Guatemala - Departure
I do not plan anything for the last day. I have spent all money and do not want to walk around Guatemala City, even though there are still places to see. I get up and talk to several European tourists (Denmark, the Netherlands) who arrived yesterday. They leave in a short while to a bus terminal (and further to Antigua). As there is nothing much to do, I take a walk around the hotel. Wealthy citizens live here. Their houses are not visible, because all of them are surrounded by a high wall with barbed wire. I go back to the hotel and walk to the airport together with an American. It is about 15 minutes away. I pay a departure fee of $3, show a stamped ticket to a guard and proceed to check-in. I am unpleasantly surprised here - the airline clerk tells me, that I forgot to go to passport control, which is on the third floor. As I cannot come back again (I went through the gate), he takes my passport and ticket and walks away with them. He comes back in a while, everything is OK, luckily they haven't even put a stamp in the passport. The plane leaves for Mexico, there I change for KLM to Amsterdam and finally take a train to Brussel. There are track repairs on the way, so we first go to Breda and then by bus to Roosendaal.
So, how was Guatemala in the end? I am very happy that I got an opportunity to see it and experience the best of it with the help of friends, colleagues and many other people. If the government manages to put the crime in the capital under control, Guatemala will be an unbeatable destination. Let's wish their friendly and hard-working people manage to overcome all the difficulties connected to a transition to democracy and build a prosperous state. Perhaps the project, I was involved in, helps contribute to that. And my recommendation to the visitors of these pages is: Do not get discouraged by third-hand information and experience the country with its unique monuments yourself!
Added February 12, 2005: I traveled once more to Guatemala in December 2004 / January 2005, followed by a vacation in Honduras and El Salvador. On this trip, I saw some other interesting places of Guatemala, such as Chiquimula, Quiriguá, Esquipulas, Monterrico and La Democracia (see pictures). If you plan a trip, make sure you check them out as well!
© Jan Peula, 2004-5