I am both idealist and realist. For there is no point in ideals if they cannot be realised.
Jacob (Jake) Barrie Gordon

Jake Gordon

First Class' Chickens

16 July 2003

The night bus wasn’t exacly ‘first class’ as they’d claimed - there were a few cockroaches here and there, no curtains and a it on the skummy side. Now I don’t normally mind all that, but for a night bus the idea is to sleep, and I didn’t manage to get much of that last night. Similarly, what I forgot to mention yesterday was that the leaky bus was also, apparently, first class. Hmm. Anyway, thy call the crappy buses here chicken buses. Either because they’re yellow (they’re the US’s old buses) and/or because everyone gets packed in like chickens. Well, I found another reason ot call them chicken buses - the driver on the nightbus was a complete nutter. It was almost as though he was playing Crazy Taxi, with some kind of a death wish out for himself and all the passengers. That said, not quite as mad as driving in India.

I forgot to say the other day, but got heldup by groups of, ehem, ‘terrorists’ on the way to the waterfalls. Basically, local villages put a rope across the road and try to sell you things. Also, one guy told us it cost 5pesos to pas him… very scary terrorist he was. He had a notepad and pen and all.

I saw Guatemala City for about ten minutes. Smelly (well, I was in the bus depot with all the fumes everywhere). Then went to Antigua and I was a bit disappointed, especially with the accommodaiton, so I headed straight off to Lake Atitlan. This took another four local buses, fantastic ‘local’ route though which reminded me a lot of India. Bustling markets in the towns.

So I’m now in Panajachel, a big gringo (meaning foreigner) town around Lake Atitlan. Hopefully, Moritz will be able to meet me here in a couple of days, as we had arranged to meet in Antigua (if you’re reading this, I’m staying in Hostel Santo Domingo, and I don’t have your email address!!!).


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by Jake Gordon, some rights reserved