My plane is taking off tomorrow night for Guatemala. Last night I found the Guatemalan US Embassy’s just-issued warning that says the road we need to get to the area where we’re staying is closed for the rest of the year.
The US Embassy in Guatemala City has learned that the road from the Department of Solola down to Panajachel (Lake Atitlan) will be closed from now until the end of the year in order to permit dynamiting and the construction of a new road.
Other routes to Panajachel either by road or boat involve taking unnecessary risk due to banditry lack of infrastructure and cell phone coverage, and hazard prone stretches.
The US Embassy strongly recommends that visits to the lake be deferred until construction of the new road is completed. Travelers should limit non-essential travel to the lake during the holiday season due to the likelihood of increased criminality.
This is not how you want to start a Friday night with nothing but you and the Internet in front of you.
I’ve sent a number of emails, one phone call, and a near all-caps text message to my travel companions, but nobody has responded yet. I’ve gone through many stages of freaking out since last night, ultimately reaching the point where I’m just going to have to hope someone contacts me back, and if not I make sure that I remember the info on this website, and periodically remind myself that the people taking me on this trip have gone to Haiti and Afghanistan and all kinds of places that are way more dangerous than this one. I have to assume they’ve read the news and figured, “It’s just a closed road.”
But I was alone with the Internet, and did a good job freaking myself out. Today I’m a bit calmer about it, even though I haven’t heard from anyone. Or at least, that’s what I keep telling myself.
Hopefully I’ll hear from someone soon, and they will let me know that the office in Guatemala already knew all about this and that’s why we’ve got a plan firmly in place. Those are the words I’d like to hear before I get on a plane tomorrow night.