We walked out of the Holiday Inn Express at Tapachula on the Mexican border. Although they take dogs, they told us as we paid, they neglected to mention the dogs have to stay in the basement. I had been dreaming of a long soak in an American style bathtub, but Capi was insistent that we stay together. So we drove across town to a beautiful old hotel set in a garden and prepared for our border crossing.
Crossing from Canada to the US was a matter of minutes and a smile, from the US into Mexico was confusing but not difficult and relatively quick but it seems the hotter the country, the more difficult the border. Commerce must grind to a halt as the trucks are lined up for miles.
Going from Mexico to Guatemala involved a 3 hour backtrack. Just as it is at the northern border, the import/export paperwork for the truck has to be dealt with at an immigration center/bank located about 30 miles inside the border. There, just to be on the safe side, the Mexican authorities decided to x-ray the truck. It took a while. Then we drove back to the Guatemala border where we had already hired a couple of “agents” to help us through.
We met a fellow traveler there, who was driving with her family to Costa Rica. After what seemed like hours waiting in the 103 degree heat, it became less of an adventure and more of a pain in the patootie.
Every form, of which there are many, has to scrutinized, copied, stamped and filed away.
We eventually escaped the border but ran into long, twisting bumpy roads, jammed with trucks. The northern Guatemala roads were unlike the Mexican roads, which had been clean and relatively pothole free.
We found a colonial style hotel with swimming pools and a restaurant and settled in for the night. To celebrate, we cooked dinner in the camper. Fresh cooked vegetables are a rarity.
Next morning was southern Guatemala. It’s all sugar cane fields, trees and lush grass and volcanos. One let out a huge belch of smoke as we drove past.
Down to the border with El Salvador. A zoo. A mass of paperwork on both sides of the border. The truck and the dog had to be exported and imported. People walked freely back and forth, but transport trucks were stopped everywhere. Our trusty agents led us through the maze, and finally we ended up in El Salvador.
When we finally got through the paperwork were ready to leave, a funeral procession stepped out ahead of us. We followed them for several kilometers.
And then went to a tourist surfer town called La Libertad and threw balls for the dog in the surf.