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Current Location: Black Cat Hostel, Antigua, Guatemala

04.16.07

Cost of beer in a bar:  I just paid US$2 for a Flor De Cana (5 year)
and coke.  Beer costs about the the same.
Song currently stuck in my head: Powder Burns (The Twilight Singers).
Seriously, download this album.  Then go to their website and buy a T
Shirt, you filthy music downloading freeloader.  Though I’m sure the
name tips you off, this is not an album about not doing a lot of
cocaine.

I’m back in Antigua for a day or two, having just arrived a few hours
ago.  I’m working my way back to Utila to meet up with Jake, a
boarding school friend who is flying in for a week.  I’ll be retracing
my dusty steps back through Copan, Sand Pedro Sula, and Ceiba on my
way back to the Caribbean.

I don’t have a lot to report (and this computer really sucks).  I
spent a day hiking to the top of “Indian Nose” (2300 meters or so of
elevation), and then set out for a day of heavy biking later in the
week.  I’ve had a cold for the last few days and it got the better of
me about an hour into the ride.  I was getting really dizzy, climbing
50 degree inclines overlooking ledge- and rail-less shear drops of 50
feet or more and decided that I was flirting with a pretty stupid way
to die.  I turned back and my friends went on, eventually being robbed
by some guy with a bandanna over his face and a half unsheathed
machete (make sure you pronounce it the Club Dread way…
“Mah-shet-tay”).  I think he should have resisted, but I wasn’t there.
I really do think people are way to cooperative with criminals
whenever they actually meet them.  Everyone is tough on crime until
they’re faced with it, then it’s “whatever you say, Mr. mugger”.  I
mean, if a guy has you dead to rights, by all means, cut your losses
and hand over the cash.  But if you’re a young, healthy, able bodied
guy and you’ve got a good shot, I say take it.  It just seems selfish
to me to take the easy way out and encourage future recurrences of the
crime.

We’ll see if that’s true when my time comes.  Theorizing about stuff
like this is of limited utility.

My tennis elbow flared up a bit, so I went into a local pharmacy and
asked what they could do for me.  I said “Tendinitis” and they just
looked at me.  Their English was great, they just didn’t know anything
about medicine.  I said “tennis elbow” and they just looked at me.  I
pointed to my elbow and said “hurts”.  Their eyes lit up.  “Ah, hurts.
We have stuff for hurts.” and he came back with 20 tabs of
Hydrocodone (7.5mg) for US$14.  I know some friends of mine have just
booked their flights.

When I thought I’d used my levaquin for too long I emailed my Doctor
(everything is cool).  When the pharmacist handed me 20 tabs of
hydrocodone I emailed my musician.  I’ve been careful with them, but
I’ll tell you, they take the sting out of a 4 hour bus ride.

Guatemala is beautiful and boring.  The travelers tend to be on the
superficial end of the backpacking crowd (the kind of girls with
eyeshadow curling irons in their packs) because this is a very easy
place to travel.  That’s also why their is so much crime.  You’ve got
a bunch of oblivious travelers who can’t be bothered to think twice
about their own safety.  I offered to walk a friend of ours home from
the bar when she decided she wanted to leave early.  She didn’t
understand why and insisted that nothing could possibly happen.  This
girl had her passport stolen in Honduras and was along for the bike
ride earlier that day when Espen was robbed, and she still couldn’t
imagine that anything might happen to a lone girl in the middle of the
night down dark alleys in a tourist town with no police presence in
Guatemala.  I’m not sure what adjective to use to describe this level
of obliviousness, but suffice it to say some people have it coming.

The people we rented a room from in Antiqua mentioned repeatedly to
take a cab after dark because that block specifically was dangerous
and known for muggings.  Friends of mine say “fooey and psshaw on
that, what do these local residents know?  I’m walking.”

I’ll never understand.  Maybe it’s a European thing, lulled into a
false sense of safety by their low domestic crime rates.

So crime permeates this report, as is to be expected after too much
time in Guatemala.  It’s only a matter of time before some cute white
chick ends up plastered all over CNN because, shockingly, she was
abducted, murdered and dumped after wandering the night streets drunk
and alone in one of the crimingest cities in one of the crimingest
countries in Central America.

Oh yeah, I have a mustache.  The barber who gave me a shave insisted
on it.  I would describe it as somewhere between “El Guapo” and
“Legally prohibited from living within 500 yards of a school or
playground”.  Pictures are available upon request, but I estimate it
will only be around until the next time I get a shave.  If you know
Demetri Martin, he has a bit about how you can make any comments sound
sleazy by adding the word “ladies” to the end of it.  “Beautiful day,
isn’t it… ladies?”  Can I take this chair… ladies?”  Well, this
mustache is basically that, making even the most benign comment seem
lecherous.

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