We have now been here for 6 weeks.
When we left the UK in May 2018 and during the years we were planning this adventure, we never dreamt we would face something of this nature. It never entered our heads that we could be “stuck” like this. Who would have imagined that the world would come to a virtual full stop and we would not be able to cross borders.
It should be an idyllic break in such a beautiful location. I have read in several places of visitors saying it is the most stunning place they have ever visited. At times it seems a nightmare though. I am not good at feeling trapped and the uncertainty as to whether we should stay and sit it out, or try and get back to New Zealand has been very stressful.
We had been in constant touch with the group who left here last Friday. Once the were escorted into Mexico by the police and got on the road, they reported absolutely no problems and everything as normal. This provoked yet another swing in our minds. We should try and catch them up.
We had decided the night before we would go and make a dash for the borders on Tuesday. We contacted the British, New Zealand and Canadian Embassies and told them of our plans and asked for their assistance, should we have any similar difficulties in crossing into Mexico.
While we were packing up Poki and Tim and Sarah’s truck, the British and New Zealand Embassies replied immediately. (No response from the Canadians). They were adamant we should not try to travel. The British Embassy reported the group being stuck in No Man’s Land was considered a “serious incident”. They had called in a favour with the Mexican authorities in asking the police to escort them through the local mob who were blockading the border.
The police had felt it was a waste of their time having to escort foreigners, when their countries have advised them not to travel. They also specifically said their priority is maintaining a positive relationship with the local communities and that helping the group of foreigners to get through put a strain on this relationship. They warned they would not do it again.
The local villagers are frightened. They blame foreigners for bringing the virus into the country.
After this we once again decided we would stay. The mood was brightened a bit though by the most recent announcement from the Guatemalan President. Although continuing with the same lockdown conditions this week, he intimated that there might be some lessening of restrictions next week.
If we could move around freely in Guatemala we could visit some new places and if the border is opened between El Salvador or Honduras we could start moving again. Pierre also bought some information he had found online listing dates for border re-openings in Central and South America. Most were very soon. The ever optimistic Dennis sees this as very positive news. I point out to him that they are hoped for dates and could be subject to change!
Dig in and stay. The alternative could be a lot worse
Feet up, good company, a few beers at midday , warm and safe
All part of the adventure and something unique to look back on. Never to be repeated again
Hi Lindsay. I certainly hope it won’t be repeated any time soon. Once in a life time is more than enough.
No midday beers, but plenty of evening wine!
Am sure some day we will look back fondly at the time we got stuck in Guatemala. Just hope it won’t be too long before we can do so.
There’s the expression “known unknowns and unknown unknowns” (usually attributed to Donald Rumsfeldt) and, while your trip planning must include a substantial list of the known unknowns, I’m sure that this virus must fall into the unknown unknown category. You would have had exceptional foresight to have put “what happens if there’s a global pandemic” on the list.