October 23, 2014
... I had chosen a slightly altered route than coming down. Including crossing different border check points. Just to keep it...well, adventurous. That plan backfired on me at the border from Panama to Costa Rica. But, I didn't really anticipate any further problems at any of the checkpoints, I was about to cross.
I arrived at Aqua Calientes. Nice and early, get of lot of riding in today. Great. Check-out process, Immigration, Aduana, quick and efficient. Nice. Then I ride about 3 Kilometers to the Guatemala check point. Stamp in my passport at Immigrations. Super fast. Aduana window right across, same building. Convenient.
Customs officer checks my paperwork. He noticed that my Temp Vehicle Import permit had been canceled, when I exited Guatemala on my way to El Salvador earlier. "Ok, no big deal, issue me a new one", I am thinking. No can do. "Once it has been canceled, a new one can only be issued after 90 days", he explained to me in English. WHAT??? Nobody told me that I should maybe NOT cancel, just suspend it. Seems to be a BIG issue now, isn't it?
But conveniently, we have a guy who can issue you a "TO". What's "TO"? A paper that will get your bike in to Guatemala. No shit. How much? US$ 200. Credit Card? Cash! Are you kidding? Other options? Nope.
I had absolutely zero choice. It takes the guy forever to write this so important piece of paper. On top of that, the computer system went down for close to 2 hours (I think, he told me that, because he actually went on break. I didn't care at this point). I needed to get on the road! My early start that morning had just melted away. Damn!!!
After about 4 hours, I finally got on the road, with the forms and specific instructions where to cross the border in to Mexico. And, to email back a copy of the "TO" with the "Cancel" stamp. I don't really have time for that. But...ok, will do.
It all seemed a bit strange to me. I didn't care at that point. I had enough of this place.
I put the border check point behind me as quickly as I could and headed for Tecum Uman, the most southerly border checkpoint in to Mexico. As instructed...