Thursday, June 9, 2005

Buenos Dias Desde Guatemala

My flight arrived almost on time, which was nice, considering that it left 45 minutes late. I actually managed to sleep on the flight. "Sleep" is probably relative. I dozed for a few minutes, interrupted only by what I thought was the person behind me kicking my chair. It dawned on me at some point that it was actually turbulence I was experiencing. Then the smell of dinner, yes, DINNER being served after midnight roused me again. I wasn’t going to eat, but I couldn’t not eat since it smelled so good. And it actually was!

Then back to sleep for another couple of hours. More turbulence woke me up about two hours later. Not that it had been a sound sleep, mind you, what with all the trying to get comfortable in the world’s most uncomfortable airplane seat, but at least it was sleep.

Going through customs was much easier than I anticipated. My baggage was easy to find, even though my duffel bag had fallen off the conveyer belt BEHIND it, so I had to do some fancy maneuvering to get to it, but I’m glad I found it, or else I would’ve thought the airlines lost it.

I found a place to get some change for the phone, then found another place to buy a phone card so I could call Linda and let her know I made it safely. It was 4:00 a.m. her time, so I didn’t keep her up long. Then I found the pay phone so I could call the hotel for them to send a car. Negotiating my way around the airport I never once had to resort to English. I don’t know that it would have helped me anyway. My Spanish returned quickly, and I like to think that everyone was impressed with how well this gringa was speaking with them. Granted, some people don’t speak as clearly as I would like, but since I’m blonde, I can get away with asking them to repeat themselves two or three times if I need to. They just smile at me sympathetically.

And now, here I am. I managed to drop off to sleep around 6:30, but it was constantly interrupted by a rooster crowing (do they keep chickens for the eggs here at the hotel?); some sort of construction banging-hammering going on above me, next door to me, I don’t know where, but it was loud; and the constant tramping of feet, stomping feet, really, outside my room in the non-carpeted hallway.

At 9:30 I was woken up for good by a good solid knock on the door. I thought it might be housekeeping, but it seemed a bit early for that considering check out time isn’t until 1:00. I asked who it was, and it was another woman from my group come to introduce herself to me since the front desk had so thoughtfully and considerately given her my room number. She felt bad that she had woken me up, but not so bad that she felt she couldn’t sit down and chat for a few minutes. And chat she did. I could hardly get a word in edgewise, but that’s actually okay, because the couple of times I did, I realized how atrociously awful my breath was.

The front desk had actually told me when I got here that she was here, so it wasn’t completely unexpected. Wait, yes it was. Her showing up at my room, that is. But she seems nice enough. Her name’s Cecilia, but she goes by Ceil. She’s from Texas and is a Pre-K teacher and a high school Spanish teacher. She really didn’t shut up for very long to let me talk much about myself, so I get an earful of her Texas-sized accent. It will be interesting to hear how her Texas accent translates into Spanish. One off-putting thing about her, besides the non-stop talking, is that she was wearing sunglasses the whole time in my very sun-dark room. I thought it was strange she didn’t take them off, but perhaps a good reason will be revealed later on.

I’ve just finished breakfast and am taking advantage of the 10 quetzal price for 30 minutes of internet access. Don’t know when I’ll have this again.

I should maybe go exploring or something, but this part of town doesn’t look particularly inviting, although the hotel is delightful. It’s very cute and quaint. The beds are teeny-tiny. Oh! There’s even a bidet in the bathroom. I’ve never had access to one before, so I thought I’d give it a whirl (no pun intended). It’s a handy device to have around when you’ve forgotten to shave your legs and don’t want to get back in the shower! I hope all is safe and well for you all whatever neck of the world you happen to be in right now. My neck of the world is beautiful. It’s different than the one I was in yesterday, which makes it all that muc

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