Saturday, January 12, 2008

Can I stay?

I don´t know what´s wrong with me. I was all set to go see a band at cafe no se (cafe "I don´t know", don´t you love the name?) last night, and at a time I´m too embarrased to say, I laid down and got too comfortable. It´s easy to do, with my new room. It has, what, 15, 20 ft ceilings? It used to be a 15th century convent and a monastary and has high wood beam ceilings and tile floors. It´s right on the big famous yellow arch that I love so much. I stayed in a room with a straw floor a few weeks ago, so I notice things like flooring now. I watched TV for the first time in a while, to ease myself back into civilization. Tonight, I swear, I´m going out. Even though I have an 8AM flight tomorrow.
Apparently I´m also making the transition from backpacker Sara back to my regular Chicago self. I chose this hotel because of the amazing history and ambiance. I may like to slum it, but I also like to splurge once in awhile. So yesterday they tried to put me in one of the modern rooms, hidden in back, NEXT to the hotel, in some sort of b.s. annex. Way back in the bushes. Said nothing else was available. I was like, the only reason I made a reservation here was to stay in one of the monastary rooms, like you showed me, and if you don´t have one I can just move to another hotel. For my last two nights, you sure you don´t have anything?? But I was as polite as possible about it. I got switched back. I felt like a bit of a brat, but I deserve only the finest for my last two nights!! Single people will not get the shaft! And you know what, I love my room. All $75 per night of it, which is actually sort of a bargain. The breakfast is not as good as the BK numero tres, but oh well... I got my dream room and that´s all that matters. Ech, sometimes I hate this side of myself but I would have been really sad and angry with myself for settling.
Today my plan was to go white water rafting. But I guess it´s not the season for that. So I went to the coffee museum, which was actually pretty interesting. I missed the english tour by about 15 minutes, and felt a little pouty when my only choice was the spanish tour. I told the guide that I didn´t speak spanish very well and he agreed to not talk too fast. And hey, guess what - I understood about 60, 70% of what he was saying! Well, I was helped by the super obvious visual aids in the museum but I understood much more that I thought I would. And even asked two questions. And when I saw the big, LOUD annoying Americans in the gift shop, I was secretly glad that I was part of the cooler, spanish group. Even if I was kind of a poser.
I hate this part of every trip, I get really sad to leave. Africa and Asia were a little tiring, so I had home to look forward to, to rest at least. But as you can see here, I did a lot of sleeping and hammock-laying. And have no jet lag to face, not even one hour. So really, the only thing I´m looking forward to is seeing my friends and coworkers again, and to see if my landlord really did knock out and re-do my shower like he promised. Regular Sara hopes he did, but backpacker Sara is more like, eh, at least I have a shower.. and you´ll be lucky if I even use it. Bottom line is that this was a VERY enjoyable trip, and I want to continue my spanish in Chicago, I´m going to look into spanish circle or latin school again. I don´t want the momentum to go to waste. And for goddsake, get this girl some salsa lessons.
For a little closure, here are my Bests of:
  • Breakfast - the BK numero tres!!
  • Dinner - the kingfish at Casa Iguana, tied with the Enchiladas verdes at Frida´s in Antigua.
  • Beer - Toña, Nicaragua
  • Beer label - Gallo, Guatemala
  • live music - Riki´s, Antigua, Cafe Nuit, Granada
  • cheapest room - EVER - the psychedelic hotel San Francisco, San Pedro, $3.50
  • Favorite room - Casa Iguana, casita number 4
  • Boat ride - Big corn island to little corn island. Like a $4 white water rafting trip
  • Bagged snack - those freeze dried taco things, Guatemala

Important things learned in Guatemala and Nicaragua:

  • It´s easier to travel around here than Europe.
  • Reggaeton is everywhere
  • I sorta like reggaeton!
  • What Central American guys lack in height, they more than make up in dancing skills
  • People in Guatemala speak slower than Nicas, Guatemala is the perfect place to learn spanish
  • Refried beans are damn good for breakfast
  • Bedbugs here aren´t messing around
  • If your feet are dirty, you are probably having a good time.
  • Hygeine is overrated
  • Other travellers in Central America are super friendly
  • Chickens come in all sorts of cute logos here (Gallo, pollo estrella)
  • Nicaraguan hot dogs are nothing to be feared
  • I could retire or work in Antigua one day, It feels very homey
  • People who admit to going to 300 plus Widespread panic shows are usually pretty strange
  • Wearing one sweater for 3 weeks is perfectly acceptable
  • It´s surprisingly easy to get used to seeing men with rifles
  • It´s not easy to get used to seeing children working and class differences here
  • Latin culture brings a little warmth and color into my life

El fin

and thanks for reading! If you were reading and not commenting, let me know..

above: the arco, a coffee plant, our coffee tour guide, some textiles made by children in the main square - about the tumultuous times in the 80s - (if you can read it, it´s sad about pregnant women hit by bullets in 1982 and 1985), another chicken bus, the room next to mine (my headboard isn´t that good, but I did have towel swans!)


Anonymous said...

:( :( :( I feel sad that's it for this blog.. It was so interesting to keep coming back here and read. Nice and cozy in a way...
So, salsa dancing and more spanish studying. My same two goals right now. I looked up a few dancing schools already, and I start my third spanish class at the community college here next Tuesday. I'm really looking forward to use some spanish again!

funchilde said...

wow. it's over already?! :-( safe travels home ms. sara, it has been such a treat and a welcome distraction to follow your journey and fun times (and bed bugs) around latin/central america!
keep us posted on what's next!

trisha said...

welcome home chica! robert will be so glad to see you (as am i)!! i am more than happy to help with espanol & salsa in any way i can be of assistance. let's start with a trip to the neighborhood guatemalan restaurant ;)

Donald said...

I just started reading your journal...followed the link from Thorn Tree...I think I recognize your coffee-guide...that looks a lot like my pal Orlando. Yes?

Kim - Kate's mommy friend said...

I'm so sad there is no more to read, this mommy was living vicariously through your fabulous travels (Kate told me it was rude not to post comments, so here's my comment). And the little one loves your pet monkey flic (btw she can stand on her own now!). Safe travels home!

sara said...

Hi everyone - glad you enjoyed it! Yeah, I'm sad too.. But Central America is so close - perhaps close enough for a fire sale trip some time. That thought comforts me!

Donald - usually I am good at remembering names of guides, but I don't remember if it was Orlando. I really liked him, though. He spoke slowly for my benefit and was very nice!