When I arrived in Xela over a week ago and had to resort to buying what I would call “winter apparel”, a trip to the beach sounded ever the better. Unfortunately, Guatemala is not known for its beaches. Since Xela is extremely close to the Mexico border, I headed north all the way to Puerto Escondido, or what I like to now call Paradise. It wasn’t an easy trek, that’s for sure.
Here’s a little recap:
1. Said bye to the host family. I had been living with a host family for a week, and you can really tell they have people coming and going a lot because it was no thing to them to see me go. Overall, it was great. The mother cooked 3 meals a day and provided Spanish chit-chat whenever I wanted to practice. The daughter was also always ready to talk, whether I knew what she was saying or not.
2. Waited for the shuttle to Tapachula. I left on Sunday morning at 7:30 for a four hour trip across the border. If only you could tell how cold I actually felt at this moment. I think I only showered 3 times that week in Xela because the heaters in the shower didn’t work too well on already really freezing water.
3. Enjoyed the scenery. The shuttle ride was awesome because you could see the landscape change from mountainous to more tropical plains filled with coffee trees. I also noted the temperature change drastically as I shed every layer of extra clothing possible, converted pants to shorts, and threw on sandals. Here’s a cool picture of an active volcano passed along the way. Supposedly it erupts like every 45 minutes, which you can see is probably true since it, and the mountain behind it, is covered in ash.
4. Tried to speak Spanish. Once in Tapachula, I had a painful 12 hours to kill before the bus left to Puerto Escondido. It was truly 12 hours in Hell, and not only because it was flippin’ hotter than Hades and I had no place to call home except a boring/crowded bus station, but also because my 3 weeks of Spanish lessons were not paying off. Up until crossing the border, I felt pretty confident in my ability to communicate with people only in Spanish, but even ordering a bus ticket in Mexico posed a threat. Simple questions such as, “Can I pay with cash?” and, “What is this thing on the menu?” resulted in major, major confusion. What’s the deal, Mexico?!
5. Rode a 1st class bus for 13 hours. Yep, that’s right. The ride from Tapachula to Puerto Escondido was a 13 hour, overnight ride. It really felt like being on a plane for 13 hours, so even though it was long, it was quite bearable. Towards the end, however, I did start to feel a bit nauseous from the constantly winding roads.
6. Arrived in Paradise. Also known as Puerto Escondido. My hostel has a kitchen, pool, Jacuzzi, fridge and satellite TV in the room, and its only a 5 minute walk to the beach. I’m usually not much of a beach person, but after a cold, cold week in Xela, it was necessary.
That’s all for now. Nothing much exciting going on. Just taking a vacation from traveling and Spanish classes before heading back to the east side of Guatemala.