Birthday surprise!

San Pedro La Laguna Travel Blog

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Birthday surprise!

Saturday morning while running my usual footpath out of San Pedro toward a tiny coffee farm -- its stone huts and giant concrete clearing for trying harvested beans alien interruptions in the volcano-base jungle growth, the jagged path an imperceptible scar of humanity cutting through the vegetation, winding the hills above the shores of Lake Atitlàn -- I passed a peculiar sight: a middle-aged man, whom I've passed before and whose vacant eyes never register our encounters, was trudging though the dirt toward town. A taut string ran from his right hand, his dangling right arm trailing his body ever so slightly, leading a handfashioned wooden dumptruck loaded with mandarin sized rocks. Five hours later we crossed paths again in San Pedro's center, the dumptruck still in town, clattering over cobblestones, having emptied its load, the man's eyes downcast as he muttered to himself (perhaps about the presumably incredibly slow progress of whatever construction project he's undertaken). Where he materializes from and where he goes I've yet to discover, but he was wearing clothes so I assume somebody is looking out for him. (Or maybe the listless wanderer was just shellshocked from the daily and nightly firework bombardments that keep Guatemalan skies filled with flashes, pops and booms reverberating through alleyways. Usually I can't identify any particular occasion, so maybe some Guatemalans just enjoy preserving, reliving their war-marred recent history?)

Midafternoon I was summoned downstairs for a birthday cake five days early, Mama Meli having mistaken the dates. Which is better, actually, because she'll be in the capital on the 18th, so I got to hug and thank her in person. The carrot cake -- unfrosted yellow cake interspersed with carrot shavings -- reminds me that even though I'm having at least as much fun as (The return of Choose Your Own Analogy!):
a) (before bedtime) at Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch...

b) ...the pleasantly mentally handicapped for whom smiling and giggling are as involuntary as heartbeats...
...there's no substitute for Mom's homecooking (and Dad's twice-yearly homemade pizzas) and my family and friends freezing back home.
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