|Palenque – Templo del Sol on the left and Templo XIV on the right.|
In order to keep exploring, I need to get to another Mayan site. So the next stop will be Tikal in Guatemala. The fastest way to cross the border between Mexico and Guatemala is crossing the river Usumacinta. This means taking an old people smuggling path in the opposite direction than everyone else.
The driver told me to be ready at 6 o’clock in the morning and that he will pick me up at the reception. I was ready at 5.30 a.m. and I waited. And waited. And waited. At 7 o’clock I made the first call to the travel agency, but nobody picked up. Same at 8 a.m. At 9 o’clock I decided to go to the agency on my own. The guy there was shocked, but niece. Looking at his watch he said that I can still make it across the border. We went to the hostel to pick up my stuff, he drove me to a colectivo van and told me to go to Frontera Corozal. There I have to look out for Rober. He will give me further information about the border crossing. From this point on I was passed from person to person with the money I needed for the trip.
After a 2 hour ride in the mini van I had to get of at an intersection in the middle of nowhere. For the last 15 km to Frontera Corozal I had to take a taxi. The minivan driver started negotiating with the taxi driver about the fee to drive me down to the river. As it was 100 Pesos for one person (and travel agency did not calculate such a high fee for a taxi drive) I had to wait for more people to share a taxi. I waited for about 15 minutes and a women in high-heels appeared, but she wanted to go in the opposite direction. Finally, 5 minutes later a guy came out of nowhere and shared the taxi with me. At the end, we were 3 in the taxi. After a while we stopped. I had to pay 15 Pesos to enter a nature reserve. Arriving at the Mexican migration office the taxi driver gave me back 135 Pesos which were still leftover to pay the rest of my transportation for the journey.
The travel agency told me that it will cost between 50 and 100 Pesos at the migration office to leave Mexico. Well, it was not quite that cheap. The man asked me for 306 Pesos, which I obviously did not carry around with me. Who carries that much money when leaving a country? Luckily I had some Dollars with me. So in the end I paid 25 Dollars to finally leave Mexico. When I turned around a guy was standing right next to me. It was Rober. He asked me: “Do you have the money?” I handed him out the 135 Pesos which the taxi driver had given to me earlier. I followed Rober to his boat and we set of to the other side of the river. As I had only 35 Pesos for the river crossing, he only drove me to Tecknica and not to Bethel (where the actual journey should have gone to). In Tecknica he bought me a bus ticket for the resting 100 Pesos.
The bus was leaving in about 30 minutes, so I had to wait. I entered the bus which looked like it is going to fall apart every minute. No wonder the motor did not start and the passengers had to push the bus until the motor was running smoothly. A 6 hour ride in this bus lay in front of me. After one hour we made a fast stop at the migration office in Bethel. I could decide whether I wanted to pay 5 Dollars, 100 Pesos or 40 Quetzales. I decided to get rid of my Pesos, even though it was a bit more expensive. The Guatemalan officer was a bit sad, that I was going to visit his country only for one month and not for three, as the visa was valid that long. I was happy to have my visa.
The bus journey until Flores went on for 5 hours on a bumpy mud road. Every now and then the bus driver got some car parts from the back of the bus, which fell out from somewhere. Sometimes he refilled oil or brake fluid while driving but in the end we reached Santa Elena. Yes, but I actually booked a journey until Flores. The bus driver told me I had to take a Tuk-Tuk for 10 Quetzales. Which I found very funny, because I did not even have 1 Quetzal. Fast enough two men approached me to change money. So I exchanged just 5 Dollars and got 25 Quetzales. Just enough to pay the Tuk-Tuk ride to the hostel. And then, finally,after 9 hours, I arrived in Flores. I paid the room, grabbed some food and fell into bed.