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The Magic Bus

An interesting bus ride through Guatemala


With the group wanting to move on from Flores, we booked our bus to Lanquin, and more importantly our spots in the Zephyr Lodge, a must do by travellers in Guatemala. Loading onto the fully packed 24 person oversized mini van, Timmy surprised us with a bottle of rum, at 8am, it was clear how this 8 hour bus ride would go.

With the rat pack banished into the back of the bus like naughty school kids we were joined by USA Kat and her bag of tricks. Whatever we needed she had it in her surprisingly small handbag. Plastic bag? Kat had it. A knife? She had it. A mug? Yep, she was equipped. "Who are you? Mary Poppins." Kat was soon joining in on the communal rum.

All was going well until we came to a river about 3 hours into the trip. Normally the bus would drive onto a barge with as many other motor vehicles that could be packed on, then two guys in tiny tenders tied to the side of the barge would start their outboards and off we go. But today there was a strike among the workers as they had not been paid in months and there was a traffic jam of bikes, vans, cars and 18 wheelers backed up in the middle of a random wasp swarm.

With not much else to do, we waited for the wasps to move on before finding a small shop for beers and a view of the action. Or lack there of it would seem. The shop owner was clearly a savvy business woman, as the day grew old, the beer prices increased. She knew we had nothing else to do and took full advantage of our pockets.


After around more than 4 hours of waiting and drinking, the mayor of the town made his leisurely way down to the barge, an influx of people swarmed to the barge to hear just what he had to say for himself, money changed hands and bam, we were back on! Buying a coconut in celebration from a nice young fellow selling on the barge, Timmy filled it with rum, handed it around and then once empty I threw it out the window of our now moving van. I was aiming for the rubbish bin on the side of the street, however, in an almost predictable fashion, the coconut rebounded off the rim of the bin and flew into the path of two strolling woman, closely followed by be screaming 'lo siento' out the window as we sailed on by and everyone else in shocked, hysterical laughing fits.

So, with our bus journey turning from 8 hours into 13, more rum was bought and it got incredibly rowdy. At one point all anyone could here was Lisa screaming 'Tim, stop biting me!'. To this day I have no idea the reason why Tim was feeding on Lisa and I'm not entirely sure I wish to. Surprisingly there was only one extra side-of-the-road toilet stop from the group before making it to the small town of Lanquin. Around 15 of us were unloaded from the bus and then hustled onto the back of a lorry and before we could get comfy or even find our balance, we were going up and down the hills of Lanquin heading for Zephyr Lodge. Picture a group of half drunk 20-30 year olds in the pitch-black playing the worlds biggest game of corners, at one point, I was on top of a poor Australian girl, with Tim on top of me and Lisa on top of Tim. I was mostly concerned about the tailgate popping open and everyone rolling like Giant Jaffa's (O.J candy to any non-kiwis) down the hill we were currently ascending.

Making it mostly intact to Zephyr we were greeted with a beer, a tour and the rest of the hostel guests in full party swing dancing on the tables.

Zephyr Lodge is a must do for a reason, situated on top of a hill with dramatic valley views on 3/4 of the property, infinity pool, hot tub, toilets with half a wall missing ensuring you get 5 star views while doing your business and most importantly, HOT SHOWERS with good pressure. Although I didn't get to enjoy the last one thanks to Cat draining the hot water cylinder. Cheers for that Cat.


Posted by TakeOnTheWorld 11:57 Archived in Guatemala

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