Already one week ago we found ourselves getting tanned on the beautiful beach of Chiapas, Mexico!
After a scary earthquake night in Chorjale, Quetzaltenango, we drove a few hours more to San Marcos, the department north west of Xela, where we settled down in Hotel Villa Astur. A beautiful hotel in the city of San Marcos. Very cozy, clean, but immensely cold! It was so cold that the housekeeper gave us four blankets to keep ourselves warm at night and we even put our towels on the ground to prevent our toes from freezing to the floor. I did not expect San Marcos to be that cold. While we were in our bed, watching our favorites series on Netflix (yay for Grey’s Anatomy!), we felt a couple more aftershocks, but they were not as heavy as the real earthquake we had the day before.
The next morning we woke up very early to go to Mexico. While we were waiting for Gary and the black pick-up, a blue car pulled up into the parking lot. The car honked at us, but well, that happens a lot to us. But the car didn’t leave and Megan went up to the guy to ask him who he was. Turned out to be Gary’s cousin who was picking us up. Thanks for letting us know! This was the second time already that a stranger came to pick us up. In the car were two other family members of Gary, so that suprised us even more. How many were there? A few minutes later we arrived at a gas station, where we met another five family members. What?! As we packed ourselves and our backpacks in the back of the car, we found out there was a little miscommunication with Gary.
“You never told us your whole family was going with us.”
“I told you we were staying with my family in Mexico.”
“So you have family in Mexico too?”
“No, I never said that.”
“But where are we staying then?”
“Here, at the hotel in San Marcos.”
“So we packed our bags for nothing?”
“Yeah, I was already wondering why you took everything.”
“So we are not staying in Mexico?”
“Then why did you say we are staying with your family in Mexico?”
“Because we are staying WITH my family in Mexico! My family from Guatemala is going with us. To Mexico.”
Apparently we both had our own translation of we are staying with my family! So then we found ourselves in a car with three Guatemalans, two of them didn’t speak any English, and our backpacks full of valuable stuff and no place to stay in Mexico. Great! But since we had no other option, we enjoyed the beautiful view instead. The Guatemalan-Mexican border is absolutely breathtaking! San Marcos’ elevation is almost 2,400 meter high, the border is at almost 345 meter above sea level. A tiring change in altitude ánd temperature, because we also went from 12 degrees in Guatemala to over 35 in Mexico…
The border process was surprisingly easy, even though I travelled outside of the country with my emergency passport for the first time. They only asked us to fill out some paperwork with a few very eyebrow-raising questions such as what is your family situation? What are your family members’ names, ages and places of residence? What is your Facebook page number? Are you in the army? I answered every question as well as I could, because I just wanted to go to the Mexican beach for a few hours. It didn’t take long for the immigration people to let us through. We were in Mexico!
We drove all the way to Tapachula, at about half an hour from the border, where we got some very late breakfast at Pollo Campero. After that we prepared ourselves for a nice day at the beach, but of course, not all family members brought their swimming suits… (really, you forget your swim suit when you go to the beach?). So we had to wait for almost two hours until everyone had bought something to swim in. The temperature had already climbed up to 36 degrees and we almost melted away in the car. Around 1pm we finally made our way to Playa Linda, not very far from Puerto Chiapas. It surprised us that we did not see any earthquake damage along the way. Nothing! Even though the news had told us that the Chiapas department was hit the hardest.
The only thing that was a little strange and scary was the completely abandoned resort at the beach. Upon arrival, the owner told us that everyone in the area left their homes because there was a tsunami warning… The beach was so empty that we wondered if a beach day was really a wise decision. But the warnings turned out te be only warnings, because the water was very quiet and after a few hours, other guests showed up too. The resort was very beautiful with a large swimming pool, hammocks, palm trees, a bar and direct access to the beach with extremely hot sand and beautiful blue, warm water. It was a very relaxing afternoon with Gary’s family and our white legs finally had the opportunity to get a tan. But the thought of an approaching tsunami was still a little terrifying so I was kind of relieved when we made our way back to Tapachula, where we ate the longest quesadillas I’ve ever seen. After that we did some shopping in one of the giant shopping malls in South Mexico and fortunately we finally found some jeans! We are both losing so much weight that our skinny jeans are not skinny anymore. I actually bought a size 26, which means my weight has dropped two sizes in the past half year! After waiting for Gary’s family for over 40 minutes (it must be the culture…), we made our way back to the Guatemalan border. When we arrived there it was already pitch-dark, but we did not have to fill out any paperwork. Within 12 hours we were the proud owners of four new passport stamps!
We were exhausted and the trip back to the hotel seemed to take forever, but around 11pm we finally were able to dive into our beds again (did you know we also went to a different time zone?). Completely broken, but with one country less on my list.
On Sunday morning we slept in very late, packed our bags again and drove seven hours back to the city. It might sound weird, but I was happy to be back in the ‘safe area’, without strong earthquakes, tsunami warnings and approaching hurricanes!
Here are some pictures from our beach day at Playa Linda, Mexico: