I found this in my drafts for Slice of Life/ News From the North. It could be from an email news letter I used to send out many years ago, before News From the North was born. At any rate, enjoy, this brought back many fond memories.
Normally, I lose ridiculously expensive pairs of sunglasses in foreign
countries. A set of Raybans and Bolles now call Belize home, while the
ultimate Maui Jim's reside in Guadalajara. My latest pair call my
Protege 5 home, and that's where they will stay. So I thought my days of
being a loser were somewhat over. As if. A Linda Lundstrum top now
lives in Guatemala, not sure if it prefers the cosmo of the
city or the spring like climate of Santa Maria. The pants still live in
closet at home. And of course, the outfit is no longer on the market.
green umbrella, originally from the sunshine capital of San Diego
it rained for three days of a four day stay, now prefers the lovely
little town of Copan Ruinas, living an active lifestyle on the back
shelf of a tuk tuk. My blood pressure cuff calls some suburb of Playa
del Carmen in Mexico its casa. And my poor pointy ended Tweezerman
tweezers, hastily thrown in the backpack at the beginning of the Mexico
mission were ignored by me until they met their fate at the hands of the
Cancun airport security guys, unceremoniously dumped in the garbage as
they were deemed a threat to the very safety of our American airways.
Wait, I'm Canadian. We are friendly and polite. Evidently not when we
are carrying weapons of minimal destruction. Naturally, I had to replace
all these necessary items. With: a) tanzanite earrings. b) .925 silver
earrings with black pearls. c) a white hand embroidered cotton shirt. d)
a Lencan (Honduran pottery) necklace. e) a Lencan armadillo (my Mayan
birth sign). f) a Lencan coaster with the Mayan
symbol for said Armadillo. g) a hand embroidered take on a huipil
(). some hand junk and a watch (I needed the alarm on the watch,
that's my excuse). i) some tequila j) a bunch of margaritas. A fair
trade off, don't you think? All obtained at special prices, just for me.
To unload pesos, or lempira, depending on the country of
purchase. Guatemala saw practical purchases of coffee and another quilt
in quetzales. Oops, there's still a quilt in my closet looking for a
good home. Well, this one is nicer, after having washed one for my Mom
similar to the closet one - my dryer and my Mom were pink for weeks. And
actually, the new one has a home, the owners just don't know it yet.
choose my friends wisely, and wisely met up with Florida Tom in Copan
Ruinas. This lovely little Honduran town is one of the front runners of
where I want to be when I don't grow up. We stayed at a lovely little
boutique hotel, the Yat Balam,which is Mayan for Jaguar
or something like that. What a wonderful place.
Every night, while I sat in the little courtyard by the cafe with my
laptop, the night watchman would come out with a chair so I could rest
my netbook on it, thus defeating the purpose of being a laptop. How
could I refuse someone trying to look out for me? One of the shopkeeps
had a dog who sat at the gate, until I came along. Then he sat by my
bench. Until his owner tried to banish him back to the gate. Whereby the
dog would cast his eyes down and slink back to my side. Tail wagging.
He ended up having to bribe the dog I called "Noodle" - his name in
Spanish started with a "C" and sounded like it had an oodle in it
somewhere. I digress.
So Florida Tom and I hired a guide - Giovanni -
a slight bastardization of his name which I think was Yebeni- to take
us to the ruins. This guide is probably one of the best in Honduras for
many reasons which I won't get into here, and came highly recommended.
We arrived at the ruins early, and as we were waiting
for paper work and whatever other things you have to wait for, a woman
approached us whom we recognized as staying at our little hotel. She
offered to hire a guide with us and pay half. We looked at each other
and invited her to join us, but told her she would have to pay the same
rate as we had to Giovanni, which she did. She was quite fine throughout
the tour, and joined us for lunch at the cheese shop back in town.
Copan has some mighty fine Brown Swiss cows and Brown Swiss cow cheeses.
But first, she had to check out of our hotel. While she was away, Fla.
Tom and I decided upon our choices. When Jo (?) came back, she decided
on the six ounce hunk of cheese with crackers, followed by another 4
ounces of fruit covered bovine delight for dessert, accompanied by
"Let's share. I left my money in the hotel." With a beer chaser. Our
lactose infused options were already on the way. I told her I would pay
for lunch - food is ridiculously cheap in
Copan, and then just watched her order. I did tell her to forgo dessert
until after our mains were done. I mean, she was going to eat six
ounces of cheese, and our sandwiches had meat and probably the same
amount of cheese in them! Fla. Tom was too much a gentleman to comment,
but when I asked him a day or two later if he thought she was a bit off,
let's just say we agreed yet again.
