We stop for supplies in San Ignacio and run into Rupert & Amy, an Australian couple driving an ’89 Range Rover around the world. They have just come north through every country in South America and so we have tons to talk about on both sides. I don’t stop grinning for the rest of the day thinking about the stories and places Rupert tells me about. You can checkout their website www.heartofdarkness.com.au to see what they are up to.
At the Guatemalan border we pay a $BZ 37.50 ($USD 18.75) departure tax and I have to walk around to customs to have the special stamp in my passport canceled without a problem. On the Guatemalan side I once again pay for fumigation of the Jeep, and make sure I get a receipt for my $3 USD. We stand in line and get our CA-4 stamp that allows free travel between Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua for 90 days. The border official says we must pay 20 Quetzales (about $USD 2.50) each for our entrance, which we know is not true. I smile and politely ask for a receipt, which amazingly he can not give us. This stand off goes on for a few minutes while the line grows longer and longer behind us, with me all the while asking politely for a receipt. He finally hands out passports to his supervisor who scowls sternly at us before giving them back and sending us on our way.
I move to another line to deal with the Jeep paperwork, and 20 minutes and 40 Quetzales ($USD 5) later we are on our way with a new shiny sticker on the windscreen. We haggle with the money exchangers for quite a while until we get a rate we are happy with and dump all of our Belize dollars and some Pesos I am still holding. Immediately away from the border we drive over a bridge and a young lady comes out demanding payment for our passage. Watching all the other cars drive over un-molested I feel like we’re being scammed, but she is wearing a uniform and we do get a receipt for our money.
As I drive into Guatemala, country number five, I feel an excitement I have not felt before – I feel like I’m really into this adventure and loving every minute!