Wednesday, October 04, 2006

days #5, 6 and 7: courtney seduces monterico while i almost pass out in front of a tienda, bolo style

so during our time at the lago, we decided antigua was out. waaaaay out. i REALLY did not want to go there after experiencing the influx of tourists at the lake. antigua is super touristed and is filled with american and european-owned restaurants, art galleries and businesses. antigua’s supposed to be really pretty – there is a beautiful church there. it was guatemala’s capital before an earthquake struck and they moved the capital to present guatemala city. but i had absolutely no desire to go there and courtney agreed, so we planned to try and go from panajachel to monterico, skipping antigua altogether.

the day before we asked three cobredors who worked on the local buses questions about how to get to monterico. they all basically told us the same thing, más or menos: there was a bus that left the desvio in panajachel at 5:00 a.m. (another said 5:30), which would then go to los cocales. from there to esquintla, then on to taxisco and finally down to la avellana where we’d hop on the lancha to monterico. it sounded simple enough and since every shuttle company in panajachel that ran a direct shuttle from panajachel to la avellana was charging $45 A PERSON to go there, we were all for the chicken bus route.

so we dragged our asses to the desvio at 4:30 on thursday a.m. and we sat there and sat there and watched 5:00 a.m. go by while we sat there. it was freezing too. there was nobody else out there except for this dog that decided to hang out with us. so we’re sitting there and i’m looking up at the sky which is almost pitch black. i could see the faint outline of the mountains surrounding panajachel, and of the clouds in the sky as well. as i’m looking up, i see what looks like a shooting star. and i’m like “hey, there’s a shooting star!” to courtney and i think she’s gonna miss it because shooting stars last like what, all of one second? so she looks up and to my amazement, the star’s still shooting and it continues and continues and continues. i’m like “what the fuck is that?” it was moving super fast, and like i said, looked exactly like a shooting star because of the way it was lit up. it left a stream of white smoke behind, like an airplane would and courtney’s like “what is that?” it was moving too fast for an airplane, and it looked like it was a lot closer to the earth than a jet that would make that kind of white smoke would. but it definitely wasn’t a star. after moving across the sky in this straight line for about 30 seconds or so, it disappeared behind the clouds. then, about two seconds later we hear this super loud BOOM! and courtney’s freaking out because the night before we were in this bookstore and there was this postcard that was a painting of lago atitlán and the volcanoes around it are erupting and there’s a flying saucer there. it was a painting depicting the end of the world which, according to the mayan calendar, will come in the year 2012 – because that is when all the mayan calendars simultaneously end. i explained what i had learned about this to courtney when we were in the store and she said she had never heard anything about that before. so she was all like “that’s weird.”

so that morning when we saw that, she was like – huh? and i was a bit weirded out as well. then we noticed our dog friend had fled. then, like two minutes later there was this other HUGE boom and there were these sparks that shot out of the electrical lines that were directly in front of us, and down on the street. all the lights in panajachel went out and then i got really freaked out and my stomach was all butterflies and i’ll admit, i was like – what. the. fuck. while the lights were out, a couple of other people showed up and were standing on the other side of the street waiting for buses as well and we were like “did they see that weirdo thing in the sky?” the lights eventually came back on and the sky eventually got lighter and more people started their days. but the whole time we were still recovering from our space invaders moment.

eventually we found out that there was no bus at 5:00 or 5:30, but at 6:30 (those lying cobredors can kiss my ass! the rule of three definitely did NOT work this time.) and we finally were on our way to los cocales. the trip through the mountains on the other side of the lake that morning was really pretty....just a really peaceful early morning ride. i love the mountains and i’d take the mountains over the beach any day. everyone was wearing their wool hats and sweaters and even though the bus got packed a few times, it was a relatively smooth ride as we hopped on and off of buses.

i won’t write too much about monterico because you already know all about the place from my previous trip there. the beach was the same as last time, only less touristed because september is supposed to be the rainiest month of all in guatemala. there wasn’t any rain while we were there though. things were tranquilo – hung out with bayron and his friends and a bunch of kids who live near bayron.

