Retire Early Lifestyle
Retirement; like your parents, but way cooler

 
 

Retire Early Lifestyle Blog  Free Newsletter Subscribe/Contact Us

Advertise on RetireEarlyLifestyle.com info here

In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

A Six Hour Trip that Took 22 Hours

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

Mini-bus schedule

After a relaxing seven days of beaching, body surfing and eating lobster and shrimp seafood dinners on the Pacific shores of El Salvador, we decided to spoil ourselves and pay twice the price for our return to Guatemala. After our raucous ride getting to the beach we were craving a guaranteed seat, and we were told this trip would take 6-7 hours depending on time spent crossing the border. At noon in El Tunco, our beach town, a minivan would arrive and take us to the capital city of San Salvador where we would then board a 28 seat air-conditioned bus complete with Wifi.

It sounded like a great alternative to taking public transport with trying to squeeze 3 people into seats made for 2 and with no air-con. This was going to be relaxed luxury and we were looking forward to it.

 

We arrived at the pickup point early as was recommended by the staff, only to wait an additional two hours for the minivan to show up. Once passengers packed in, Billy sat in the forward passenger seat where a music video was blaring from the DVD player ensconced in the sun visor. So that it would no longer block his view, Billy touched the DVD player and the entire visor fell out and was now hanging by a cord! The driver only shrugged his shoulders and laughed as we headed for the capital.

At least we were finally on our way!

28 seater air conditioned van

We made it to the capitol without event and only had a short wait before our larger bus arrived. We piled in with the other passengers who had assembled at this meeting point. Although we were still 2 hours behind schedule, we settled in and got on the road back to Guatemala City but not before a beautiful Brazilian woman argued with the coordinator for 20 - 30 minutes. She said that she wanted to go on another bus, these seats were too uncomfortable, and she wanted her money back. Jason, the coordinator, told her she was a strong woman and could handle the ride, so with a pretty pout, she boarded the van. Due to this conversation we are now running two-and-a-half hours later.

The border crossing went well and once again we were making our way towards our final destination and with our delay we are now expecting to make Antigua by 9-10 PM. We had hotel reservations but they were expecting us at around 7PM. Day light turned to darkness and many of the 20 year old passengers were watching the onboard movie video while some were checking their email via the available Wifi. Everyone was anxious to get to Antigua. It had been a long day up to this point, especially for those passengers who had been on a bus since Nicaragua.

Then it happened.

Without warning, a rear tire blew on our Coaster van which had dually tires, and we immediately pulled onto the shoulder of the road. By now It was dark and we were 1 Ĺ hours outside of Guatemala City high in the mountains. The driver and his assistant struggled with the jack as everyone pilled out of the bus. Billy took control of deflecting traffic away from our location with his flashlight. Stranded on a mountain highway in Guatemala at night is not a good place to be and here we were with beautiful young women and all of our possessions, many of them prized digital gadgets. We were definitely a target for robbery... or worse.

The inexperienced young women only thought this was an inconvenience instead of realizing the serious situation we were in, and somehow seemed to get in the men's way and asked distracting questions.

It was at this point that the driver discovered we had TWO flat tires! Two flats, one spare and the math wasnít adding up. He put the spare in place and we headed back on the highway although a bit slowly and cautiously while looking for a gas station or some sort of tire shop where we could make repairs. It was getting later in the evening and shops were either closed or could not help us. The bus was now silent as people became concerned about our safety.

A pinchazo is a person who replaces the tires for you, and repairs the ones you have

We limped along the highway and found a tire shop and the repairs were started. Both flats were fixed, mounted and then it was discovered that we had yet another flat on the other side of the bus. This makes THREE flat tires! And one of them could not be fixed. It is now 10:00 PM and everyone is feeling the tension, fatigue and frustration, only to learn that the shop has no more inner tubes for this particular tire. Off go a couple of kids on a motorbike and about 20 minutes later a new tube arrives.

Meanwhile, Akaisha calls the hotel and tells them we should be there in a matter of a few hours, and that we still want our reservation honored.

A half an hour more of this waiting-and-repair and the natives are getting restless. All of the tires are fixed now except one and we have no spare to spare.

Do we stay or do we go?

Stranded overnight on a Guatemalan highway is not something recommended in the guide books! We cannot travel without a spare, yet some passengers were so frustrated with waiting that they just wanted to keep moving forward. Phone calls were made by Jason, the driver's assistant, to their office in San Salvador asking for guidance. For safety reasons, staying the night at the soon-to-be-closed tire shop was out of the question. We decided to drive on looking for anything open where we could take refuge until help arrived hours later.

We had 3 flat tires 1.5 hours outside Guatemala City

Then we saw it.

It was a highway hotel and most everyone was encouraging those in charge to inquire about rooms. The driver pulled in and learned there were only seven available rooms. While we waited for our overnight stay to be coordinated at the hotel, the valve stem in one of the new repairs blew out giving us no choice but to stay put. By now it is after eleven PM. Everyone is tired and wants to stay even if that means sleeping 3+ to a room, no matter the cost. Once again safety is the overriding factor and the assistant books the rooms. Some people cheered as they piled out of the minivan with only their necessities and rooms were divvied up.

We were told that the main office was sending a truck with five tires to make the repairs and we were to be ready to go by 6:00 AM the next morning.

 

The rooms only had 2 single beds, so mattresses were pulled off the box springs and set on the floor so everyone had a place to sleep. Drifting off to slumber seemed impossible after the buzz of the previous activities, but somehow the next thing we know the alarm set for the morning went off. Completing only the basics we were up and ready and the bus is good to go.

Apparently there were some passengers who had helped themselves to the fridge in their rooms, and money needed to be collected by our driver. Another wait as sleepy people rustled through pockets and purses for their bits of change.

This seemingly never-ending adventure found us crawling in early morning Guatemala City commute traffic. The bus is quiet and everyone is bleary eyed from such little sleep the night before.

Eventually we arrived in Antigua at 9:30 AM the following morning making this six hour trip a 22 hour ordeal. We were dropped off at the main plaza and made our way to the hotel just a block or so away.

This was an adventure we would rather not repeat and are happy to be alive and able to write about the experience. 

For more stories about El Salvador, click here

Free Newsletter, Subscribe here

About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurerís Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.

For more information about financial independence and travel, visit our book store

 

Sign up for great stories, interesting tales, and superb retirement information.

Contact Billy & Akaisha  TheGuide@RetireEarlyLifestyle.com

Advertise on RetireEarlyLifestyle.com contact Ad-Info@retireearlylifestyle.com
Over 1,400,000 visitors annually.

Billy and Akaisha continue to journal and photograph their world travels.

HOME   Book Store

 

Retire Early Lifestyle Blog      About Billy & Akaisha Kaderli      Press     Contact     20 Questions     Preferred Links     Retirement     Country Info    
Retiree Interviews
      Commentary     REL Videos