Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Guatemala Trip Report VI: Final Hours Among the Bougainvillea

Antigua, Department of Sacatepequez, Guatemala--

Coming to Guatemala I knew a grand total of one person living in the country, and was not going to visit him as we weren't that close (a fellow teacher gone from my school to a Lake Atitlan private school or some such). I hadn't kept tabs on him, and had pretty much forgotten of him.

So naturally I ran into him along an Antigua street last night. Weird. Weird to the point that we both pretty much had to run along somewhere else to deal with the weirdness of it. It's a small country, but it's not that small.

And speaking of this not so small country, I'm out of here and back to the States as of early, early tomorrow morning. In a little past two weeks I've seen much, walked about 100 miles, gotten a little sick and even a bit homesick, and eaten over a dozen desayuno tipicos.

I'll miss the weather here, with its highs in the 70s (Tikal and a little burg called Morales notwithstanding, where it was at least 174 degrees with 145 percent humidity), and cleansing afternoon rains. I'll miss the people and vibe of the country, well except for certain losers in Sayaxche (and there are certainly losers everywhere, que no?), and I'll miss restaurants with open atriums spilling over with bougainvillea, chicken soup "caldo real" and those small, fat corn tortillas.

But it's time to get back, refreshed and ready for something. I guess it's pretty much universal that a person finishes a trip like this with an agenda of what they want to do when they get back, and an energy to really get them done this time. Right now, sitting here next to some beatiful purple bougainvillea, I'm pumped with this energy and a vague but palpable desire to do something back in Burque.

And no, I have no real idea what that something is. It's true that most often these somethings turn into nothings when the traveler returns. The grinding normalcy of the returned to life is a powerful deterrent, it seems. But there are exceptions. Maybe this will be one of them.

In my case, Guatemala has played such an exception in the past. I visited here in 1992 for five weeks. Upon my return, I moved from the Pacific Northwest to New Mexico, took up teaching. Those changes have stuck since. I get the feeling a change or two will stick this time as well.

If I only knew what those changes were....

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