It is around 9:45, and I am perched on the edge of a bus seat, two fellow passengers to my left and three to my right. Thushan and I are on a “chicken bus”—an exciting term for what actually amounts to a yellow school bus that occasionally also transports live chicken, but even then, usually on the roof—headed to Guatemala City from Panajachel, a lake town that has volcanoes like New Zealand has sheep.
Late for our connecting bus to El Salvador, we’re somewhere in the mountains north of the city and it’s foggy, or maybe cloudy. Either way, there is about three feet of visibility, and our driver decides to pull one of the usual bus driver moves here: passing in a no passing zone. Even under normal conditions, this can be quite nerve wracking, given that it’s usually done at unsafe speeds on mountain cliffs, but I generally give them the benefit of the doubt since they act like they know what they are doing. In this case, however, I truly think I might die. (more…)