Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Adventures in renewing my visa

When I entered Guatemala on February 1 I got a 90 day tourist visa. This visa actually was not only for Guatemala but also for Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras. May 1 would have been my 90 day limit so last weekend I headed off for Mexico to renew my visa. Now legally you have to leave Guatemala for 72 hours in order to get a new 90 day visa. However, I had been told by most of the people in Xela that it could be done for a small bribe in one day. Just head over to Mexico Grab some lunch and head back with small tip, or just bat your eyes a few times, for the border guard and everything should go smoothly. However, it did not quite work that easily for me. Getting out of Guatemala and in and out of Mexico was easy enough. I had some tacos for lunch and I was all ready for my new 90 day visa. I have never bribed anyone before I do not think and so I was not really sure how to do it. I tried everything I could think of though and I really felt like the guy was not taking the bait. I mean I had my wallet out, I took some money out and laid it on my passport, I tried asking if there was any other way to pay or to pay a fine or something. I really started to think that maybe I had gotten an honest border agent. And I started to get a little worried. I had not brought things with me to stay for three days in Mexico and I had already gotten an exit stamp from Mexico but Guatemala would not give me the entrance stamp so I was feeling country less. Finally I came back in and was offering a little more money and and there was no one else in line and the border agent came around the counter and told me that if I left him a tip in my passport and filled out the normal form he would give me the stamp.
So that over I now just needed to get home. It was almost4:30 and the last direct bus back to Xela left at 2. I asked around at the bus station and was told that I would be able to catch a bus from Coatepeque to Xela (Quetzaltenango). See the link to the map at right if you want to know where things are. Quetzaltenango, Coatepeque, and Tecun Uman (the border town) are all in the western part of the country. I was not sure that I really believed that I could catch a bus but any town is better than on the border so I gave it a try. I made it to Coatepeque just before 5:30 and quickly got of the bus and started asking around if there were any more buses for Xela. After a couple of wrong directions some one said "Yeah see that bus leaving right now that is the last bus for Xela." Luckily Guatemalan buses are always looking for late coming passengers and they spotted me running towards them waving my arms yelling Xela. All in all it was a long day but I got my new 90 days and back to Xela in one piece.

1 comment:

sarita said...

hola guapo, hey jacob,
que tal? que pasa?
me gusta mucho a leer tus entradas y me dan muchas sonreirses, especialmente los explicaciónes en detalle. ;-) Espero que estes curado y sano de nuevo! ¿Como té gusta guatemala, comparado con Nicaragua? ¿Y tienes planes, cuanto tiempo querias a continuar tus viajes? Y me parece que tu español tiene que ha logrado un level increible, como un nativo!

Estamos todavia en managua, ya desde hace casí 2 meses, ¡y el tiempo lo paza como en vuelo!--> tan rapido! Estoy mas o menos satisfecho con mi practica en la asesoria legal y stefan hace como dos practica, una en un red de hombres contra la violencia y la otra en el divino niño-un orfanato. aprendemos mucho y tambien tropezamos sobre algunas dificultades - pero esta, es como se aprende, verdad?
pero nos gusta mucho vivir en managua, ¡y tambien con la previsión a nuestras viajes, que vamos a hacer en mas o menos un mes, todo es muy lindo!
Cuando estes todavia viajando en Agosto, en el inicio, en Honduras seria un Festival de Musica electronica, o algo a si,... si tengas ganas,... nosotros queremos irnos!
Bueno, podria contar mas, pero otra vez y quisas con correo electronico - con mucha alegia de vivir y un abrazo fuerte! Suerte, que te vaya bien,... sarah y muchos saludos, por supuesto de stefan