Tag Archives: buses

Journey Through Latin America (Part 16)

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It was hot and sweaty in Tecun Uman, Guatemala, where I had to take one of these tricycle taxis from the bus station to the Mexican border.  It was much cheaper to walk across the bridge then to pay $4 to be tricycled across.  Guatemalan and Mexican immigration was smooth enough, although a slow and sweaty process.  From there I took a shuttle to Tapachula, where I had to wait a couple of hours for the bus to Arriaga.  It gave me time to relax and have some good Mexican tacos.  It seems to me that Mexican tortillas are the best.

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I enjoyed a night and a day in Arriaga, Mexico where I had stayed before, at the Hotel Chiapas, although they had raised their rates somewhat since I was here in October.  I had more great Mexican street tacos, then in the morning an incredible breakfast buffet for $4 that set me up through lunch.  I had to wait all day and into the night for my bus to leave for Oaxaca at 9PM.  It was nice to be in a real bus station rather than just a spot on the sidewalk.

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I slept on the bus all night and arrived in Oaxaca around 5AM, so the Hostel Paulina, where I had stayed in October, only charged me for the following night.  Breakfast was included, and the staff recognized me and requested a musical performance.  I gave them a Promo CD of Luis Sabor and the next morning they were playing it for the breakfast service.

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I really like Oaxaca, Mexico.  It is one of the few large state capital cities that still retain a relaxed atmosphere, despite being very busy and offering a great deal of opportunities for shopping and entertainment.  It is similar to Leon, Nicaragua in this regard.  I enjoyed visiting a large mercado, where I tried on a sombrero, since I had accidentally left my leather hat on a bus in Escuintla.

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I also tried a few of these “chapulines”: chili-fried crickets, at the insistence of my friend Porfirio, whom I had met back in October when I was busking in the Plaza.  Porfirio and I talked a great deal and he had an interesting story to tell.  Having grown up on the streets, he had just spent his first entire year dependence-free, after being addicted to heroin for six years.  It was inspiring to hear how he had pulled himself out of the gutter, literally, with the help of God, to escape the living hell he had endured.  He was incredibly optimistic, and I have felt compelled to pray for him, as his trials certainly cannot be over.

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After just two days in Oaxaca, I was ready to board another bus for a long trip to Puebla.  The bus stations were starting to resemble airports now, and the buses were more comfortable, including bathrooms and movies, although much more expensive than in other countries.

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Journey Through Latin America (Part 15)

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I gratefully ate a roasted chicken dinner at a comedor just steps away from the Honduran/El Salvadoran border.  I took a bus to Santa Rosa de Lima, then another to San Salvador.  To my surprise the bus was air-conditioned and by the time I got to San Salvador I was freezing and dehydrated and extremely grateful to arrive at JoAn’s Hostal.  The owner Ana gave me time to clean up, then took me and two other guests to share a great pizza dinner.  Wow, what a great host! But thats not all. As we were talking about Casa Verde Hostal in Santa Ana, and how Ana had talked to the owner Carlos often but had never been to the place, the next day she offered to drive me an hour to Casa Verde herself!  Such a beautiful lady.

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It was great to eat El Salvadoran Pupusas, something like a meat&cheese&bean filled tortilla.  Delicious and cheap.  It took Ana and I a while to find the Casa Verde but although Carlos was at the lake entertaining some guests (El Salvadoran hostal owners are awesome hosts!)  we got to see the new addition to Casa Verde, which is simply fabulous, incredible, awesome and puts this hostel miles ahead of most of the other hostels I’ve experienced.

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I enjoyed walking around the Santa Ana market in search of groceries to cook in the brand new kitchen, which has just as many utensils and appliances as the old one, which was already the most awesome kitchen I’d seen.  I made an effort to take photos of people, and some of them actually asked to have their photo taken.  I find El Salvadoran people to be quite friendly and helpful.

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After a couple of beautiful days swimming in the very cold pool and exercising Qi Gong on the terrace overlooking the city and cooking my own food, I was ready to move on t0 Guatemala.  I tried to find a route avoiding Antigua, or what I like to call “Gringotenango”, but it really has a good location, so I went on back to Hostal Pasar de los Años and actually enjoyed myself for the one night and partial day I was there.  The morning I left I went to a favorite restaurant for breakfast, and there was the same family sitting at their favorite table that I had met back in October.  We chatted a while and I enjoyed a good breakfast before a long day on the road.

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From Antigua I took a bus to Escuintla, where it was quite warm, but I decided not to take the route through Xela that I took in October because I wanted to enjoy the heat as long as I could.  I was let off on a sidewalk in Escuintla and proceeded to ask everyone I could where to find a bus to Retalhuleu.  Five blocks later I was on another sidewalk and a pullman bus pulled up quickly and we stuffed my backpack and guitar below as the driver was already driving off.  As I squeezed on I realized there was standing room only, and I spent most of the trip sitting or standing right there by the driver.

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At Retalhuleu I found a decent Hotel, walked several blocks looking for a restaurant in vain, then ate some street tacos by the plaza.  The next morning I ate a fresh pan dulce with juice before standing around almost an hour waiting for the bus to the Mexican border.

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