In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age
of 38. Now, into their 4th 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
relaxing seven days of beaching, body surfing and eating lobster and shrimp
seafood dinners on the Pacific shores of
Salvador, we decided to spoil
ourselves and pay twice the price for our return to
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!
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
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 ½
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
It was at this point that the driver discovered we had
TWO flat tires! Two flats, one spare and the math wasn’t
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
waiting-and-repair and the natives are getting restless. All of the tires are
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
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
Eventually we arrived in
Antigua at 9:30 AM the following morning making this six hour trip a 22 hour
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,
About the Authors
Early Lifestyle appeals to a different
kind of person – the person who prizes their
independence, values their
time, and who doesn’t want to mindlessly
follow the crowd.