First night in Guatemala and way way to go (Drive Day 40 minus 14 years)

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We pick a mountain crossing into Guatemala because the guide books call it more laid back than the search-and-frisk frenzy of more coastal border stops. It is so laid back I can’t tell where the immigration officers are and Wipeout and I set out on foot to find someone to officially stamp our passports and carnet while Gary waits for our house on wheels to be fumigated. In a small building stacked with chicken crates waiting to cross into Mexico (run chickens, run!) the guard points to Wipeout. I open the file with her visa, filled in with today’s date, and hand it to him. Which he reads, upside down.

Zaculeu ruins, Guatemalan highlands: photo by Gary Geboy

We won’t make Huehuetenango by nightfall so we boondock at the Zaculeu ruins, once the capitol of the Mam Mayan people. Who, according to legend, had to eat each other to survive a siege by Spanish conquistadores. To spite the victorious Spanish, we heat up a delicious dinner of leftovers from the San Cristobal markets: avocado and tomato salad for starters, then a one-pot masterpiece of rice, shrimp and squash – so there.

Map by Gary Geboy

Follow this bonus-material blog and ride along on a one-year road trip that inspired the memoir The Drive: Searching for Lost Memories on the Pan American Highway. On sale now. Get yours through the buy-the-book links at the bottom of the landing page on my website or here or here. Like The Drive’s Facebook page and tweet back at me @writerteresa.


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