Loc: Puerto Queztal
Acc: Navy room
Dist: 0 km
The air condition is always a dangerous thing for me, especially as I stuffed all my clothes yesterday evening into the washing machine and kept nothing to cover my head and neck. A small towel tried to keep the cold breeze away as good as it goes, still this morning I wake with a thick and stiff neck. No problem, I am busy online already since five o’clock in the morning, and have my own breakfast and snacks in my room to get done what I need to do to keep my trip running, old and new sections.
In the early afternoon, I ask Rocio if we can get some drinking water, and a metal spoon I messed somehow up for my breakfast. That is all I need to add to my supplies. She comes with a new-looking American pickup truck with a friendly military driver, and we drive to town to the local Hyper-market. It is nice to combine my small shopping needs with a bit of a sight seeing tour!
In most streets, all looks to my eyes quite similar to Mexico. Maybe there are plenty more Tuc Tucs, the three-wheeled motorbike-taxis, and even more motor bikes than anywhere else, loaded sometimes with a whole family of four or even five. Cars are surely also there, but not as dominant as in other countries, and they are often parked in “car hotels”, guarded garages. The Hyper-market is also guarded, and the driver has to show some ID to get into the protected square with some other larger shops.
Otherwise, all businesses and services in most streets are done in one-room, garage-size basement shops by one person, rarely they are larger. I find this is quite typical for Latin America, and makes the special flair to me.
Back to the Navy base, I get an interesting sightseeing tour on their two-year old large supply ship, build in Colombia. I remember, in Columbia, their large supply ship were both on the Atlantic and on the Pacific old German ships the Columbians bought from us. This ship here looks very modern in all regards, I get a tour into every room, from the captain’s bedroom over the bridge to the engine room and kitchen. An amazing living space on the water!
On the area, the Navy proudly displays their catch of Narcotraffic vessels, many crazy-looking self-constructed semi-submarines which I already “admired” with the Navy in Columbia, also a remote-controlled drug tornado and endless simple open barges with unallowed loads. It looks like also the Navy of Guatemala is on the watch for the Narco-Traffic, coming mostly from Columbia with goal Mexico or the USA. Metal signs state the $$ value of drugs they confiscated. It is a lot!
Rocio also takes me to their private Navy beach, a “park” for socializing and barbecues. Young people seem to be exercising all day with soccer games, runs or regular parades. Life as a member of the Navy in Guatemala is not the worst to choose for life!
The Commander has once more time for a chat with me, thanks for the friendly reception in his office, which is decorated with endless souvenirs from friendships with other organizations. He presents me a golden medal from the Navy of Guatemala which will get an honorable display space in MY office! Thanks for hosting me so nicely and to look into my needs!
We consult an officer who might be able to tell us something about my planned inland paddle, but unfortunately, he des not know more than we could google. Rocio found an important note they warn some lengths of the canal is already gown over, and I better check the newer regular Google satellite images, not only my older downloaded ones or my chart. And yes, it does looks like some sections are green rather than water-color. Not sure if I could pass there with my kayak, and as there is no exit in between, I cancel this admittedly tempting idea to get almost to the border via this calm inland-canal system and say the surf good-bye for a while.
Late in the evening at already seven-thirty, Rocio asks for my passport which still needs the exit stamp. Oh, I better should have realized I only got the entry stamp yesterday evening, not both together! A friendly lady named Laura takes care of it in those late evening hours, and I get my passport back before bedtime. Thanks also for your lovely little presents, Laura! Unfortunately, the lovingly-made out of shells small boat would not survive the next weeks in my kayak, and I have to pass on this fragile friendly gift on to Rocio. A small Guatemala-bracelet I am able to keep.
All in all, Guatemala people were treating me so nicely all those last days, thanks! Two and a half more days, then I am already in El Salvador!