The past 2 weeks have passed by surprisingly fast, though the hours seem to sometimes drag. Judging by reports online it appears that the virus hasn’t yet reached its peak in Central America, numbers are slowly but steadily climbing & how accurate they are is unknown. With so much time on our hands we often question how long we should stay, or if we should head home. We’ve been here a month and it’s looking like we could well be here for another, it could be months before the borders reopen and perhaps longer before the welcome mat is rolled out again to travellers. One piece of good news, our travel time restrictions are now lifted as Tim’s client has delayed building.
It’s been an interesting time around camp from a social perspective, more people have managed to get flights home, so our community has shrunk further, we are now just 16 Overlanders and a handful of those who came for a couple of months. I don’t think the Covid-19 is the only illness out there, we seem to be experiencing our own, lesser known affliction, the ‘Nondrivus’ a nasty condition that affects the Overlanding community when they are unable to drive at will. Symptoms appear to vary, but after a period of 2-3 weeks we are seeing acute signs of boredom, agitation, lethargy, excessive alcohol consumption and bad instrument playing, lol. With everyday being the same as the last, it’s not surprising for people to go a little stir crazy, generally people don’t do well with this much boredom. I keep telling myself that it’s just temporary, the rest of the world is struggling with the same restrictions. Self discipline, routine & exercise is key, I’ll get on to the exercise component tomorrow. It’s all too easy to fall into the wormhole of the internet. There is talk around camp again of heading into Mexico, a convoy of 5 vans and some continuing on to the USA & Canada…..Do we join them? Weighing out the pro’s & con’s there is no easy answer. We have all planned this trip for a long time, saved hard, sold or rented houses, some have liquidated everything. Three have shipped vehicles across from Europe so retreat isn’t really an option for them either. For me this has been a 15 year dream and I’m just not ready to turn around…..not yet anyway.
Our concerns for our safety here have subsided, for now our peaceful village is still just that, people are doing their best to continue on with life from behind the mask. We haven’t heard of any troubles getting to the border which is just 4 hrs from here, a letter of health and permission to travel from the consulate is required. There is still plenty of food in the village, meat is a little more difficult to get, but the prices have increased.
Reading other travellers reports of what it’s like down in Peru, Chile & Argentina, I’m truly grateful that we are here. All public places are closed, campgrounds and hostels are also closed, forcing Overlanders out of their safe places. Travellers are being blamed for bringing the virus to their country or village, reporting they’ve been treated with open hostility, some vehicles have had rocks thrown at them. Labeled the ‘White, disease carrying devil’. If this sentiment remains, we won’t risk driving further South.
Tim has set up the sunshade & created a workspace for himself at the camper. He’s put the globe sticker on the back of the truck for me. Has cleaned one bike a day & given them a bit of a tune up. Yesterday he took apart the chainsaw, cleaned and sharpened the chain. Today he installed the fire extinguishers.
The kids are doing well, we’ve had to adjust our days and implement a more regimented routine, which they responded to instantly. They were getting a little out of control, running wild and not listening to us & as a result it’s started causing tension in the house. Not only ignoring us, but Dad & Jen too, one night, I walked in to catch the tail end of Dad sternly scolding them, an instant flashback to my childhood, ugh. Apparently the kids had ignored Jen’s request 3 times & told Dad to go away & shut the door! Putting 2 shaken kids to bed, wracked with guilt I knew this was my fault not theirs. Like a spinning compass, they were lacking the direction & structure needed in the day. Coping with our own boredom we’ve been a little absent. So now after 1st breakfast we both sit down with the kids and do 1-2 hrs of school work, if any computer time is had during the day it’s Spelling City, Reading Eggs or Rosetta Stone for Spanish.
Easter! Charley woke at 5am to begin searching the house for eggs. I explained the bunny wasn’t coming this year because of the virus, devastated she went back to bed, 5am was just too early to be waking. But…the Easter Bunny did come, and hid all sorts of goodies & treats around the trucks. At 7am, with their home made baskets the kids were out hunting & had a blast finding them all. After lunch we handed out fresh baked cookies & banana bread, that night we gathered for a delicious potluck dinner.
Over the Easter week the President of Guatemala called for a total lockdown. The day before we paddled to the village and stocked up on staples, that afternoon the vege truck arrived on the property, look at all the beautiful We stocked up and filled the fridge. This basket cost me $18, that includes the deliver fee and inflated gringo price.
The lake is off limits as per government ruling, another lock in place to make sure we don’t brake the rules. Pierre has opened the pool for us which is huge as the kids love being in the water. It’s a big motivator for them to get their school work done so they can meet their friends in the pool.
Boredom has us looking for new ways to amuse ourselves, the other day we fooled around on the lawn making human letters, Josh & Phil had their drones taking photos & making a mini film clip. One of the other campers has a projector, so we have movie with popcorn nights under the stars. Dad & Jen have hosted a couple of quiz nights and tomorrow we are having a pancake breakfast for Tara’s farewell.
The Covid-19 case numbers are climbing, as I write this, 19/4, Guatemala now has 250 cases with 7 deaths. The USA, who always likes to be at the top of any list, has a staggering 740,151 cases, 39,068 deaths!! Trump sure has dropped the ball on this one. Canada has 33,383 cases with 1,470 deaths. Guatemala being a developing country, it’s hard to say how accurate these numbers are, I’m sure they aren’t testing like they are back home. This mornings headlines declare we are heading for times akin to the Great Depression. Trump is finger pointing at others, blaming the WHO & cut funding. How far can this go? I suspect the virus will be around for many months to come, a vaccine will relieve the pressure, but it’s going to take a very long time till there is a new normal, whatever that may look like.