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54# Crossing borders on 4/20

Updated: Sep 4, 2021

While Alan Boiton ordered the car parts, Marco and I visited the northern part of Guatemala. The colectivo was packed. I crammed my long limbs between the driver and a tall German. My shins hit the dashboard at every bump. The ride was going to be hot, confined, and painful.

At the first stop, I told the driver I had claustrophobia and might throw up inside. That convinced him to let me jump on the roof. It was intense and exciting. Safety lied in the strength of my grip. I cracked my beer and enjoyed the rush. Adrenaline tasted like a cold beer with a pinch of lime.

A cop pulled us over. That ended the fun with a brutal reality-check. The recent adventures made us forget our situation. When we crossed the border to Guatemala a week before, we had some unexpected trouble. We entered Guatemala by car as tourists; except we had no visa, no car permit, no insurance…and a big stash of weed.

We had to return to Coban to fix the car, then drive to the border to stamp our passports. Diesel in Latin America is dirtier than in Canada and my delicate princess didn't like that. Alan Boiton had replaced the diesel filter but would not drive La Chichona. "That is your responsibility", he said. I was anxious to see the result. I pressed on the pedal and La Chichona roared like an angry tiger. Game on.

The next day, Alan Boiton's team fixed all the broken parts and revised everything. The bill was fair. I was happy to have trusted him and proven Marco wrong. Three months before, five Argentinians travelling in a bus had a similar issue. They had stayed in his garage for three weeks, until their bus was ready. My intuition was right. Alan Boiton liked travellers. Gracias Don Alan.

We left that same afternoon for the border. La Chichona climbed the surrounding mountain without any problems. It took us an hour and a half, instead of six hours the first time. I pressed the pedal and felt the power, as if La Chichona deemed us worthy again.

We still had a full day through the mountains before the Mexico-Guatemala border of La Mesía. We planned to cross the border on the 20th of April. We started at dawn, cruising on the sinuous and empty road along mountains and cliffs. Marco honored the day with a joint at 8am, and the adventure started.

Driving high feels like a video game, where you win points by staying on the line. Laser-focused, I drew the perfect curve on every turn, smoothly balancing between engine power and inertia. Mind on the white line; body relaxed. The drive was serene, distant, timeless.

We stopped 30min from the border to hide the stash in the bushes. Inaccuracy is out of the question when it comes to that. We found the perfect spot, pinned it on google maps, aligned the location with three big rocks, and made sure to find it in the dark. A reward was awaiting us on the way back.

As expected with customs, it took longer than it should have. We were slow, high, and still more efficient that the fat and sweaty guy behind the desk. He stamped our passport. Marco checked and found out the guy made a mistake on the date. He had one job! We were still in their office when the fateful 4:20 hit—too bad.

Three hours later, we re-entered Guatemala with a newfound freedom. We had a running vehicle, a 90-day visa, the money from the Mexican car deposit, and a new car permit for Guatelama. We stopped to collect our reward and drove on.

The wind felt fresh and liberating after the confined colectivo. We only appreciated having La Chichona after she broke down. The same was true for everything else: visa, car papers, and ganja. 4/20 brought gratefulness into our lives.

Next was the Pacific coast. According to bloggers, the town of Champerico had the best left point-break wave in the country. Time for surfing.


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Looking forward to reading all about your adventures, Ras! xoxo

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