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    Is This the Isthmus? Tour – Guatemala Part 16

    Saturday, September 16, 2017
    Lanquin to Flores, Guatemala

    The Hostal Oasis sits right on the banks of the Lanquin river in Lanquin, Guatemala.
    The Hostal Oasis sits right on the banks of the Lanquin river in Lanquin, Guatemala.

    I woke up early at 6:45 am to get ready to hop on a shuttle van bound for Flores in northern Guatemala. It was due to pick me up at 8:15, but didn’t show up until almost 9:00. When it arrived, two things surprised me. One, this van actually had enough leg room to give me an inch or two of space in front of my knees so they did not get crushed by the seat in front of me. Two, there were three or four open seats, and we never stopped to let anyone else on.

    About an hour into the trip, the driver announced that the road we were supposed to take up north was flooded and impassable. So, we’d have to take another, much longer route that would take three hours longer. Oh, and he also tried to charge us $7.00 more each, but a passenger up front somehow talked him out of that.

    Moving the luggage from the top of the van into the back somewhere in Guatemala.
    Moving the luggage from the top of the van into the back somewhere in Guatemala.

    The next unexpected thing to happen was the driver pulled over and moved all of our backpacks from the luggage rack on top down inside the back of the van. That meant the couple sitting there had to sit further up, which the girl seemed angry about. I still can’t figure out for the life of me why the driver did that. A while later, we also had to change vans, but I knew that was going to happen because the guy who booked my trip told me. For some reason, we had to drive way out west to Coban, then head north. Maybe the road that proceeds north out of the Semuc Champey area is too rough or impassable.

    Around 12:45 pm, we stopped for a half hour to grab a bite to eat at a cafeteria, where I was surprised by two things. One, a girl behind the counter was wearing a black t-shirt with big, white letters on the front that spelled out, “Holy shit! I’m getting married!” (That was surprising because the rest of the ladies who worked there were dressed very conservatively.) Two, a chubby, middle-aged man wearing no shirt was sitting at a table eating with a group of people. He was a total raw dog. Whatever happened to “No shirt, no shoes, no service”?

    Transferring from one van to another somewhere in Guatemala.
    Transferring from one van to another somewhere in Guatemala.

    We pulled into the small town of Flores right around sunset at 6:00 pm. I had a bear of a time trying to find the hostels on my list, walking back and forth and around in circles repeatedly. One old lady I had passed by several times asked me where I was trying to go. I told her the name of the hostel and she set me off in the right direction. The first one was full, the second one was closed (probably just for low season), and I couldn’t find the third one. (Some of the hostels don’t have obvious signs out front.)

    I finally ended up in the lobby of the Green World Hostel, where the friendly and smiley manager Maria showed me a list with three different room prices. The one I wanted was located in their second location a couple of blocks away. So, Maria walked me down there and I checked in. Despite the brightly painted walls, the place seemed kind of empty and sterile-looking. But, at least it wasn’t dank and dirty. After downing some street food, I settled in for a nice long sleep.

    Green World Hostel manager Maria in Flores, Guatemala.
    Green World Hostel manager Maria in Flores, Guatemala.

    Words and photos ©2017 Arcane Candy.

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