I’ve been extremely fortunate in my journeys, especially in the sense of who I’ve met. The people have been my objective and I haven’t let anything stop me from being sociable. This probably doesn’t surprise you, yah I’m an extrovert; that doesn’t mean it’s easy for us. Hurdles include insecurity, language barriers, sickness and different views of life. Opening your heart can bring lots of good things, but sometimes the neat stuff just drops in your lap.
Let’s start with my plane ride.
1. score two different flights with middle seat empty, including my flight into Guatemala (which was “full”) #bigguywins
not only that, but the lady on the second flight had the same sickness and we took care of each other and shared medicine.
2. Get off the plane sick as a dog, give money to first van I see, sit down, nearly asleep. A kind man named Eric comes to me in the van “hey man, this bus won’t leave for 3 hours (they told me 25 minutes), come grab a cab with me for 4 Q more (next to nothing) for a direct drive to Antigua” me: “huh, what, ok.”
Eric is sociable too. Score one for MarkDee (his spanish is excellent also). I snooze and listen partially as Eric explores the life of a Taxi driver and the economics - there seems to be none - to the business. We never did figure out how his gas can cost more than he makes a day and he’s still doing it. We tipped well, but not more because of the talk. I’m already picking up the conversation, but too sick to appreciate it.
My good friend Dave has explained there is a great Hostel near a McDonald’s in Antigua, Eric and I are on the same page. I get a room that’s cheap, really cheap, in which I can wallow. Eric takes care of the front desk, my first set of questions and checks in on me after a long nap, too see if I’m ok.
Is this traveller’s solidarity, or is Eric just awesome…? Both?!
We’re staying at Pasado Refugio - at the time I can only imagine what it means, but it feels appropriate.
I sleep and then I sleep. I sleep some more and it’s now dark (it’s the next day) man I’m sick, Eric’s not around, I don’t know the language, it’s dark out and holy mac(donald’s?)aroni I’m hungry. I go to McDonald’s it’s directly across the road and hey, what’s that, someone speaks English (but you don’t need it to order a big mac). They also have wifi so I can feel less like I’m in a foreign place.. Do internet stuff, take this picture, eat.. and sleep more
New day, not recovered, but good enough to explore. I’m slightly familiar with the city and I just go for a walk. It’s not till later that I meet up with Eric and we explore options for eating. He takes me to a pharmacy, where I’m asked to cough (something comes up) and BAM! I have antibiotics. We sit in the city square and scope out other folks walking around.
We meet these two. Similar to the first 8 people I met, their names have evaded me. But I’ve added them to the list of lovers and other strangers for a few different reasons. One, they were really kind hearted and sweet. They talked with us for an hour in Spanish, English and Hebrew (with Eric, silly, not me).
Two: They are just finishing the exact same trip that I am embarking on, had lots of good advice and completely changed my outlook. They are just ending in Gautemala instead of starting in it.
Three: They just finished living in Vancouver! Temporarily had jobs in Vancouver while travelling and were there just before they left.
You could tell these two were madly in love. They had both served in the military and were now embracing life to the fullest. moving.
The last stranger in this post, is a man I met in a bar in Antigua. This was after the meds; but I still only had one drink. No Caesars so a Michelada was substituted.
At La Taverna all the X-pats who were just coming to Guatemala for a visit and ended up staying (this seems to be a common story) gathered daily to talk old politics, the troubles with North America and the mild struggles of living in Guat. I met some good chums at this bar, including the owner who was a great guy and his loverly lady who made the best damn bloody mary in town.
But this is about my new favourite person, Mark. I overheard him talking to the bartender and coaching her on the drink she had made. It was a Bloody Mary. “Just a bit too much horseradish, this time”
what’s this? a high maintenance Bloody Mary.. I’m intrigued.
This Mark was from the U.S of A and didn’t know the joys of Caesars. BUT he loved bloody mary’s so much he carried around his own spice in his bag. Sound familiar? I had to take a snap shot and I showed him my Caesar blog. He thought it was awesome and then I shared a michelada with him. Pretty cool little coincidence.
There’s my first Guatemal story, I’ll visit this city one more time before writing about my next destination. Here are some cool shots of the city. Enjoy.
There was a radio program I listened to when I was in my teens. It was a bit of a ritual for me and a few friends, as we´d head off to a regular Wednesday night event. It was about human connection, usually with an undertone of romanticism or sexuality, but also in a general context of connectivity between two people. Don Jackson was the host of this program named “Lovers and Other Stranger”. I’ve decided to subname this blog the same for now. I do not mean lovers in the sexual context, but those that can be related to, who show kindness or are of in need of love - who may give love. There is definitely a romanticism to travelling and exotic locations, but that´s not to say every connection or interaction is this way. This trip is about connecting with people in different places, different situations and with different frames of mind. It’s about connecting with myself, exploring my paradigms and perhaps your own, dear reader. If there is something I hope to achieve with what I write here; it will be to explore the connections we make, how we make them and the reasons we limit ourselves in these connections.
This will be, of course, through my own filter, projections and ideals. I will often use the phrase “just remember” and for those that are not familiar with my ‘system’ to keep calm and in the moment; you can read this article from a few years ago
But I will introduce you to the Lovers and other strangers that I meet and perhaps you will find that you know a few yourself.
…what no updates on what’s happened? no pictures?
Ok Ok I hear you. Here’s some pics to keep you happy :)
^The first day in Antigua, I hit the market. I was really busy all day (Wednesday) but it was way worse on Saturday…
^The view from my front door (of the $6 dollar a night room)
You’ve probably seen the tv hit series 24. You were either hooked on it, or know someone who was. I’m no special agent, but I feel like the intense moments of the last few days have made me feel like a proverbial Jack Bauer. If my extreme lung infection could be compared to the sinister terrorist cells of the show and my friends and family the collaborative agencies all out to get one goal accomplished - with in a time limit - then my fantastical comparison could be stretched to be so.
I left Vancouver on February 18th at 16:00 hours with a count down to pack and throw away my entire life occurring weeks before. As per my usual MO, I had left much to the last minute, but was being bestowed with some very lucky occurrences. First of all, if you need garbage removal, I can not say enough about the customer service at TidyTrailers.com . Fast, affordable and great customer service. If you get a trailer (versus a bin) they will hand sort your stuff and do donations and such. I had a surprising amount of offers to help with the packing of my home, thanks to those that offered and those that helped. Dad, sorry about what’s left.
I woke up two days before my flight with a heavy dry hack and thought nothing of it, I’ve been fortunate to not be sick this season. I pushed through the days of packing, sorting and tossing.
But I had lost my passport?! What the hell? I had been out getting vaccines the day before I left (which I left to the last minute) and when at the Pharmacy, had left them on a shelf. Going nuts at this point, but alas, it was there in the morning.
The day before I was to leave, I was wasted. Extremely tired and exhausted, but still able to function. Dave and Matt had dropped by to put a solid bit of work in at the apartment and things were moving along fairly well considering.
The day of departure came and I was sick as a dog, Pappa D and I discussed at length about changing the flight. What a way to start this adventure.
I decided to push through. I said my good-byes which were harder than I suspected and Josh gave me a ride to the airport. I was off.
and my initial post is finished for now. I’m having photo upload issues, so I’ll be posting more regularly when I figure out a good routine for that. Also not feeling so hot, means I don’t feel like being in an internet cafe at the moment.
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