Monday, October 26, 2015

When a 3 hour drive takes almost 9...

I hate Friday traffic in Guatemala.  Hate it.  With a passion.  From 3pm until about 8pm, trying to leave the city is horrendous and takes twice or three times as long as it would with no traffic.

On Friday afternoon, a group of us left right after school to go to the beach for the weekend.  I was one of the drivers, and I was adamant that we would leave the school parking lot at 3:02pm and we would make no stops until we were out of the city. 

We did leave the parking lot by about 3:05, but after that my master plan to arrive at the beach early in the evening started falling apart. 

First of all, we didn’t make it fifteen minutes before we had to pull over because my car was making odd grating sounds with every turn of the wheel or bump in the road.  We deduced that there was too much weight in the trunk, and we were able to transfer some of our load to one of the other cars.  Back on the road again.

Traffic was unusually slow leaving the city, but we finally were picking up speed, had left the capital behind us, and at about 5:30pm, we were looking forward to being at the beach by maybe 7pm.

And then, out of nowhere, we came to a standstill. 

And when I say standstill, I am not exaggerating.  I turned off my car and we spent an hour or more in the exact same spot.  Up and down the road, people were out of their cars, stretching their legs and getting a bit of air. 

Still early on; before people turned off their cars AND their lights, to
conserve their batteries.

At 8pm, we were still at Kilometer 36.  It had taken us five hours to go just over 20 miles.  We were beginning to go a little insane.  

It turns out there’d been a major accident, killing at least one person, and severely messing up traffic. 
(Quote of the night, after we'd been parked in the road for hours:
Jared: "There was this huge accident.  So, that's why traffic is slow."  
Jestina: "Um...this is not 'slow'.")   

It was about 9pm before we really started moving. 
After the traffic jam, we had to deal with a town feria (festival) blocking traffic, a street that more closely resembled a lake, and 79 speed bumps.  
It was 11:40pm by the time we reached our beach house.  

That, my friends, is a new record.   But being there, and waking up to the ocean at our doorstep, made it all worth it.  

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