Thursday, October 25, 2007
Driving can be hazardous to your health
As Johnny and I were driving to Guatemala City today, we came across what has become a usual occurance - a construction cola. These colas or lines of traffic have been a common occurance since the government started widening the Pan American Highway. Today's cola was typical, although it lasted longer than usual. Let me see if I can help you see it thru my eyes:
It started as a typical stop in traffic when there is construction ahead. We are sitting in our lane, about 7 or 8 cars from the front of the line.
Also, as usual, the vendors collect and go from car to car, or bus in this case, selling whatever they have to sell. This young lady is selling tamales, which are wrapped in corn husks. The bus was full of hungry folks because she shucked corn husks out the door as she put the tamales in plastic baggies as she sold them. There were a pile of corn husks!
There is almost a carnival type feeling today. We are at an intersection that has a couple of vendors on a regular day. Today seemed extra-special! Note the kid on the homemade stilts.
When it was our turn to travel the construction area, all of the buses, vans and delivery trucks started going around the line of traffic, headed for the front of the line! In doing this, they blocked the last few vehicles coming the other way. We ended up with three lanes of traffic across the road. Where we are sitting is the actual lane.
Farther down into the construction area there was a detour. Apparently the guys stopping the traffic coming toward us went on break because we met a mess of trucks and cars at the detour. Here we are actually crossing the line of traffic coming toward us to take the detour!
The detour was a muddy mess! There is an orange truck in front of the red one that gets stuck in the mud. People have to get out and push him through the last of it. We had to go into 4 wheel drive to get through it ourselves!
Here we are crossing back through the line of traffic, back on pavement. It was the strangest driving experience I think we have had! And remember - this is the Pan American highway that goes from Canada to South America! One of the major thoroughfares in Guatemala!
Well, we made it to Guatemala City in 4 1/2 hours, usually a 2-3 hour drive! I am not looking forward to returning to the Camp through all of this, but then...that's Guatemala!