Final Guatemala Thoughts (And Miscellaneous Photographs)

Many people from our group were concerned about bedbugs, but I never had a problem… except for our first night in Guatemala City (not pictured; this hotel room was in Coban). I woke up in the middle of the night with crazy itches all over my body, but, in the morning, I didn’t have a bite on me. I think I had psychosomatic bedbugs.

The woman in the center (her name is Brenda) fed us SO MUCH FOOD During our stay in Coban. Eggs and beans. Fried plantains With cream. Lemongrass tea with cinnamon. One day, she fed us this slow-cooked chicken with rice. The chicken had marinated in orange juice – fresh squeezed, nonetheless. And she did it all by hand. It took seventy-five oranges to make enough for everyone. She must have a grip like a trash compactor.

I don’t know whose job it is to oversee rural road maintenance, but they deserve a raise. Sure, it may look like they’re not doing their job, but some jobs just need someone to take the blame when things go wrong, and that seems to be a thing that happens a lot here. Poor guy.

Okay, so everyone in my group was, like, obsessed with this plant during one of our rest stops. Apparently, it, like, folds up when you touch it or something. But, yeah, they all went nuts for it. So now here’s a picture for you to go nuts over.

So here’s another thing I never got used to. We visited all these people, and then when we were done singing, we immediately busted out our cameras and started taking pictures of everything in their houses. To me, this just felt incredibly invasive… although we should all know by now that I have issues.

One of my friends, an avowed Disneyphile, asked me to bring her a souvenir. The minute I saw this bootleg Frozen doll, I knew this was it. And that was before I read the poem on the side (all grammatical errors faithfully replicated): 

I have a lovely doll,
his name is “small cute”.
She has a pair of big eyes,
round face,
A cherry small mouth,
long legs,

Another E.E. Cummings classic, no?

So there’s nothing quite like walking through a crowded market in Teleman while dozens of strands of musical Christmas lights play every note of “Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer” simultaneously, and then you accidentally elbow an 80-year old woman in the face.

So yeah, bugs here sure are different.

This one is about as big and long as my thumb. I named him “Nopenopenopenopenope!”

Of all the towns we visited, I think Senahu was my favorite. It’s a tiny place (probably only a couple of city blocks large) and the power went out pretty regularly… and the power went out regularly… and the hotel smelled like mildew… and there was no hot water… At least it was scenic?

I took next to no pictures the last couple of days, because a) I got sicker than a Don Rickles burn and b) I finally realized that we had a professional photographer with a professional photograph-maker thingie following us everywhere we went, so what was I with my iPad and remedial sense of composition trying to accomplish.

The Guatemala trip was incredible – one of those real “What the cuss have I been doing with my life” experiences. I spent a lot of time with fantastic people, some of whom made me realize I’m not nearly as smart as I think I am, while others made me realize I’m not nearly as kind as I should like to be. In short, I’ve got some work to do on myself before the next time I take a trip abroad.

I hope it doesn’t take me ten years before I try this again.

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