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October 1999

Hits 1652 | Created 1999-10-01 | Modified 2007-05-24

Journal extracts from October 1999 - travels in Guatemala


Antigua, Guatemala.

The date? Lordy, who could say. It's Saturday, about a week later.

My food was eaten by ants, but no matter. Up early in the pouring rain, and took a collectivo to the border at Talisman. Got soundly ripped off for $50 US with a money changing scam, but no matter. Got charged for entering Guatemala, which no-one else is, but again, no matter. Once in Guat, a thousand children tugged at my clothes and taxi drivers appeared everywhere. I jumped into a collectivo and drove for an hour into the unknown. I was dropped in a small town, with no buses to be seen.
Guatemala is chaotic in an almost Asian way. I wandered through the market and eventually found thr main square where a one-legged boy assured me that there would be a bus soon. It was still pouring with rain. There was a bus, about 4 for six hours travel. Uneventuful.
Guatemala city wasn't as bad as I'd expected, but I did only stay for 15 minutes. In the chaos I found a bus for Antigua, and got here at about 2pm.

Am staying in La Sala on Calle 2. Q18 per night, or 1.80. Since arriving have been drinking solidly every evening. There are happy hours all around the beautiful colonial town, selling double of Gin or Cuba Libres for Q2, yes, 20p. A table containing 40 Cuba Libres is not unusual. Rather crazy nights.
Yuri, Maya, Ina, Laura, Norma, Ollie, Henry, Rob, Charlie, Gus, Gillie, Carla. The list goes on, and changes daily. Bed hopping, vomiting Guatemalans, toothless crones, hitching, armed guards in the bars, drunken haze.
Away from Hedonism, I have completed a week of Spanish school. $70 US per week, for 20 hours 1:1 per week. May brain protests at the work after so long out of school. Good though. My Espanol is now very bad, and not simply shite.

Anne arrives in three weeks. Am now living on credit, with $120 US in emergency money. Spending 100 per week here, including school.

Missed an earthquake in Oaxaca (7.4) by two days. Large amounts of Mexico and Guatemala are flooded due to endless rain. 150 dead in a train crash in England, 10th planet discovered in our solar system, but it is not yet names. Large nuclear accident in Japan. The year 2000 looms.

Antigua, Guatemala.

What's up? Robbed at knifepoint (did I already tell you this?) down a dark street when I was walking Carolina to her hotel. Lost no money, but she lost 15Q. Also went to the Lake Atitlan for a couple of days break - very beautiful. Many chicken buses and much confusion was had by all. Am working in La Sala now. Have English teaching work in two weeks too. Annie arrived tomorrow, so I'm off on a tour of Guatemala and Honduras for two weeks then. Other than this, it's the usual round of drinking and debauchery.
Let's see, there's Don, Clint and Petri from Canada, who are driving their surfboards to Costa Rica and tattooing on the way. Ariel , the Isaeli who lives for self gratification (who doesn't?), Gary, the Irish nice guy, Daniel, Michael and Russ from Oaxaca, Mr Ed and crusty Christie from the US. And of course, good old Jesper, who I'm going to hithc to Nepal with, if all goes well...
I've had a haircut and bought a smashing red coat. My Espanol is mejor, pero no perfecto. Having a blast generally. It's hot as hell, and I'm sitting on the roof of La Sala.

Oh, I also now have a rather nice Quetzal-shaped scar on my forehead from a nasty incident involving me and a window, which they seem to insist on building at gringo head height, sticking out from the walls...





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