I’m standing on a bridge. Dreams of jumping not as present as they once were. It’s raining slightly. The bridge carries the part of a road that’s half an hour from the Mexican border. I’ve been standing half an hour from the Mexican border for a few hours now. I look at the roadside restaurant in the distance.
“How random,” I mumble.
From Havana I fly to Merida (Mexico). From Merida I take a ten hour bus to Palenque where I visit beautiful ruins. Another ten hour bus ride to the southern San Cristobal de las Casas before I throw my exhausted body on the mattress, where my fed up health finally files for a divorce.
I walk towards the restaurant. To my left a ravine, to my right a steep cliff, next to me a few hundred cars not moving. I enter. Two Guatemalan men wearing cowboy hats are entertaining the nonexistent crowd and no one in particular. Their faces light up upon seeing a foreigner.
“Where are you from?”
“Qué bonito, Germany.”
“Sure, muy bonito.”
5:00 a.m. The sound of the alarm clock. A jam packed shuttle picks me up in San Cristobal. Destination: Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.
A landslide. The reason why we are stuck in this place just across the border. Talks of TNT and machinery are finally coming in. Meanwhile the teary eyed Latino cowboys are trying to comprehend their luck. Making their annual revenue in a single day. More hours crawl by, the rain increases.
The shuttle stops, way too early. The driver gets out and returns: kidnapping, border’s closed, try again in three days. An hour of contemplating goes by and an update is received. We may pass, but have to change shuttles (the driver’s friend’s shuttles). It appears to be nothing more than an ordinary money grab.
It’s now 9:00 p.m. I finish my lunch/dinner (a small bag of crisps and a Diet Coke) and hear people shouting. They managed to create an opening. We get back in the shuttle, wait some more and slowly head to the landslide. Lighting, thunder, darkness. On the steep cliff to our right more raindrops come rolling down.
Followed by stones.
We succumb, walk past a barricade, hop on a different shuttle and arrive at the actual border. Another stamp in the passport to add to the collection and I put myself in the foetal position to fit in the next shuttle.
The stones land in the ditch. We get neither hit nor hurt. As nerves come alive we continue and the landslide become visible. A mass that would make the average bank safe envious. From the outside voices are heard, people saying our large vehicle will not fit. On both sides we have half a foot spare. Yet we try.
We drive as fast as whatever is the opposite of the speed of light. A snail passes and laughs at us. From the sides comes the sound of the scraping of boulders. Everyone is quiet. More scraping, brake, we stop. And move again.
Applause. We make it. Of course we do.
Nine hours later my exhausted body hits the mattress. Painkillers and sleeping pills exterminate every single remaining thought.
Sitting in an abstract form I enter Guatemala. I gaze at the steep cliffs and the ravine. Stunning scenery. Feeling happy that the worst is behind us.
In the distance I see a roadside restaurant.
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