and, the WHOLE time we were in monterico everyone (read, guys) kept coming up to courtney and asking her tons of questions and i´m all rolling my eyes because of my aforementioned adversity to these conversations. then one guy claimed he was in love with courtney – but then someone else told her to stay away from him because he was bad news. THEN, there was this other guy – lionel – (the only reason i know his name is because courtney willingly entered into a conversation with him which i completely did not want to have anything to do with). lionel was a bit of an odd character…no wait, that´s putting it lightly. he was crazy. that´s more like it. our first day on the beach we saw him swimming in the ocean and as he got closer to us, we could see that he was laughing at and talking to the waves. ok, i´m sure there are some surfers or swimmers or fisherman or people like that that might have deep conversations with the water for whatever reason related to their sport or whatever. not lionel. lionel was crazy. he then approached us and i´m like, oh for god sakes. courtney´s like ¨what´s your name, do you live here, etc.¨ and i´m covering my face with a towel. because as lionel is talking to courtney he grows this humongous boner right there in front of us. and he´s just talking like nothing´s wrong. so finally he leaves and i´m like – you have got to be kidding me! well, that wasn´t the last we saw of lionel. oh no. lionel walked up and down the beach every day, all day long. at one point, i was swimming a little bit and I look up and lionel´s coming down the beach with this dead swordfish. he apparently wanted courtney to hold the fish so he could come down and join me in the water and as soon as i saw him coming i bolted back up to the beach. meanwhile, courtney´s holding this dead fish. lionel returns, with another boner, and continues to talk to us. apparently, from what we gathered from other people, lionel has a house in antigua and walked to monterico for a little visit. well, lionel sure likes the girls. gross! on saturday, a group of european tourists came to the beach – a bunch of girls and a couple guys – and the girls were laying out. lionel was having a field day. he went over and just stood behind where they were laying out and stared at them. courtney and i were sitting in hammocks farther up by this small hotel and were just glad it wasn´t us he was hovering over. He seemed harmless, well, except for the whole boner thing. ewwww!

on friday night we sat out in front of a tienda on monterico´s main drag with a bunch of guatemalan bolos. nothing out of the ordinary for us, really. anyway, bayron gets a double-deuce of some crappy beer and we three split it. i was not feeling it though. honestly, i just wanted to go to bed. i was dog-tired (the beach does that to you, well, at least me). anyway, i´m sitting there and all of a sudden i start feeling like i´m gonna totally pass out. like my head was spinning, i could barely see in front of me and i thought i was gonna puke. so i put my head down and i´m sweating like crazy. and i´m thinking – please don´t let me pass out on the street with this crappy beer in my hand! i tell courtney i think i´m gonna pass out and she´s like ¨whaaaaat?¨ i figured it was just because i got a lot of sun that day and i was tired too. well, no matter what it was from, i didn´t want to pass out on the street! plus, those bolos were like ¨oh, she´s drunk! hahahahaha!¨ and i was like ¨no i´m not!¨ as i laid my head on the cement wall i was sitting on. finally after about five minutes or so i felt better. i told bayron – i didn´t ask him – that i was taking his bike back to his house. and after i got myself into bed, i felt great. ahhh, i guess turning 34 really does mean you´re getting old!

that´s about it for monterico. oh, and when we told our story to bayron about that whole thing on thursday morning he said that he read in the paper that the space shuttle atlantis was supposed to be returning to earth sometime that week so it was possible that that’s what we saw. when i got back to apaneca on sunday i went to the internet place and the first thing i looked up was when exactly atlantis returned. and it looks like that’s exactly what we returned in the pre-dawn hours on thursday a.m. and it landed in florida. and from where we were sitting in panajachel and the direction atlantis would have been going to get to florida, i’m pretty sure that it definitely was the space shuttle we saw. isn’t that weirdo though? like what are the odds of that. and if those asshole cobredors wouldn’t have told us a fake time to catch the bus we would’ve never seen that. muy interesante.

and that’s how things ended. un buen viaje, por supuesto.

courtney and mmmmmm cerviche

descansando en la hamaca

wish you were here!!!! (p.s. that is a lovely photo of my feet, eh? the toenail on my big toe on my right foot fell off the day before we left for guatemala. nice, huh? that was from hiking la peña)

totally cheesy, but the sunsets on the beach really are dreamy....

this weird sign (with AND RAPISTS in bold) was in some bar on the beach

more of the same, but a different night...

some of the niños i hung out with that live in the houses next door to bayron. the non-niño is some family member. all the men of the family build lanchas and sell them up and down the canal in-between the mainland and island

i must have rode bikes up and down this road like 10 times with these kids - but all good times!

drying fish....gross!

leaving monterico

until next time