Leaving the Lake Life (for a moment)
San Pedro La Laguna Travel Blog› entry 19 of 36 › view all entries
November 22nd, 2008 – by: mrpibba
I'm going to log a few more checkmarks in the tourist ledger before I arrive in Aruba next Wednesday: Chichicastenango and Guate, la Capital, where, even if I get robbed six times in two days like the statistics predict, I'm still going to have a Q$50 bill stashed beneath my insole with which to indulge the gods of high metabolism at Patsy, a chain of Guatemalan pastelerias.
My spanish is progressing faster than the digested tortilla-paste tube through my intestines, which means that I can now name a few more doughy foods I've tasted and then rub my belly and nod my head enthusiastically, repeating "muy" for upwards of a minute and then concluding the imposter oraciòn with "rica." If I'm feeling especially authentic I might skip the foreplay and just drop "¡Calidad!" Speaking of, the most recent additions to my international foods digest include chuchitos: balls of masa, oil, and salt, the same mixture from which tortillas are spanked into shape, filled with a spiced tomato salsa and chunks of chicken; and extra-crisped tortillas filled with a simple black bean paste, almost a Salvadoran papusa. Simple and exquisite.
And, after a few confidence-crushing attempted-conversations marred by sudden onset inability to form, much less string, syllables, the last few days have been promising. I've been visiting my 22-year-old teacher in the popular 'Teco night hour pastime of doorstep conversation; and, no, I haven't changed instructors in my four weeks of study, even though I know exposure to different speech patterns and teaching methods would prove beneficial. I've been playfully conversing with groups of inquisitive youngsters all over town, in particular a gang of boys who ask for endless vocabulary translations from spanish to english and a group of shy, smiling maybe 10-year-old girls from whom I buy grilled bananas sprinkled with sugar or homemade Chocobananos from their store-and-homefront alleyway-dustyard arrangement of closed-lidded pots clouded with steam and a sixpack sized cooler. Like the Guatemalan equivalent of American kids with lemonade stands. Except that lots of adults run juice stands in Central America, but fresh squeezed as opposed to lazy American kids and their from concentrate jugs.
The teens and adult-aged hoopers know me, most by name, and I've met a few of their sisters, who may or may not me married and/or with children. I caught a ¡Que guapo! from two cute and of-age 'Tecas while walking down on of my regular alleys the other night. I've also earned smiles and waves and playful accusations ("¡Eres mentiroso!") from the Sarita (Guatemala's Ben & Jerry's) ice cream attendant.
When I return to the third world from Arubian excess, I expect I'll make my way back to San Pedro shortly, maybe after a week of studies in Xela (Quetzaltenango), to study here at least a few more weeks, maybe longer. But I do, I promise, intend to keep traveling. Don't fret friends and family and cousins who plan to visit. I'm responsible enough to make sure a combination of cuties and ¡Que guapo!s and Quezalteca Especial don't strand me in San Pedro La Laguna with a Surprise! infant-anchor. Anyway, let's be honest: I can't settle in a town without the daily waking assurance of an available array of fruity goo-filled delicacies and icing-stacked layer cakes.
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