Thur 22nd to Fri 23rd September
Things didn’t quite go according to plan today. It had been our intention to get across the border into Guatemala and although we were up just after 7am we were slow getting on the road.
It didn't help when we were immediately caught up in a parade of hundreds of masked persons in costumes on leaving the hotel. By the time we got to Comitan de Dominguez it was well past midday and with 60 miles still to go to the border, we decided to postpone the crossing until tomorrow.
We spent the afternoon wandering around the city and walked to the central Plaza for a coffee and a bit of people watching (not a lot else to do).
The shoe shine boys working their magic in the Plaza.
Fri 23rd September
We were up bright and early this morning and heading for the border (and rain clouds).
At the border (Las Champas) we went to immigration to get our passports stamped to say we were leaving Mexico. Although we had stamped Tourist Permits for 180 days we didn’t have the receipts to say we had paid the tax (they were never given to us). The Immigration man refused to stamp the passports until we got one. This would normally mean paying again but the systems were down and the completely separate office was apparently unable issue any. Neither officials spoke English and just threw up their hands and went back to their work and left us. This impasse went on for an hour or so before we eventually persuaded the Immigration man to phone someone who spoke a little English. The end result was, he beckoned for our passports, stamped them, and waved us away. With large sighs of relief we disappeared into Guatemala in double quick time
The Guatemalan side of Border
The whole town on the Guatemalan side was one gigantic market selling just about anything (probably all counterfeit).
Our lunch stop just inside Guatemala.
This is the most dramatic scenery we have seen for a long time and a change from the flat Yucatan Peninsula.
We stopped the night at a hotel in the centre of Huehuetenango. The city I suspect does not see too many tourists as we felt objects of curiosity although everyone was friendly. Armed guards are normal outside the UK but we hadn't seen quite so many as here. Several were outside every bank and all were carrying pump action shot guns.
One of the main streets in Huehuetenango. No noise abatement laws here as traders and politicians compete with each for attention by blasting out their message from large loudspeakers attached to anything that moves.
Tomorrow we head for the tourist area of Panajachel (Lake Atitlan)