Our Guatemala Adventure


Our Guatemala adventure began as we landed in Guatemala City. Our friends Jorge and Alicia made sure that we were taken to the car rental place. The price of the van went up (probably because we were white), and an hour-long argument ensued. Finally we were off, following Jorge in our rental van to find my friend’s house, where my family was supposed to spend the first two nights.

The late-night traffic in Guatemala City is gridlock. I’ve never seen such insane traffic in my life. Three lanes attempted to merge with three other lanes, all completely stopped, many of them honking their horns. We nearly scraped several cars as we pushed the nose of our van into the fray. We almost lost Jorge several times.

Over an hour later, we were at a gated area where we needed a code to get in. My friend had never given me the code, so we called her. She didn’t answer her phone. By this time it was 10:30pm, dark and raining outside. I asked the armed guards with shot guns if they could buzz us through, but they said no.

I jumped out of the van and hatched a plan with Christie (who came down to Guatemala for the same two weeks). I told her we should make a run for it, that it would be like old times. While she was processing what I had just said (and laughing at the bird-brained scheme), I turned and ran as fast as I could, past the armed guards. She distracted the guards to prevent them from shooting at me.

As soon as I made it through the gated area, I saw houses with numbers much lower than the address I needed. I stood there in the dark, squinting without my glasses in the rain. If it had been daylight, I would have knocked on the door of a random house to ask where I was going.

If I could only find my friend’s house and knock on the door, she would buzz us through. I shivered in the rain as I stood bewildered on an unknown street. I turned around and went back to the van, calmly passing the armed guards and smiling at them.

Jorge invited us to sleep on his floor. My family was ravenously hungry after fighting through another hour of traffic to get to their house. My kids were in a goofy mood, considering the circumstances. They kept laughing hysterically at the billboards about mayonnaise and the ridiculous traffic that kept almost crashing into us.

Alicia fed us reheated lasagna at midnight, and she and her husband vacated their large master bed to make space for three of us. They slept in their daughter’s room, since she was out of town, and my sons slept in the living room wherever they could find space.

The evening finally came to an end while I listened to rain on a tin roof. I felt strangely like I was finally home…

Airplane to Guatemala City (1-min video)

This was my daughter Rachel’s first flight ever. Growing up as a missionary kid, I had been in dozens of planes by her age!

The second night we stayed with my friend’s family. She was apparently in Peru and assumed I would be on Facebook, so she messaged me the code to get into the gated area. I left my cell phone in the USA, so this is why we had the mix-up. The next day we went to Rocarena in Amatitlán:

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18 Responses to “Our Guatemala Adventure”

  1. seems to me that you had a BLAST!

    • Susan says:

      We did, even though we had a somewhat rocky start. My kids learned that basic needs being met are a gift from God, and that we are never guaranteed food or shelter. I am so blessed to have had Jorge and Alicia to help us!

  2. Alice Mills says:

    Very visual read. Interesting what we learn about ourselves when we travel.

  3. Heather says:

    Wow. Sounds exciting. Believe it or not, I’ve never been on an airplane. We do lots of road trips though.

    • Susan says:

      Airplane flights are fun. I’ve been on so many that I’ve lost count! The only flights I didn’t like were the ones to and from England because they were so long!

  4. Oh my. that was quite an exciting beginning. You are very brave. I loved every word. blessings, Amy

    • Susan says:

      Glad you enjoyed the story. Catastrophes are funny in retrospect, and I felt that as I was living it, it would be fun to write about, since it was just one mis-hap after another that first night!

  5. Amy says:

    What an adventure!

  6. Heather says:

    Well that is quite a adventure on your first night! I cannot imagine and the guards would have terrified me WAY too much to be darting by them lol! You area brave woman and sounds like you lead a very interesting life!

  7. This story really resonates with me as our first trip out of the country (to Cancun) went off to a very rocky start. It’s funny to look back on these stories and laugh at the crazy times! Makes for good conversation. So glad you guys ended up having a great time after all!

  8. Christia says:

    Love that you are sharing your adventure. This is something you will always remember!

  9. Kristi says:

    Well your daughters first trip on a plane to Guatemala was definitely an experience she won’t forget! I can’t wait to hear about the rest of your adventure.

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