Border Crossing #4


The borders are becoming more Central American! Compared to how we knew them from our past trip in 2007, they are fairly straight forward. However, when you realize the past entrance stamp was the completely wrong date and you therefore lack the appropriate exit stamp, it starts getting complicated…


Whether the El Salvadorian border officials believed me when I said it must be the Guatemalan border patrol’s fault and not mine, I don’t know. After a long while of me sweating my t-shirt to a drip with worry and heat, they came over and said it’s okey as long as I leave the CA-4 countries (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua) within 90 days of the original entrance stamp (the wrong one, saying I entered Guatemala Sept 7.) A-OK with me!

After some more waiting for the car papers…


…and then some more waiting…


…we were finally in El Salvador!

The heat is blazing, the palm trees are swaying in the breeze, the smiles are wide and the sun is hanging high on the blue sky. We have found ourselves a beautiful spot and will be staying for a week before we venture over another border.


Surf’s up!


Antigua Rocks!


Honey is back in action!


Kyler and the boss of the mechanic shop went to Guatemala City yesterday to get parts and the work was finished today. The tie rod was way too expensive at the Volkswagen dealer so they ended up getting a Mazda tie rod. The threading was a bit off in size so it was re-threaded at a mechanic work shop. It took an entire day, but all for a fraction of the cost of the original VW part. The relationship between time and money is not as we know it. We now have a new tie rod, new break pads and new oil.

We drove off the mechanic’s ground and found ourselves the best and safest campground in Central America – in the Antigua police force’s back yard. We are parked amongst ruins and some of the world’s coolest road trippers.


There’s a family with two kids from Quebec traveling all over North-, Central- and South America in a year. There’s a guy from the island of Jersey in the English Channel who’s been on the road for 18 months via Finland, Russia, South East Asia, US, Canada and back down. All with his beloved Land Rover from home. There is a hard core converted truck shipped over from Switzerland. Very inspiring, very cool. I feel so lucky to be part of this different and very exclusive gang.


Not as Planned – Again!


Not many things happen as they are planned. After a massive hit with a pot hole early this afternoon, Honey’s tie rod got completely killed. We came to an abrupt stop in the countryside. Several people came about to help us and we got towed to Antigua. Not a bad place to be while Honey gets fixed.
I guess it is part of the game, but DAMN that was a hard hit!!



Not as Planned!


We left Huehuetenango with the intention of crossing or getting close to the border of El Salvador today. We drove down to highway 2. We drove quite a ways until it was full STOP! “The bridge is out!”Arnold Schwarzenegger in True Lies.

As we turned around, we saw some heavy clouds brewing up in the distance. It did not take long until it was a full blown thunderstorm. It rained so hard we feared it could take the road out. We seeked shelter and called it a day.


We have asked around for advice about our route to El Salvador now that highway 2 is not an option. There is a detour, but as foreigners we have been advised to get the police to come with us for protection.. This option takes as much time as going back to highway 1, so that is what we will be doing. A change of plan, but what can you do? That’s traveling!

“If you like Pina Coladas
And getting caught in the rain”


Border Crossing #3


The Mexican/Guatemalan border is more of a drive-through market than a border crossing. You need to find your own way between the necessary buildings and hope you did not forget to have something done on the way. Nobody will tell you where to go.


We started out on the Mexican side, where we got our passports stamped as exiting Mexico. Then, we went to another office to have the temporary car importation permit cancelled. This was all pretty easy and did not cost us anything. The border patrol men were watching tv and wanted us out of the way quickly.

4 km separates the Mexican and Guatemalan customs, we therefore drove on in no-man’s land until the market/border sprung into action. The first stop was a fumigation station for the van. It is supposed to kill bugs or something on your vehicle before entering Guatemala. This cost us Q40 = $5. It’s supposedly cheaper for smaller vehicles. Next stop was to get our tourism stamp. We had to wait a little while for no apparent reason, but that is just the way it is! We paid Q10 per person as a tourism fee. We did not receive a receipt, so I am not sure where/who this fee goes to.


