Best convo….We go to a beach called la playa de los gringos, or white folks beach, and hang out there. Yesterday a man came up to me and started talking and talking. I sorta remember being introduced to him and like eight other poeple the first day, but apparently he remembered me very well. The conversation, which I will translate, you can imagine me interjecting a “sí” or “no sé” or “uhhhh….” every two or three minutes, went like this:

Man: Hola Raquel, how are you. do you like to swim? you swim? i like to swim. once i swam to the middle of the lake. you are gordita. not like your friends. you should exercize, to be mas flaca. oh you like you as you are? you should swim. you want to swim with me tonight? it would be fun. you are gordita, but i like the way you move. i like everyting about you. where are you going? to dinner? why arent you inviting me?

not even kidding.

gordita, which can mean cute little fat thing, or a little chubber, or whatever, is apparently a compliment here in Guate. you actually WANT to be gordita. which is nice, but still. Last time im going to that beach!

This.is.real.

I can’t believe I’m here and have been here for four days already! I’ve killed several cucarachas, have a gecko in my room I’ve decided to name Peekaboo because of the way he sneaks around, and am being eaten alive by the bugs who love my sweet, sweet American blood. No amount of DEET repellant can deter them, although I am starting to dig the smell of bug spray as my new perfume.

We had a sweet beach bonfire to celebrate the full moon Saturday night, and also to celebrate the arrival of our LUGGAAAAGEEEE!!!!! Thank you Jesus! At the bonfire we drank Gallo (of course) and in broken English and Spanish a bunch of us exchanged jokes, ranging from “for niños” to “colorados” (colored) and “pg-13,” as our guide explained. Very funny. We heard the legends of the lake, the creatures and seductive ladies that live in it, the witches that live on the islands, and the stories of the Mayans who lived there before us.

fullmoon fugata!

A toothless, wrinkled man named Cush el Famoso, who gave up wearing shoes 35 years ago and serves as our boat taxi, called a lancha, across the lake to Flores, sang us traditional songs and some others that were colorados and a little spicy. He was kinda borracha. Amazingly talented though. Someone from the New York Times once flew out to interview him, because he’s literally a one man band, and with his toothless mouth and heavy accent can imitate the sounds of any instrument ever.

He also tap dances, and he claims to have invented disco. 

With the arrival of our luggage, we returned to the airport, where I had to admit to immigration that I had never gone through immigration upon arrival, running past it in an effort not to miss my plane. I was supposed to be fined several hundred quetzals (one thousand quetzales is about 300 dollars) but I pouted and he said “special price for you…one hunded quetzal,” so that was nice. For all i know he pocketed it. I got a sweet passport stamp!

Luggage in hand, all fifty pounds of it, i immediately changed into tevas and shorts. love love love my tevas. We walked around Flores and ate at this place called Cool Beans, which is awesome. Everything on an island has a lake view, turns out. Drank some Gallo, the national beer (as any good traveler knows, always only order the national beer!) and some nachos and tried to learn how to be patient. This island is about patience. Everything is slow. Time is the slowest. Eight in the morning means nine. maybe. if i bother to show up.

hill up to my house in the top left!

Our legs are already getting stronger, walking up and down these hills as we are. My face and shoulders are burnt from the eternal sun. I wash my own clothes in a huge sink and hang them out to dry every day. the shower is interesting, too, as it is some planks of wood surrounding a piece of tarp, and a shower head that doesnt produce water from 2 to 7 ish or later every day, so I get to shower by collecting my own buckets of water, standing naked in my tevas in the tarp, and pouring buckets of water over my head. Another option would be to take my shampoo and soap down to the lake, where most of the native people here take their shower.

The no water in the afternoon thing isnt a problem, as my toilet doesn’t even flush. its a piece of cement molded into a toilet over a large well. My friends have toilets that flush. I dont even get to sit on mine. my quads are gaining strength daily, and I’m praying to never get diarrea while im here.

i spend most of my time in the water, which is juuuust a little cooler than the intensity of the humid air, letting fish nibble my toes and watching wild piglets roam around, or drinking Gallo on the porch in my hamaca. I have two little boys in my host family, three and six, and we play a lot of pescar which is “go fish,” and hide and go seek, and giggling. we watched Monstruos, inc. the other day. hilarious. My mama cooks soooo much good food and is very nice.

Alright, well, I’m sweating just typing here. I hope everyone is bueno! Te extraño.

todo mi amor!
raquel.

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