Days: 134 (6 November 2014)
Total distance travelled: 29,962.3 kilometres (18,610.12 miles)
When we discovered that the last bus had run at 3pm (the previous day… insert harp music for a flashback), we thought we’d missed our chance of visiting San Andrés Xecul.
Then as I pondered the best way to get to Guatemala City, and wondered where in the city the Chicken Bus would actually deliver us, I thought do we even want to visit Guatemala City?
But I do know we wanted to see this church… so lets visit this church!
And that my friends is how we found ourselves delivered from Xela to the side of a highway, with no actual idea where in fact the church could be found in relation to where we now stood.
A couple of young guys raced towards, perhaps sensing our confusion and an opportunity, and shouting out offers to take us onwards to our destination.
Sensing the sharks circling, I was quick to dismiss them, without even bothering to listen to how much they were wanting for the service, and we began to walk in the general direction that I thought the church did lay (the direction was correct, but is a minor point in this whole tale).
We’d been walking for a good few kilometres, had asked for directions for the church and been pointed in this very same direction, but now we stood on the edge of farmlands with no sign of the church or in fact much more of this village in sight.
As we stood, feeling somewhat defeated and dejected along came a pick-up truck (driven by those same two young ‘entrepreneurs’ from earlier). Turns out all it would cost us would be $1.00 Quetzale, so we readily agreed and climbed on board.
When we first saw and then promptly abandoned these enterprising locals, their truck was empty.
Now as we belatedly saw the error of our ways, it was already full to the brim with 10-15 locals.
The best we were able to settle for was a narrow foothold on the rear bumper and our arms tightly wrapped around the rear trays metal frame.
Sure it was dangerous, probably life threatening had either of us slipped (which thankfully neither of us did), but besides, these locals do it every day.
I had however forgotten to hold onto my hat!
So after retrieving it from several hundred metres back down the road (yes, it didn’t take long to blow off), I was now also sweaty, and clinging to the rear of this bouncing truck with only one arm whilst the other held firmly onto my hat.
We obviously survived this adventure unscathed, and this is what we found.
This place was indeed pretty quirky and we promptly forgot our mini ordeal to get here.
We had a look around, took a few pictures, even took a couple of pictures inside (before we spied the no photography sign), and ten minutes later we were done.
Yes, after travelling for an hour and a half to get here, ten minutes was all we needed.
But was it worth it?
Without a doubt it was.
Our time is free and the cost to get here was minimal, so it still felt like a total bargain!
Now to get back to Xela, well that was essentially the first part of the journey, completely reversed and with a touch more luxury.
This time when the pick-up (a different one this time) pulled over and offered us a ride, it wasn’t long before we were doing it in style and standing in the back of the actual tray.
The perfect finale to an incredibly colourful morning!
* Chicken buses depart Xela for San Andrés Xecul on a semi regular basis (last bus is 3pm), costing $3.00 Quetzales per person one way.
* Our ride from the highway in the back of a pick-up cost us $1.00 Quetzale per person in each direction (remember to hang on to your hat, and also for your life)