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Peps and Pete Travels "On pleasure bent again"

Ah... the joys of travel

GUATEMALA | Tuesday, 27 February 2007 | Views [1664] | Comments [1]

We had a bit of an adventure getting to Flores, the place from which we planned to visit the ruins of Tikal in Guatemala´s north. When we were in Antigua, we booked ourselves a bus ticket from Antigua to Flores, we later realised that we would need to join a larger bus in Guatemala City.  The bus is rumoured to take 10 hours, but we know better - nothing takes the stated length of time here, so we were thinking 12 - 14 hours. As a result, for $5 more we booked a luxury bus, one that left Antigua at 7:30 am as opposed to the economy bus which left at 4am!

So, on the pre arranged day of travel we were up and getting ready to go when there was a knock at the door of our room. Apparently our shuttle bus to the city would now be coming to get us at 8:30. This did not worry us too much, as we had booked all our travel through the same company, so we figured that they would be on top of all the details, especially regarding connecting with a bus in Guatemala City. How wrong we were.

We got picked up by the shuttle at 8:30, and Pete spied and envelope with our names and the time 10am written on it.  Thankfully, I remained blissfully unaware of that detail, which he suspected was the time that our bus was due to leave Guatemala City!

The trip from Antigua to Guatemala City normally takes between 45mins and an hour so realistically we could have made the 10 am bus! But we had been warned about the roadworks on the road, we´d been told to add an hour to each trip, so essentially we were doomed from the start.  At one stage we moved about 100m in about 40 mins. 10 am came and went! I still remained unaware that we were due to get a 10 am bus, poor Pete was in the know though. And his stress was not helped by another passenger in the mini bus telling us to be careful around the bus station, "´cause it is a pretty bad area!"

We eventually arrived in Guatemala City at 10:20am, and of course, we were the last ones to get dropped off - we had to drop others at various airports and destinations around Guatemala city.  When we were last remaining our bus driver headed off to the bus line that we had been plannng to go with (not all the busses operate from the same station, they are dotted around all over town), but when we went down the same street twice, I was left feeling a bit anxious. However, we made it to the bus station eventually (at 11am), and the driver turns around, handes me an envelope full of money (apparently we still had to BUY our tickets) and then starts rambling in spanish... I look up at him with a smile and say ¨No entiendo Señor¨(I dont understand!). So he just drives off, leaving us at the bus station with an envelope of money and our luggage. So much for service!

We head off to buy our tickets buy which time Pete is fuming at the disorganisation, and I am realising that we have missed our 10am bus by an hour! But no probs I think, we´ll just get the next one. At that point we found out that the next one came at 9pm. Ah so what the bus driver had been trying to say is "I´m sorry, you have missed your bus, and another one will only be leaving at 9pm, so you are stuck in a dodgy part of town, for 10 hours. Further, the other bus companies operate from different parts of town and I will not tell you which ones go to flores. In fact I will not help you at all, I will just leave you stranded here with and envelope with money and no idea of where you are!¨Lovely!

Not thrilled with the idea of waiting to 10 hours to catch a bus which takes a minimum of 10 hours, we decided that we would head to the airport (where we had been just half an hour earlier) and try to get a flight to Flores. What made the whole expeirence worse is that if he had just said to us, look your bus has gone, what do you want to do, rather than leaving us stranded, we could have figured something out. But instead he just left us in dodgeville and drove off (especially seeing as if we had been picked up at 7:30 we would have made the bus in the first place!).

We managed to get on a flight later that afternoon, and arrived before our bus had been due to arrive anyway - so were happy in the end, although with slightly elevated stress levels. I guess that these are the adventures that travelling is all about!

Tags: I should have known better!



Ha Ha Ha, that is such a typical story over there. If I had a dollar for eveytime I was screwed around by a central american travel company I would be a rich man!

  Brendan Mar 5, 2007 9:57 AM



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