It’s some time since we last posted.
Yesterday morning two groups left the camp site and headed for home. Home for many of them was a long way away.
The first group, two French citizens, Jeremy & Chloe, and an Italian Pasquale left by taxi for Guatemala City airport at 5am, hoping for a flight to Europe via Mexico City.
The second group of two Americans left at 6.30am. Phil in his monster Ford 4×4 camper, along with a couple, Ella from Germany and Dave from the UK. Also Victor in his Toyota, 4Runner.
In Phil’s case, for the US. His plan is to drop Dave & Ella at Veracruz for them to make their way to Mexico City. They plan a flight home to Europe. Phil intends to return home to San Francisco. Victor is heading for Oaxaca.
We all gathered to see them off. Sad to see them go as it’s been a cohesive and enjoyable group. The previous night we had a poolside farewell Pot Luck dinner for them.
A WhatsApp group called ‘Guatemala Escapees’ was created enabling us to keep informed of their progress. They reached the border at about 4pm. At approximately 6pm they informed us that they had got through the Guatemala border but the Mexican’s would not let then in, due to citizen’s road blocks past the border. So they are trapped and spent the night on a bridge between the two countries, in no man’s Land. It’s now early morning on Saturday the 25th and we await developments
Let me tell you, we went through days of soul searching and indecision before deciding not to join them. Being denied entry into Mexico was not one of the reasons why we decided not to go with them. Being unable to travel through the various states of Mexico was. We had visions of being forced to camp beside the road somewhere in isolation until the threat passes.
All the time during our agonising over whether to go or stay we received incredible support form the NZ Embassy in Mexico City, who are responsible for Central America. They provided us with continual situational updates. I won’t name any of the staff, but I believe we were the envy of the group, many who struggled to even get a response from their embassies, with the possible exception of the Germans?
It is still our desire to continue our travels through South America. While we realise that the world is going to be a very different place post virus, we believe that with patience we will achieve our objective. Our embassy in Mexico even put us in touch with their Colombian counterparts in Bogota to update us on northern South American travel conditions.
Yes, we are in no doubt that slowly but surely our chances of getting home to NZ are diminishing. However the risks of catching the virus en-route or being stuck somewhere between, along with maybe having to give up the journey and part with Poki, convinced us to stay. Also, Tim & Sarah, whom we live with, decided to give up on their bid to return to the US and spend some time on a kite surfing beach in Texas, due to the U.S. only allowing them a Transit Visa to enter the US.
So, the days slip by. The weather is amazing. Warm and calm but in the last week or so, the beautiful scenery has all but disappeared. A fog mixed with a smoky haze has obscured the mountain and coastline opposite us. Pierre, the land owner tells us that this is an annual occurrence but that it usually comes in February and is gone by this time of year.
There have been movie nights, quiz nights and pot luck dinners by the pool and lots of reading to keep us sane. I have also replaced the rear brake pads and with Jen’s expert help, bled the brakes, so we are ready to go in an instant.
Talking of reading, Pierre has a reasonable library and my last read was ‘Searching for Everardo’ by Jennifer K Harbury. A couple of posts ago I talked about the Guatemala war. This book is about a Harvard educated lawyer who had spent much time in, and become very attached to Guatemala. To obtain accurate information about the war for another book, she arranged to meet a group of indigenous Mayan freedom fighters. (Communist terrorists).
During her time in a remote jungle location, she fell love with the group’s leader, Everardo. The book covers their time in Mexico, where he was trying to negotiate a satisfactory end to the wanton violence by the state. The couple married and he returned to Guatemala to continue the struggle. He was captured.
The book tells of the horrific torture he and others were exposed to and her fight with the CIA, Guatemalan army, American Embassy in Guatemala and Washington administration to get him released and the lies and deception from all.
It’s a must read if you have any interest in learning the truth of what South and Central America have been exposed to over the last century or so.
As if that’s not enough, I’m now reading ‘Educated: A memoir’ by Tara Westover a story of mental illness and unimaginable personal courage in the face of ignorance and prejudice. Thank you John, how about something uplifting…:)
Anyway, this virus and our incarceration wont last much longer now that a cure has been found in the form of a ‘disinfectant injection’ and sunlight!!
Do we really think this i_____ should be influencing our lives? I think journalists have a duty to not attend his “briefings” and seek real leadership from other quarters!
PS. A late update. The group are now through the Mexican border and on their ways. The British Embassy apparently interceded and arranged a Police escort. Brilliant!