On the last day of 2019 we will roll into Antigua just before nightfall. Antigua was once the capital of Guatemala, but was destroyed by earthquakes several times in the past, so that the seat of government was moved to Guatemala City. The city is surrounded by the volcanoes Agua, Acatenango and Fuego. The latter is currently very active. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage and is now a popular tourist destination. After a hard day we are so tired that our New Year's Eve menu consists only of a snack at a Chinese restaurant, we toast with a glass of water and slip into 2020 while sleeping.
For the second time in a row we spend Christmas away from home. Last year we were in San Francisco with the Christmas-crazy Americans. The sound of Christmas classics and flashing lights on our retinas were permanent at that time. Here in Latin America you only see a bit of tinsel on an artificial fir tree, if you are lucky. In other words: there is hardly any Christmas spirit here. We spend the holidays at the Finca Ixobel and simply enjoy doing nothing for two days. Of course, we connect briefly by video call with our families in Switzerland and wish each other all the best. But in the evening of the 25th we will have a Christmas menu after all. With Josh, a solo overlander from Santa Cruz and the two Dortmunders Jutta & Christian (www.cooltouren.wordpress.com) we sit together in the evening with Turkey, Gravy, Stuffing, various salads and delicious Pecan & Pumpkin Pies and are happy to spend the holidays in good company.
The last fresh produce has been eaten and the last Belizean dollars are invested in Choco-Croissants from the French Bakery next door. A few minutes later we are at the Guatemalan border. The Belize exit is without any problems. On foot we go to the green hall, where we first have to fill out a questionnaire about our stay in Belize. Afterwards (after paying the exit fee of 40BZ = 20CHF p.P.) we get our stamp in our passport and also carry out Baloo at customs. Before entering Guatemala we drive through a fumigation (pesticide spraying plant) where we are relieved of another 17 Quetzales (Guatemalan currency, named after the national bird Quetzal) = 2,20CHF. What this action is supposed to be good for, we cannot find out by looking at the two mini nozzles that sprinkle our tires with a few drops of water. In the customs building of Guatemala we play the whole game from the beginning: >Fill in the entry card >Let your passport be stamped >Apply for a temporary import permit for Baloo and hand in copies of all kinds of documents (there is even a working printer in the building and they do the copying for us) >Pay the import fee for the car (160 GTQ), which is only possible in the village, which is 20 minutes away by foot OR for an additional fee of 30 GTQ in the wooden crate next door (oh, what?!). We decide for the more comfortable way, get a little clarion for Baloo's windshield and it says "Listo! All in all we enter Guatemala quickly and smoothly.