Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day Six
Upon nearing the border of Mexico, we stopped at a beach front cafe to allow those that had driven all night to rest. We had a breakfast of seafood soup. While the others slumbered in hammocks with the warm ocean breeze wafting across them, I took advantage the time and went wave jumping in the ocean.

The technique of wave jumping is to position yourself at just the right distance from the rising wave to be able to dive into the curling wave. Every so often a good four foot wave will come along and a great thrill comes as it crashes over the top of you. It's a great way to spend the morning. I have been able to do wave jumping a couple other times but never thought I would get to again. This was one of the many highlights of the trip.

We tried to see some big ocean ships but the public was not allowed in to see them. We ate at a Burger King for lunch. In Mexico the double cheese burger comes with two patties of meat, a slice of cheese, a slice of ham, and two strips of bacon. Along with that one could order up fries with melted cheese and hot peppers on them. Since this was a once in a life time trip, I was going to immerse myself in all the culture I could. So one order of cheese burger and cheese fries coming up.

We got as close as we could to the Mexican border and bedded down in a hotel for the night. Since we were headed toward Nicaragua, Pastor Victor's sister-in-law met us at the Mexican border to get a ride to where we were delivering the van. This was a real asset as she knew English and Spanish really well and could interpret for us when needed. Now we are a merry band of six traveling through the countries of Central America.

Day Seven
We were up and eating a breakfast of pastry things with some kind of milk to wash it down. This would be the day we enter Guatemala. Upon reaching the border many people were scouting out the American van and trying to see through the tinted windows and look at what was inside. We were flagged over into what looked like a compound lot until our paper work could be completed.

Crossing a border in Central America is not like crossing a state line in America. In Central America, one must cross a border to leave on country, travel about a half mile, and cross the border into the next country. So it's double the trouble to go from one country to the next. All paper work, passports, and things in the van must be checked leaving one country and then again when entering the next country. Of course each country has a tax for you to be in their country so it has to be paid upon entering or leaving as well. Leaving Mexico was not a problem and we expected to be in El Salvador by night fall.

Because of a new computer system crashing and the needed paper work for the American van seven hours were spend in the 95 degree sun waiting to get across the border into Guatemala. We took a short tour through the black market shops in the little border town and in less than a half hour everyone in the town knew that there was an American van with two white guys in it sitting in the border compound.

Finally we made it across the border but the race was on to get to El Salvador before the border closed. We did not want to stay in Guatemala. About 30 minutes down the road we came upon a tree across the road. Julio the Nicaraguan business man was driving. Without hesitation he swerved across the road, out onto the left lane shoulder, sped around the tree, and booked on down the road. No one mentioned the incident until the next day when Pastor Victor said that it most likely was a trap for us to get robbed. Because of the quick response of Julio, nothing happened. We did make across Guatemala, but didn't make it before the border closed.

We staid in what they call an auto motel. An auto motel is a motel with a walled in locked at night compound area for your car. The motel rooms are inside the compound area as well. All this led me to believe it was not a nice place to be. We got the last two rooms. One for the sister-in-law and one for the five guys.

There was no concern about running out of hot water in the shower because there is no hot water. A shower in Cental America consists of a pipe from the wall with a shut off valve. The water is either on or off. It keeps people from taking a long shower that's for sure.

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