I arrived here in Panajachel after a terrible bus ride up and down the curvy road from the capital. I have never been carsick in my life but thought this might be the first time. I made it without getting sick and was very proud of myself.
This town is very busy. There were a lot of people just in for the weekend and then today it quieted down some. Most people who live here are Guatemalan but there seem to be many American hippie types. The main street is a tourist trap with lots of vendors selling real and fake Guatemalan items.
A boy on the street who looked about eleven asked me if I wanted some weed. I said no but I have to admit I wondered why he was asking me. The sixties were a long time ago.
I walked over to my Spanish school as soon as I got here. The owner Jabal met me at a really big gate. Everything seems to be locked up here. We walked down a dirt path that smelled like cat pee. I was a little worried about where I was going. But once I got there it was nice. I guess the cats just pee on the dirt path.
I ended up staying in a small guest house and I have taken pictures for everyone to see. It costs $8 a night so you can imagine what it is like. Clean, no roaches so far! The only light is a ceiling bulb so it is very dark. They gave me a room with a television which is good because everyone else has their´s on so loud I have to turn my on in self defense. A family with children run it and appear to speak no English. I try to talk to them and they just shake their heads´ yes. Then I do the same.
Next door is an abandoned building where a boy around fourteen appears to be living. He is obviously developmentally disabled and stands on what used to be a porch and screams; he does this while naked from the waist down. Everyone just seems to ignore him so I do too.
Yesterday I took a boat ride to several of the small towns around the volcano here. There are many traditional villages, with their own dialect. Each village has their own colors and weaving patterns. I had to spend some money to help the local economy. I tried to talk Spanish but who knows what I was saying. Surely, not the people I was buying stuff from.
Classes take place in the garden at the school. There are eleven of us, including a man from Holland who is my age. He is a heating and cooling contractor who has taken a year off to see the world. He is very interesting and speaks a lot of different lanugages. But no romance in the making. He told me he hadn´t seen a dentist for 50 years.
I have a private tutor Maribell who is most patient. She has me conjugate verbs and read aloud and she actually pretends to be interested. I figure these schools are a goldmine. Eleven students at 100 a week; some people stay for months. I am already thinking about coming back.
The most interesting thing that has happened is I fell down on the beach like an idiot. Luckily I had brought some bactine type stuff knowing that I am likely to do that sort of thing when far away from home. I was all scraped up and had to find a pharmacy for big bandaides for my leg.
But it turned out to be a good thing because the guy who owns it was really interested in trying to help me with my Spanish, gave me directions and drew a map for me to get around here.
Food is cheap at tipico restaurants. I am eating lunch out and each day have had popcorn for dinner. My room has a kitchen with a stove, microwave and refrigerator.
Today for lunch I ate at a small restaurant between the tourist section and the central market where local people shop. I asked the man there about violence and he said it is pretty much everywhere. I I read an article in the newspaper (in Spanish) which seemed to blame everything on the left. Just like in the states. Several people were killed yesterday in Guatemala City, but I couldn´t figure out why from the article.
The paper also had pictures of the main crime fighters for the country. One of the top four people was a woman. I thought that was pretty amazing this machismo place.
As I sit here, I can smell bad chicken. Guess I won´t have that while I´m here. Enough for Monday. Tomorrow is another day.
Filed under: Women's Studies blog |