Crossing Borders

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

It was a hot September day, just a few days after my 23rd birthday. Ahead of me I saw dry, barren land. It looked like a desert in the middle of the Caribbean. Behind me the landscape was lush and tropical, like one might expect the Caribbean to be. We were crossing borders from the Dominican Republic to Haiti. As we approached the Haitian border, the chaos grew louder. Since we were the only white people around, we hopped off our bus hoping to hear sounds of English, but were only left with the clashing of Spanish and Creole. Not knowing what to do I followed the rest of our group and stood in line to have my passport stamped. I wish I could say that once our passports were stamped we hopped back on the bus and drove off, but that was not the case. What should have been an easy, organized process turned out to be an unorganized, corruptive mess. Like I said…we were the only white people in a sea of dark skinned Haitians and equally dark Dominicans. Our skin tone gave us away and resulted in us paying 3 times more than what we were supposed to.
Unfortunately, crossing back into the DR from Haiti was not any better. Our heads were spinning, our stomaches were hungry, and I'm sure someone on that bus had to use the bathroom but no one dared get off the bus if they didn't have to. 5 hours of waiting and one passport stamp later and we were in the clear. We drove off in relief, hoping to never again relive such an exhaustive and terrifying process.

When Mitch and I began preparing for our trip across the border to Mexico to renew our visa's, I was so nervous and had no idea what to expect. I was praying not to relive our Caribbean border experience. I tried talking Mitch into going to Belize instead (it's safer and by a beach ;)). But we had already made arrangements to go with our Mexican friends who needed to renew their visa as well. Fortunately(!), crossing from Guatemala to Mexico was no where near as bad as our first border experience. What I learned was that Mexicans favor Americans. So for us, the process was smooth and easy. Still a little chaos, but easy nonetheless. The important thing is that we accomplished our mission of renewing our visas. We're good for another 90 days in Guatemala (and are hoping to finish our residency paperwork before the 90 days is up)!

We ended up having a lot of fun in Mexico, but we're so glad to be back in Guatemala! Here are some photos of our trip in Chiapas, Mexico.

12 hour bus ride!

Tuxtla, Chiapas, Mexico (the city where we stayed, the capitol of Chiapas)

We ate cactus for the first time! Mitch and I both thought it was green beans at first. 

San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas

Mexican coffee

I think I ate quesadilla's everyday while I was there! 

Taking the public transportation bus in Chiapas…something that is too dangerous for us to do in Guate

VW Bugs are everywhere in Chiapas

Visiting Chiapas de Corzo…the first city in Mexico that was conquered by Spain.

Touring a canyon by boat

Isn't it beautiful?! 

We're thankful that our border trip was somewhat uneventful, but next time I vote for Belize!

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