Last night, a strange thing happened in Antigua. The whole town had no electricity all evening. As soon as I realized it was getting dark and was not coming back on, I ran back to my hotel to grab a flashlight and who did I run into but Trisha and TJ from Lake Atitlan. We had arranged to meet for dinner but coincidentally, they picked my hotel! The hotel (the purple looking back shed, you saw the photo the other day) isn´t the fanciest place I´ve ever stayed, but I returned because I was so charmed by the family that runs it and the trees in the backyard. And isn´t the name great - the Jardin de Lolita? Lolita is a 70ish woman who speaks spanish too fast for me to understand her, but her sons always talked to me. The one son always looked like he was having the best, breeziest day ever - and it was contageous.
Trisha and TJ had some funny stories for me at the Lake - they told me all about life in Tegucigulpa - how they had to bribe some police at night at the side of the road, and how their friend had to breathe into a police helmet to act as a breathalyzer (the cop then smelled the helmet, held his licence hostage, and told him to drive to the ATM to take out money!). We went to my old standard Frida´s in hope of dinner, but could only get beer and guacamole due to the power outage. The streets took on a really spooky feel with NO street lights and every place lit by candle light. We finally found one place to eat, in a fancy fancy hotel that had a generator. Our dinners were a little pricey but hey, that´s what emergency money is for. And we got the added bonus of some marimba players - 6 or 7 guys all play ONE giant xylophone-type thing. So we made the best of the wierd evening with good company and funny stories. As we were finishing, Elana and Gary came up to our table - from the volcano tour. Everyone circles back through Antigua. Elana told me that the famous TEXAN was spotted in Tikal. And she had to salsa dance with him the night before! He´s everywhere!
I bid goodbye to my teacher friends and woke up less than 6 hours later for my 6:30 Am flight to Nicaragua. It´s an odd feeling, waking up at 3:30 AM and bolting out of bed thinking, must go to Nicaragua now. The plane was almost empty and when I was flying I had that "uh, what are you doing?" thought, then I arrived in the heat and humidity of Managua. Wow, is it hot here. Guatemala always had cool nights in the upper 50s and gentle breezes during the afternoon. This is maybe 85, 90 degrees, lots of heat! Well, that´s what I wanted, I suppose!
I enjoyed my taxi driver, Henri, but the rest of Nicaragua does not seem to find me as charming as the people of Guatemala. Everything seems much faster, they talk faster, they get a little more impatient with me, but that´s OK. In Guatemala I felt like everyone was HAPPY and slower. Guatemala had a nice pace to it - this is more like arriving in NYC from Chicago, which is fine. I like seeing different types of people and lifestyles. Henri took me to the microbus, where after a near fistfight between microbus drivers for my business (really!) I rode with a bunch of young Nicas to the sounds of loud lite rock on the radio. The station ID was a breathy woman who would purr "aaammmoooourrrrr" between each song. Being in advertising, I notice things like station IDs and dial positions. Granada is also a beautiful colonial town like Antigua, with huge, cavernous bulidings painted different colors, some with lovely fountains and courtyards. I checked into a total dive called the bearded monkey, where I have my own room. and the slogan in the bathroom is "conserve water, if it´s yellow, let it mellow" - classy!
I´m here two nights, then it´s the corn islands for 5 nights. Oh, and I spent over an hour in a bank today trying to cash traveller´s checks, where I also had to go through an X ray. The people in the bank did not find me charming at all. Oh well! I´m not sure what to do tonight - my hostel shows movies and has a happy hour. We´ll see.
above - Granada, my new street, some lake in Honduras or El Salvador, mirimba players!
I´m enjoying the comments!
here are the marimba players. If you don´t have sound, it might be useless. This is for you, super huevo and teabag!