…ALL DID NOT GO WELL!!
After driving through the crazy busy border town and checking out of Gautemala- via customs and immigration- we drove the 4 kilometers through no-man’s land to the Mexican border, where immigration stamped us in, and CUSTOMS WOULD NOT.
The man at customs said that our documents were not good, took pics of them to send to his boss, called and confirmed that we could not pass without the ORIGINAL registration IN MY NAME – meaning weeks of corresponding with CANADA and then waiting for a piece of mail from Canada to Guatemala!!!
We left very upset thinking our trip might be over. We found a shady place to park, which wasn’t easy, but necessary for our MALE (we just learned that today) pet turtle. Had lunch at a sweaty little blue walled, fly infested comedor, which was actually delicious, and frustratedly discussed our options.
We decided, well I suggested, and Gauthier decided and executed, the idea of forging false documents. So he went to an internet cafe and scanned copies of the old registration and created a new registration with only my name, not Chris’ (the Austrian man from whom we bought the van in Panama). I tore and dirtied the false papers in hopes of making them look more authentic.
We learned that the shifts at customs had changed for the day and so decided to try out our new documents right away. I went in with the papers and the new guy working saw right away that I had been there earlier, he compared the photos that his colleague had taken with the papers I presented and confirmed that mine were copies, fake :’)
So our options were:
-try to drive through Mexico without getting stopped by the police- impossible
-go back to Guatemala and 1) sell the van 2) wait weeks and weeks for unlikely mail from Canada 3) fly home
So we did not do that. We instead entered Mexico illegally, and drove west, 4 hours through the night to the nearest and next border crossing to try our luck again with our fake registration. The roads were incredibly windy, with speed bumps every 5 minutes. The night sky glowed with stars and we anxiously hoped to cross no police. Bitty slept- I joined her for a few hours. The brakes stopped working just after Gauthier pulled over to check the fluids, so he had to wait for over an hour while the car cooled and we slept!
When we finally made it to the border it was well after midnight. A couple of guys informed us that customs was actually 45 minutes back the way we had come! Exhausted, we slept parked on the sidewalk outside of immigration. In the morning I confirmed with the officials where we needed to go to get the permiso to drive in their country. Huixla- so off we went.
We found the town, and a dozen people who didn’t know where or if there was a “Banjercito.” We even asked the police who told us we did not NEED any kind of permission to drive our foreign van. We drove circles around and through Huixla, not finding any kind of customs. FINALLY we found it, on the outside of the town. I took my faux registration to the window- HE SAID EVERYTHING LOOKED GOOD!- but we needed copies of everything- so back to Huixla we went. Copies-easy. ATM- not so much. We drove our big beautiful van through tiny roads lined with vendors vending and families swarming and shopping. After much asking, we found an ATM area, a glorious block of banks.
BUT MY CARD DID NOT WORK! After trying every one I sought out a phone cabina telephonic. I stood in a tiny concrete box to use the phone. And the sweatiest phone call of my life resulted in a working debit card!! So back to the customs station we went. And they let us pass! With a FAKE REGISTRATION!