The consequences of faking premeal prayer by mumbling Spanish sounding gibberish

San Pedro La Laguna Travel Blog

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The consequences of faking premeal prayer by mumbling Spanish sounding gibberish

A booming voice startled me from sleep before 5am this morning, eulogizing the dead while locals from all corners of San Pedro slowly converged upon the source. Monologues and sessions of song successively surged through the distant loudspeakers, adjacent the cemetary, commencing el Dia de los Muertos. Shortly, a string of explosions jolted from my dreams any final prayer for sleep, bombas launched heavenward to stir any stubborn soul or diety whose Saturday night acquaintence with Quezalteca Especial was a touch too spirited.

Acquiescing to consciousness, I performed my near daily routine of situps and pushups before I was hailed downstairs for family breakfast, a delicious Sunday spread of carbs: pan de banano, pan de elote y huisquil, a green starch vegetable dispensed by tree in-yard, featured prominently in our diet of sopas, sopes, and today served solo, peeled and boiled. The pan de elote was exceptional, rivaling the subtly sweet perfection of my mom's corn muffins and the complimentary baskets served steaming at my favorite soul food outposts. The pan de banano was delicious too, but I have yet to find a loaf in Central America that approaches mom's. Huisquil is similar to a green potato, better as an ingredient or with accompaniment.

Yesterday was my first hanging solo with Guatemaltecos outside my homestay family. Early in the morning I speed-hiked a mountain in neighboring San Juan La Laguna, to Mirador Rostro Maya. The middle-aged father of my language school's coordinator was my climb partner, his respect earned after I dictated the speedy completion of the demanding climb circuit in record setting time. Sore quads and megabytes of photos survive as memories from the up and down workout.

In the afternoon Chema, the twenty-six year old coordinator at Corazón Maya language school, invited me to backseat on his moto while we powered uphill past town to San Pedro La Laguna's campo de futbol, an officially-sized and lined megasandbox. We watched parts of two league games, action-enveloping duststorms spawning from frantic footwork following scattershot toeballs crossfield. At night -- after I strolled through the raucous bewreathed and candlelit cemetary, escaping the circus of special occasion street vendors sandwiching the entranceway with just one Q$3 hunk of pan -- I joined Chema and his wife for sloppy hoops action at its finest: a señoras versus señoritas debacle on the municipality's new cancha de basquetbol, every whistle signaling a chaotic surge of youth sprinting and screaming and hoisting errant shots with an assortment of balls all over the court, often a scramble that ignored the referees' imploring whistles and returning jugadoras, lingering into the resumption of league play, amusing spectators by further confusing the action.

Afterward our trio parked on tienda steps while Chema and I fended the cold with lukewarm canned pints of Gallo. On the walk home I won the alleyway adventurer's award of spanish practice with two long-celebrating Guatemaltecos, a more or less coherent conversation that the sloppier-drunk of the two kept redirecting to martial arts with flatpalmed convergences of hand held centerchest preceding the signature half-bow, that he could summon his eyelids only halfmoon and his slurred speech I could imagine as any language completed the effect. Fifteen minutes and thanks but no thanks to offers for weed and the opportunity to buy the pair more drinks later, "Hasta luego," signaled the day's final ascent: to bed.
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