If we did not have a vehicle we would now be good to go. Since we do have a vehicle, we had to stop by the vehicle importation office which is right next door to the passport office. There was nobody in the vehicle office, so we had to wait. And wait. And wait. Finally they show up and started processing our case. They need the original title of the vehicle, the passport of the owner and drivers license. What seems to not be such a complicated process end up taking a long time. I really do not understand how it can take this long! They take the copies that are necessary so you do not have to worry about that. The import fee is Q160 and must be paid at the nearby bank. They wait while you go and do this. In the end you get a sticker on your windshield and you are suddenly good to go! Yay! It is by no means the most complicated border crossing we have been to, but keep calm and have lots of patience as this process in our case took two hours.


By the time we got through the border and were on Guatemalan roads it was later then we would have liked. We made it to Huehuetenango for the night, but did not have much extra time for unexpected events, such as a landslide taking out the road, making this the main highway:


Tips for the border crossing:
– Have a meal before you reach the border. Being hungry does not help anybody’s patience.
– Exchange money before you reach the border. You will need Quetzals. The money exchangers at the border are just waiting to rip you off. It saves you hassle (and probably money) to take care of this somewhere else.

Pool Hall and Wine Bar


In most Latin American cities there is a pool hall. It is always male dominated and often fairly intense. With preference, one can try pick one with not so intense drinking. The betting is usually intense enough on its own. All of the above was true for our visit to one of San Cristobal’s pool halls.


After the pool hall we went to a wonderful wine bar in town. It is tiny and always happening. They serve food with every drink. Not bad when a glass of wine is 18 pesitos = $1.5!


San Cristobal, you have been great to us – again! Time to move on!


The Story of San Cristobal de las Casas


Here comes the story of how being in the city of San Cristobal changed our lives:

Kyler and Cowboy set off on a surfing adventure in the late summer of 2005. After several months, several beaches and a few boards later they decided to head inland in Mexico to get “cultured.” They arrived in the unique town of San Cristobal de las Casas with Ballzy the dog and a van called Twinky, which was tired from the climb up the mountain.

Meanwhile, Siri had been living in Cuba for a number of months and escaped in between hurricanes by hopping over to Mexico for a new adventure.

After a while backpacking around, she arrived in San Cristobal by bus early in the morning on November 14th. Keen for a coffee and some good ol’ people watching she headed to the town square, the so called zocalo. Kyler, Cowboy, Ballzy and Twinky stayed put in San Cristobal this beautiful November 14th as Twinky needed a little work at the mechanic. As Siri crossed the zocalo heading to the circular cafe she was surprised by a “Hola!” from a guy with a dog. The guy had a big head of hair and a bandana to keep it in place. She replied: “Hola!” and cruised on to the cafe. At guy with even bigger hair with a cap on top and a Canadian tuxedo (denim and denim) observed the scene from the circular cafe. Siri got up there, saw the handsome fella and decided to sit down in close proximity to him. As it turned out, Siri’s hand picked table was tippy. So tippy, the waiter recommended her to find another table. The handsome, most likely Canadian, fella is quick to offer, “You can sit here if you want!”

The very first of many photo of us together. Taken in San Cristobal november 2005.

Now on our honeymoon, almost seven years later, we return to this beautiful city in Southern Mexico to relive the magic moment when we met. Quite some time has passed since we were there last – will it still look the same? We asked ourselves the question as we drove from Coatzacoalcos on the Gulf of Mexico towards San Cristobal.

Coatzacoalcos-San Cristobal 333 beautiful kilometers

Checking out the coast at Coatzacoalcos. No surf! Next stop will be San Cristobal de las Casas.

We arrived in San Cristobal mid-day, pulled in and got a spot right at the zocalo. It was as beautiful as we remembered! And, even better, the handsome Canadian fella sat right in the same seat as he did seven years ago!

I walked up, the table was still tippy, and the handsome guy (who now happens to be my handsome husband!) said, “You can sit here if you want!” I did not have to think twice, of course! And he kissed me with all his might!

In order to stay in close proximity to the magic love spot we checked in to Hotel Santa Clara overlooking the zocalo. It is a beautiful hotel with an even more beautiful view.

We later ventured out to find the location of our very first kiss. It was at a bar called Revolucion. We found it, still there and running! We went straight in and kissed outside the bathrooms, which is where Kyler found the courage to kiss me for the first time.

Today has been spent in romantic ways. Breakfast at our favourite cafe, guess where? At the zocalo! A walk up a hill to see the view. Some market action. A wonderful mole meal for the sum of $2 and quite a while on the white porcelain throne – we are after all in Mexico! Ciao for now – more on San Cristobal de las Casas later.