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Postcard :: travel days

By Thursday, April 14, 2011 , , ,

After leaving Lanquin the pictures were few and far between until we got to Tikal. Picking up where we last left off...

Lanquin was a bustling market when we made it back to town. Bumped and bewildered we wandered through the town. In the market filled streets you could buy fruits and veggies plus clothes and household items. We hadn't eaten breakfast so we paused for a couple big wedges of watermelon.

The bus to Coban Guatemala, our jumping off spot for Tikal, was supposed to pass by the cross roads leading out of town once every hour. Asking around we found that maybe we'd have a half hour to wait. No one seemed certain.

When a pick up truck rolled by with a young guy hanging off the back yelling "Coban" we hopped up off the curb. We confirmed that they were headed to Coban and not Cahabon which sounds suspiciously similar, but is in the wrong direction. Yes, they were going to Coban and we were tired of waiting. We threw our pack in the back and followed suit.

Crammed in the back with us were seven others plus the guy hanging off the tailgate. It was hot sitting beneath the tarp that covered the bed. We made ourselves "comfortable" on the backpack as the truck bounced out of town.

Turns out the Maya people who were on the ride with us didn't speak Spanish - just Kechi, a Maya language. We watched the green hills fly by out the back. A couple women hopped off some time later. Then at another village two women climbed in with a big basket filled with melons. For the ride up the hill one of the women was perched just about in Lukas's lap - a big bump and Lukas would have gotten a face-full of Maya woman behind.

We were impressed by the young guy who road straddling the narrow tailgate. He was even able to balance without a problem while reading the newspaper using both hands for the paper and none to make sure he didn't fall out.

Everything looked vaguely familiar until we rolled into a town and across a bridge that we definitely had not seen on our way to Lanquin. And then the truck stopped. Where were we?! This wasn't Coban. With all the displeasure I could muster with my limited vocabulary I gave the young guy a piece of my mind. "Why'd you tell me COBAN when we aren't in COBAN?!" I think he got a kick out of my attempts to tell him off - not maliciously though. And he was kind enough to walk us down the street to the bus station. We were just a few minutes outside Coban.

But, making it to Coban was not the end of our trials. Our time in Coban was filled with walking in circles {poor map and confusing streets}, Lukas getting a case of the traveler's best friend and a fever, stressing out over and finally booking an expensive ride to Tikal, hunting down contact solution at the fifth pharmacy, not being able to get cash, and rushing through a breakfast that we hadn't thought we'd have time for. We were more than ready to leave Coban when our shuttle arrived later than expected.

Highlights of the drive to Tikal...

:: seeing a cute puppy playing with his mom when we stopped for lunch
:: witnessing a family of four on one motorcycle
:: enjoying the novelty of crossing a river on a barge {pictured in this post}
:: stopping right in front of an ATM in Santa Elena to get some cash
:: arriving at Tikal before it was dark and booking a sunrise tour for the morning

Yes, that is a semi-truck getting ready to cross on the barge.

{click here for: Postcards #1, #2, #3, and #4}

*Note: I know when we were planning this trip we were hunting down any details we could find. So, if someone doing the same thing happens on this little blog of mine and would like more information and specific details shoot me an email. I may not have the answer, but I can tell you what we did. megan{dot}a{dot}wenger{at}gmail{dot}com

Other little bits of my life...


  1. Yep, it sure was. I guess we don't do "vacation" like the average person.

    These were a couple hard days, but this really was an amazing trip. And as challenging as this little stretch was, our next stop was even more wonderful.

  2. you guys are such fearless travelers. i love that!