Leaving Guatemala- made friends, and all the same stuff that makes travel interesting.

Guatemala Travel Blog

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Learning Spanish now, actually though butchering reflectivos, conjunctivos and all basic grammar rules I can ask for things, make my point clearly and create a good laugh. I figure to give the lessons some time to grow before headin out into the real world. Though Xela, Guatemala is polluted from plumes of black exhaust- the grain alcohol they use in their motercycles, tuk tuks, collectivos,buses- there are endless Espanal Escuelas here and Volunteer groups for all villages are based in Xela. Told a girl ‘she could volunteer to carry my backpack.’ Another ‘volunteer to buy me a beer.’  I went to a school/homestay the first 7 days, 5 hours a day for 5 days, homestay incld 3 meals a day, 1 week for 1300Q. Maybe cost $150. Not bad, I got some Spanish.

I am using a neighbors’ private tutor for 20Q an hour, plus a school and staying on the homestay paying mom 350Q per week (the school only gave her 300Q/charged me 500Q). Some families make the foreigner grovel at a bowl near the legs of the table, measure out the water for a shower, lights out at 8pm. But mine, I roll in the next day, another  and another, etc… the woman should be sainted! She worries about me, made me a steak for lunch the first day I didn’t come home til late morning. It was a bribe, the second time I was punished with hot peppers and laughter. But she gave me medicine when I had a little cold, talks to me and patient with my Spanish. Just an amazing little woman. My Spanish is shit but I can understand the newspaper, checking the vocabulary, go to restaurant without starving, answer some basic questions.

First night out in Xela. I made friends with the expat bar staff at the Pool and Beer. Talking smack and smoking outside with full beers, the staff and I are laughing when a woman signals me to sit next to her so I do. She can’t speak a word of English and my Spanish is shit so after 15 minutes she gets tired and tells her girlfriend to get the car. We’re  driving throughout the city I think cause every single street is a one way, we drive only 5 blocks. Streets in Guatemalan cities are very simple to understand- calle and avenue seperate the cardinal directions. In the morn, I understood she is a policewoman- hmmm…  She was older but you could definitely see why she was hired. Policewomen in Spanish speaking countries and Texas are eyecandy stunning.

In the morning she called her foreign friend having a fiesta that night and invited me by name! Can’t really hold it against someone for remembering your name.  Thinking ‘perfecto, mi hablo Espanal!’ By name...  Then she went to my school to ask about me, basic stalking tactics scare me.  Por supesto(of course)… couldn’t remember her name. One time I had to introduce a girl to my parents in the morning as “Hunnybunny, this my mom. Mom this is hunnybunny”. 

Into the 2nd week and had my first all night Spanish speaking dream! And a realization: Being rich is only an asset if your paying for it. Met a couple of Irishmen who’re lovin Guatemalan whorehouses in Xela. Here are two assets for the backpacker budget- charming and gentlemanly.

After making an English girl laugh, she turned me on to her dutch friend. Made her laugh, then mysteriously things turned coptic walking her home after the bar- shook her hand. It was the damnest non language moment ever (not smoking tea leaves). Hint, how much beer you can drink is never an asset. I think I need to learn: “Me llama es Michael and I am a recovering alcoholic”. There is a fine line drawn somewhere, just don't know where. But charm is never politically correct- if so you’re a douche- making people laugh is not wrong! I was raised by Tanukis’.  Fibbing is good if the story is surreal. Usually my stories have happy endings- Patience is a virtue. She will be traveling awhile in the same basic direction.

Met some Guatemalan guys who friended me my 2 weeks in Xela.

Foreign girls studying Spanish, fucking the locals seem to be a favorite of their travels and the quickest way to learn the lingo, especially the healthier girls but for the male students making friends is harder so I am truly blessed, psss... the secret is say Hola with a beer and a smile! Not so difficult. People are beautiful all over the world all it takes is respect. They took me to a BBQ out of Xela and invited me to a few parties in August that are’nt going to happen- antsy feet. But… they might road trip to see me in Nicaragua. All is good or Todas de bien. 

In the middle of all this fun, I was in a tempted mugging. Fuck all, one guy sees me happily buzzed and says gringo from behind, tries to kick me. Grab his foot and take him down, my leg comes off but I am on top hitting him well.

A guy walking toward us, I think pedestrian, jumps in and tags me good in the eye before I somewhat headlock the two. Worried about my leg, I say in English I’m going to let you up, I do and they run off. I got really lucky and left my leg with my wallet intact, a black eye for my troubles.

My last night, went to Pool and Beer saw Pat and Johnny to say good bye. Johnny has girls, treats me out- feelin the love. After bars close at 1am., the life is in the gay bars. He has his girl and his girl has two friends- they traded me, one to make the other jealous- all good fun in my life. They were strippers, another good story and we opened the door to bright sunlight. I went home and apologized to my host mother before departing for Chichiestanego with mi hermana- another dutch girl.

We went to some village festivals, one saw so many lovely colors of traditional dress- it was impressive. The other fest we were pawed on by the local drunks- walking dead on medicinal alcohol.  Huge problem in Guatemala is the rubbing alcoholic drunks. Then the largest market in Guatemala, called Chichicastenago that has potential if considering to export textiles.  Dutch girl was great to this point then went mad. We went to San Pedro and Antigua- two places only for blood letting. F’ing hate tourist traps. The locals jack the prices and create alittle Disney effect for the stupid white peoples money. I eat street food and ride chicken buses- the party is everywhere all you need to do is 'be'.

Went to Coban. Coban is great for nature lovers.

If I have to go through nature to get to my destination, all is good but otherwise I shrug my shoulders. Tikal is a Mayan complex ruin covering some 500sq. kms, the uncovered ruins can be covered in lush jungle some 6kms. and was cool cause of the canopy view on top of the highest temple and the weather wasn’t obscenely hot. Planeque and Chichen Itzu in Mexico are spelled wrong but were better as far as details and carvings.  

In Rio Dolce, staying on the lake before heading to Honduras.. Have a boat dock and owners from New Orleans are super chilled. Last night I had fun drinking, dirty dancing, kissing thus speaking Spanish with some lovely 21 yr. old girls from Guatemala City.  Very much like the dirt dancing element of Centro America. All these boat owners here come with stories, giving some heavy thought to buying a sailboat in the future.  Think a week here and gone to the islands.



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