Copan Ruinas was host to a
Harley meet the Friday before I left. I know, I was laughing too when we
were told at the front desk that there was going to be a night for
them. Here, in Honduras, in the middle of no where, as a fund raiser for
the local Red Cross and the social baby of the owner of one our
favourite steak houses in that town. After a morning of tushes tuk tuk
-ed up a mountain for some bird viewing, we came back to a giant
inflatable beer bottle and a stage in the street. The one man band was
playing oldies and newbies, Spanish and English. In the
centre square, Harleys were starting
to materialize, until there were 5 of them. Our street was cordoned
off, you had to pay to get in or out, the Red Cross emblazoned water
jugs for this on either side of the ropes. The folks running our hotel
were so worried about the noise that was supposed to go until two AM
that they supplied the guests with ear plugs, and us with a 26er of Flor
de Cana, Nicarauga's finest rum. No valium needed that night. Other
than the occasional revving of motors as all men-children are wont to
do, and the playing of some oldies music, the night was actually pretty
quiet compared to the noisefest I thought it was going to be. The music
stopped abruptly at 1 AM, and the now 25 Harleys were silent. I was able
to rest well before the 5 hour bus ride back to Guatemala City, after a
week of Barena and the best steaks I have eaten anywhere. The rest of
the rum, in case you were wondering, went the next day to the night
watchman, hopefully consumed while off duty :)
And so the flight to Cancun. Ah yes, via Miami. I know I should
give up and quit my whining. Loathe is too soft a word to express how I
feel about that airport. But hang on, folks. I have found another
airport to loathe as well, and it's name is Dallas-Fort Worth. How can
that be, since I didn't have to identify my luggage there? I thought all
was going to be well, until I stood in the 2 hour line up of mostly
Mexican folks waiting to get through immigration. With three folks
working it. The American citizen side had no one waiting, and two folks
working, or rather, idling. Eventually, the powers that be asked for
anyone with a flight before 1030, which would be me, so I happily went
through the US citizen line, and was then directed to baggage pick up.
But wait, I'm not supposed to have to pick up my luggage in Dallas. But
you still have to hand over the blue card. And so I progressed to
another half hour line up, nerves a shaking, as A) no one
could confirm the veracity of my no luggage claim, and B) I had very
little time before my flight to Toronto left. Along with all the other
slugs who had luggage, I handed over my declaration to one of a total of
two people working this line up. And then, I progressed (regressed?)
into the main terminal to get x-rayed and goosed yet again. With less
than a half hour to go, I found out the "other" security line was
shorter, so I sprinted there, and afterwards ran to catch my flight.
Sidetracked by a bathroom break, I was suitably worried when in the loo I
heard my name over the airport loudspeaker to report to D25
immediately. As I completed my run to the gate, I heard my name yet
again, "Last Call". That'd be me. And the door shut behind me. Lest you
think I didn't leave enough time between flights, I had 2 hours. I'm
told you really need to allow between three and four. Now someone tell
me why they can get it right in Mexico
City, that is, have a whackload of wickets open and the same guy
collecting your immigration card as who stamps your passport? And
they're actually pleasant and knowledgeable there. I hope Mexicana will
be able to fire up her engines next month as is the plan. Otherwise, I
think I will be flying to Guate/Mexico next year via El Salvador. Surely
it can't be as bad as Miami or Dallas, can it?
Other noteworthy items:
We are all God's creatures. Witness the skinny stray dog at one of the
mission sites. One of many actually, except she had some heavy duty
plastic tied around her middle. The kids were being told to chase her
away by throwing stones at her, which I yelled at them not to do. This
poor doggie allowed me to free her. She knew where she could be helped.
And she disappeared shortly after that.
2. Who's making the bed? I
wondered, as my bed in Playa had the flat sheet wrapped around the
mattress, and the fitted sheet as the top sheet.
Happened every day. I was going to remake the bed on my last day, but
forgot. Anyhow, 2AM is a little early to be remembering those kinds of
things, especially when awaiting the 0250 arrival of my shuttle to the
3. How to get merchants to leave you alone: I'm a sucker for
fundraisers, especially for something like fire equipment. I do not
wish for my hotel to burn down. Wouldn't do anything about the roach
problem anyway. On Saturday, I donated some cash to a Canuck sitting by a
wellington boot raising money for Playa firefighters. In return, I was
given one of their t-shirts, which I wore the next day as the only clean
item in my suitcase for a walk "the other way". I then gathered that
the firefighters actually wear this t-shirt that has "Bombero" written
on its back, and a Mexican flag on its sleeve. I was told many times
over that I was doing a great job, and I was never told there was a
special price and a special seat just for me. Nor
was I invited to lighten my pockets. To those who questioned me further
I admitted to my real profession and reason for being in Mexico. I
didn't find out until I returned home that a nearby resort had suffered
an explosion with a loss of Canadian lives as well as local lives. You
bet you can help me lighten my pockets.
4. You can fool some of the
people some of the time: Dr. Brian came to Guatemala equipped with his
whoopee cushions, and garnered many laughs from all, but this year, I
think the word has spread as Dr. B. reported folks were actually lifting
up the sheets that were hiding his devices on the chairs.
5. My Mom:
Gotta love her. The first time I have spoken to her in a month. "Hi,
how are you?" "Ready to be buried." Welcome home.
6. My Mom: Part 2.
She's threatening to not attend the meet and greet for my Grandson that I
am hosting on Saturday. To which I replied: "You're going no matter
what." "Even if it kills me?" "So what if it
does??" She wasn't pleased. And she's coming.
And that is how it all went.