One of the cool things about Guatemala is that firstly, safety is not of a high importance (you’re right, it’s not always good). However, having fun is definitely a priority and makes for interesting tours (to come later). And secondly, when the name of cities gets just too complicated and big, they just shorten it to something more appealing. So Quetzaltenango just becomes “Xela” (pronounced SHAY-la). Much easier.
So we just spent one night here in “Shela”. As we hadn’t done ANY research on this place before we left (yep, sounds about right), we opted for what we thought were the best two things to do here: visit the Hot Springs and drink frappes. And that was Shela. Short and sweet.
In our decision not to do things in a structured manner, we spent one night in Shela, only to then board a 12+ hour bus ride up to Lanquin (which we could have avoided, had we actually thought about it and chosen to go in a “sensible” direction). But we don’t like to do things in an orderly fashion, rather, we prefer (and hate at the same time) chaos! But there was a bonus! Our first B celebrity meeting: yep we saw the President of Guatemala! Yes, this was a pivotal point in our life of seeing someone whom we had no idea who he was, being shoved out the way by his bodyguards, and attempting to sing Guatemala’s national anthem. It really was a joyous moment.
So some quick dot points of our bus journey up to Lanquin:
-being told that we would arrive around 8pm. Reality? 11.40pm in the pouring rain, after changing buses midway.
-holding on for dear life as we experienced a heavy rain downpour and hit a patch of fog, right at the moment when half of the road had been previously washed away in a landslide.
-and laughing with (or at) some boys from the UK for their music choices….they were very engrossed in serenading each other.
Once we arrived, however, it really was beautiful (once we saw what it looked like in sunny daylight). Surrounded by jungle forest, sleeping in a bungalow, eating from communal buffets under a large open space, with hammocks and a rapid river passing by, this was not your usual hostel! And the tours to follow were even more interesting (stay tuned for THAT blog).