Who knew they could be so exciting
17.12.2015 - 17.12.2015
So here we are, on a relatively short bus ride - by Central America standards - from Belize City to Flores in Guatemala, we have our rag tag group of travellers we collected along the way and a communal bottle of Baileys. An English, an Irish, a Polish, an Australian, one Kiwi and two Americans taking up the back section of the bus certainly sounded like the start of bad joke, but our little fruit salad of travellers were amigos meant to be together and meant to cause each other trouble.
Our first adventure was getting over the boarder. Before even departing Belize City the driver had advised, 'make sure you get the Guatemala entry stamp, if you don't you will be charged USD$200 on exit", lucky he filled us in or we might be $200 lighter. At the Belize/Guatemala boarder, first you pay your exit tax from Belize, take your receipt to the counter, they give you the exit stamp and stamp some other bit of paper for you and send you out the door to what looks like a parking lot.
By this point, we had all been split up due to slow moving lines and money exchanges. Through the parking lot go myself, Cat and Timmy (USA), guided by many a small children and bored looking truck drivers we make our way up the road to our bus. There is no sign of Guatemala customs so we assume that was the second desk we went to. Only then do I pull out my passport and can't for the life of me find my Guatemalan stamp. "Um, I think we are missing something." I say to Cat. At this point Lisa and Mary (Ireland and USA) jump on the bus looking panicked. "You guys need to get your stamp!!!" We are then pushed back off the bus and running barefoot (yes, its always me sans shoes) back to customs. Turns out, the office is behind a convenient permanently placed fuel tanker, it seems the Guatemalan government has been creative about making money recently and I imagine there are countless travellers getting charged at the boarders.
Having narrowly avoided a big fat fine, we make our flustered way to Flores, a beautiful little island inside of a beautiful big lake.