Hola from Xela


Yesterday I left Atlanta to travel to Xela. What a trip.

First, everyone was trying to get on the shuttle from the hotel. We are were in the same boat (shuttle) in that our flights had been cancelled and now we needed to get to the airport. Fifty people were on a shuttle made for about 15.

People were sitting on the laps of people they had never seen before and would never see again. The grab bar in the ceiling was literally coming out by the screws.

Delta didn’t have me in the system, so I had to get into the special line for special people. But it actually was faster than regular check-in, so I was happy.

The plane to Guatemala was pretty full, but I got to watch the last Harry Potter movie. I don’t understand what happened at all. I will need someone to explain it all to me.

The most interesting thing on the airplane was that immigration was there to put someone on the plane.  She was a beautiful young woman and the steward was trying to find out what she had done. But the offiers weren’t talking. They just explained that when she got off she should be given her new Guatemalan passport.

The most important thing on the plane is that of course there is no food. I had bought peanuts but thought I could eat before getting on the bus.

However, the airport has no food. So now after six hours without food, I make my way to the bus station.

The scene outside of the Guatemala City airport is always amazing. Hundred of people are waiting for their family members to get off.  Tourist companies are there to pick up people with reservations and to try to get more. If someone asks you if you want a taxi and you say yes, they take you to a cab. So then they expect to be paid for walking you a block. I forgot that but always remember how poor everyone here is.

I took the taxi to the bus station and got my ticket. It was around $10 for a seven-hour ride. The taxi tried to rip me off, but didn’t have change for a twenty U.S., so he had to wait for me to get my bus ticket, and all of a sudden was happy for $7.

When I got to the bus station there also was no food. The Linea Dorado is a first-class bus because it doesn’t make stops. And that is the only reason. That makes it a lot more expensive ($9 for seven-hour ride, really pretty cheap) than the chicken buses. They are chicken buses because people bring their chickens. Really.

The first-class bus still smells really bad. I asked where the restaurant was, and they said around the corner, but I never found it. But there I am, lugging my suitcase down cobblestone streets in Zona One, the most dangerous area in the country. I eventually went to a little store and bought Coke, cheese and yogurt because those were things I could say.

By the time the bus made its way up the hills to the highlands it was around 8 o’clock. So all  I did last night was go to bed. There are four student here and around 20 other people in the house as far as I can tell. The owner, Gladys, said she started the school to help her people economically. And it looks like she supports her family and everyone she kn0ws.

My room is a double bed and smells like cat pee. There are around 10 cats in the yard. No one fixes animals here, so dogs and cats are always lying around. It is sad, especially the dogs. They are always skin and bones like junkyard dogs. They just ignore you when you walk by, even though they look like they could kill you.

After class I walked downtown. This is a pretty big city. Men with machine guns are everywhere. I went to use the bank machine and inside the little room with me was a machine gun. Made me want to kick the shit out of the thing.

My teacher has a degree in psych0logy and worked with children in the government’s mental hospital. She said it was terrible, and I think that is why she quit.

She is a great Spanish teacher, but I think she wants to commit me because she told me to stand in a corner and talk Spanish. When they come take me away, you will know where I am.

Have a good one. I need to study irregular verbs.

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One Response

  1. I’m glad you can keep your sense of humor about all this. Please stay safe. I hate to hear about machine guns and dangerous neighborhoods.

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