Xela at host of Couchsurfing home. When I was in south of Mexico, I was so exhausted because of mosquitoes and too hot weather. Even I felt that until in the morning. But Xela is at over 2,000 m (6500 ft), so it’s so cool and I feel like I just arrive in the heaven.


I stay with another guest, German couple. They are just the opposite because they start from Central America and going to the US. When we eat dinner, they say that it is typical Guatemala meal. So I take the picture of it.


The next day, I hang out with German couple, host and host’s friend. I can see many people in park, so I ask to host. She says once a year they have meeting and then they criticize government.


It’s my first beer of Guatemala. I think it’s important not just to see many different nature but also to drink many different beer.


There are my host, host’s friend and German couple from the left in the picture.


It is a beautiful light in the bar.


We go to other bar and I try to drink alcohol of Cuba. But taste is… hm…hm…hm.. Other people like it but it’s not my style.


It’s long time no play game. I love to play game!


The next day, I leave host home in the morning and look around down town.
I am trying to find what is different from Mexico.
I can’t feel big different because their language is same. So I feel like I am still in Mexico.


I am seeing this one from Mexico. Always security guys have gun.


Xela is the second biggest city in Guatemala. The first one is Guatemala City. I saw so many foreigner last night and I could hear English many times. Down town is not big but I see tour bus.


I find different thing from Mexico. I can see many women wearing traditional clothes.


The local people who is selling fruits.


Xela downtown.


I think I should eat something before I take a bus. So I look around, and then I find Tortas. It’s big but it costs just 10Q (USD 1.2 $). I am still eating Mexican food. Haha. They ask me to put spicy. So I say yes. When I eat Tortas, I can’t taste any spicy. So I ask more but it is same. I find another different things from Mexico. Spicy is not spicy! What..?


I can see a local market on my way.


I ask her to take the picture and she says yes with smiling.


I am taking a bus again to go to the next town. I am going to Atitlan Lake. I am wondering how amazing scenery I can see. I am not sure how long I stay at there.

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