Tecun a Matta
Jul 19, 2011
|July 19 Esquipulas-Guatemala City-Tecun Uman (Guatemala)
Long day, perhaps the longest day of the entire trip. It´s a day of non-stop travel and no food, but, nevertheless, an important day. This is the day I make major travel decisions which can affect the productivity of my fieldwork. You may be wondering why today is a day of no food. I don´t purposely starve myself, but two things to consider 1) im taveling amongst migrants. if i want to be like them, well, sort of, i can´t pig put like i´d like to. 2) no bathrooms on buses frightening me. i even refrain from ingesting fluids to reduce the chance of bathrooming. as i see it, it´s either that or a diaper.
I arrived early at the Esquipulas Bus Terminal, on the look out for illegals heading North. Regardless of the route you choose, the bus goes from Esquipulas to a T in the road, at which point you must decide to go right, (north) into the Peten, or left to Guatemala City. At the T junction only a few people deboarded the bus (to head up through the jungle) so i stayed on the bus and choose to travel through Guatemala City.
Throughout the ride, I used my innocent and feigned ignorance to uncover clues as to the objectives of the individuals on the bus. I say feigned ignorance b/c it is abundantly clear who is heading North by their gear. The required gear for an aspiring illegal is as follows:
1) baseball cap
2) small backback or string bag
3) tennis shoes
4) and some grimmyness...which is usually more pronounced later in the trip
5) and a certain look...you just now
Five hours later I exited the bus in Guatemala City and used the disgusting baño. I quickly decided on the ¨group¨ of migrants that I wanted to follow. So, I joined up with 3 guys, two guys traveling together and one fat guy who doesnt have a passport but claims his US driver´s license is sufficient to get him back into the States. The two guys traveling together look like a solid choice, although one of them looks like a gangbanger. Maybe my manliness will intimidate him. Nevertheless, they seem like decent people.
In the Bus Terminal we were descended upon by eager taxi sharks. They smell blood from miles away. The 3 hondu had no idea how to arrive at the next bus terminal which would take us up to Tecun Uman, across the river from Mexico. I, of course, am already familiar with the route, so I took control. It was a little strange leading a group of illegals through the city but i did so, nevertheless, to save them money. We hit the streets and I lead them to the Metro Bus. We hoped on and were on our way to the next Bus Terminal. Instead of paying more than $10 for a taxi, which for them is muchisimo, and the two guys had about $20 left btw them, we spent 12 cents each to ride the Metro Bus...thanks to their gringo guide.
The next bus took us 7 hours north and west, totalling 12 hours of bus time for today. We arrived in Tecun Uman at around 11PM. Let´s just say, Tecun Uman isn´t a place where many goood things happen during daylight hours. It is dodgy by day and outright scary by night, that is, scary for a wuss like you. Not me.
I had the odd bus helper walk us into town, although he appeared disappointed that the other 3 guys joined us. This bus guy had a certain something about him. He seemed more interested in bringing me to a hotel and robbing me or engaging in other types of activities with me...sketchy. My zebra-like instincts told me not to go alone with him so I convinced the others to join me.
I am sharing a hotel with Domingo, the fat hondu guy w/o a passport. He has tremendous noiseyness going on in the bathroom. it is frightening. The two friends, gangsta and sensitive guy, went to a migrant shelter bc they dont have any $. we agreed to meet up tomorrow and cross into Mexico together. godwilling