It´s been about a week now and I´m starting to look a little disheveled. Yesterday Rosie said to me, "your skin, it´s coming off. You are like a snake! haha" I ran into the bathroom to see what she was talking about. It is flaking off one side of my face. And my feet -yeah, well the constant flip flop wearing has caused them to look very San Francisco, circa 1969. The bottoms of them are covered with a little black layer that I can´t scrub off. I´m sorry. But you are going to read about it. Well, I only have one washcloth that´s for drying. My skin is saying "uh, what happened to the constant slathering of anti aging and exfoliation? Didn´t we have a deal? I´m pissed and I´m going to fall off your face. You´re in the sun all day, didn´t we have that little talk about wrinkles and burning? You dirty hippie."
So today I went to a spa to have the grime scrubbed off me. I laid down on the table and I started giggling because my feet are SO dirty, it´s just embarrasing. I tried to explain in my bad spanish "Mi Pies, son negro porque mis zapatos!" But the nice lady scrubbed me and I´ve never been so clean. Too bad I couldn´t just buy a washcloth and I spent a huge amount of money to have someone else clean me, but I feel lighter and smell good.
Travelling like this really cuts down on the decision making. If it´s cold, put on black hoodie. Because that´s my ONLY sweater. If it´s hot, wear one of the three old navy tank tops. I mean, I do wash them all the time.. Do I wear the brown cargo pants or the black ones or the cargo skirt? Not much of a choice, huh? Flip flops unless I´m climbing a volcano, in that case it´s the dirty jogging shoes. I have one tiny tube of moisturizer for all body parts, face included. It´s fun and liberating to strip your life down to what you can carry on your back, but it doesn not do much for the appearance. I brought more variities of books and music than clothes.
I talked to my English neighbors (travelling around the world for a year, and guess what - they each have only one sweater too - so I don´t feel so bad) about Nicaragua. They gave me some good advice and I´m really intrigued. I still haven´t made any decisions yet though. Tomorrow I go up to the Lake area. I might stay in San Pedro or I might stay in Panachel, after that Santa Cruz.
Today was my last spanish class. I´m not sure how much progress I actually made, other than realize how much I DON´T know. I´m sure I picked up some useful things. The classes had an extra benefit - I learned from Rosie more about Guatemalan life in general. She really is an amazing person. She was not encouraged by anyone to go to school, but to be a housewife. She rebelled against her family a little bit and is putting herself through school while working and is often tired. Her father finally said "I was wrong about you and I´m proud". Women here don´t go to college like they do at home, it´s more rare. Her favorite book is the Alchemist and she is very smart. She tried to visit a friend in America last year but had to pay a bunch of money, have several intimidating interviews, then was not granted a visa to visit. I have never had an interview to visit ANY place. I remember talking to South Africans about this too. It is very hard to visit the United States. Very sad that she can´t go. Now her attitude is "United States, I don´t need you -I´m going to visit other places instead." On top of that, she has a lot of funny stories. I really lucked out and I´m positive she will be very sucessful one day at whatever she does.
After doing my homework of writing a children´s story - about Paco el Pato, a duck that travels the world, but in the end, realizes that there is no place like home (no I didn´t make him a drunk or a loser like Juan.. it´s a children´s book afterall..) I met up with Antonella for her last night in town. We had a good time even though we met a crazy old man who invited her up to his house.. haha. She was fun to hang out with in Antigua, we have a lot of similar thoughts on things, and she has a great free spirited attitude. She told me more about life in Italy and her life now in Phoenix.
Today I went out for some typical Guatemalan food, because I´ve been eating Thai, mexican, nothing really Guatemalan except the pupusa. (There is a thai place here that is better than any of the thai places in my neighborhood at home!) Rosie said her favorite food was sopa pipian, a thick soup made with chicken, potatoes and pulverized pumpkin seeds, so I went out to have some. It was bueno with a tamale. Actually I did have a Christmas tamale the other day. On Christmas they make special, giant tamales and I tried one. You know my trips are all about food!
I see posters all over town of Carlos Peña, the pride and joy of Guatemala and winner of Latin American idol. I bought the CD today. Carlos and I are going to the lake tomorrow. Carlos thinks I look much better after the spa.
Here´s a few bonus videos for you:
photos above: Carlos, my dirty hippie feet, the fountain in the central park (look closely at where the water is coming from), me and Rosie