Sunday, March 30, 2008

Buen Viaje

After being too sick to go out and celebrate, I spent a tranquil night alone in the hostel in Antigua and decided to make the long trek up to my site. I felt well enough that I thought I could make the trip without feeling too miserable. I talked Mel and Jessica into helping me drag my stuff to the bus terminal in Antigua so I could catch a camioneta to San Lucas. I was debating taking a Pullman (like a charter-type bus) but someone I asked told me they only left at 7am and another person told me they left all day long. I decided that I didn’t want to risk going all the way to Guatemala City and taking a taxi to the bus station only to find out that my last bus left at the crack of dawn. So instead I decided to brave the whole way in camioneta. I got thrown on a bus out of Antigua, kissed Mel and Jess goodbye really quickly (easier if it’s a quick goodbye…like ripping off a band-aid), and was off the San Lucas.

In San Lucas, I had to lug my stuff (too much and too heavy) across a sky bridge in order to wait for a bus to Xela (AKA Quetzaltenango). A strange man asked me what bus I needed and told me to wait while he found it for me. Sometimes it is hard to tell if people are really nice or really strange but he found me a bus. The odd thing was, it wasn’t a camioneta. It looked more like a small tour bus, but I decided I would go for it. The ayudante told me it was going to Xela and it was the same price to I figured “what the heck?”. The problem with this bus was that I sat next to a man who was REALLY interested in getting to know me and if I had a boyfriend in the U.S. So, I did what any sensible girl would do in this situation and I made one up. The trouble is, you can’t just say he exists, you have to say how old he is and how long you have been together and if you have kids and if he is going to come visit you (26, 4 years, no, yes). He bought it, but then told me that since I was gone for 2 years I should find another boyfriend here. Sometimes you just can’t win.

The other problem was that when the ayudante told me he was going to go to Xela, what he really meant was that he was going to tell me I had to get off in Cuatro Caminos and find another bus to Xela which is like 30 minutes away. So I got off with this really nice lady and her son who were going to Xela as well and she told me I could follow her because she knew where the bus was. So she brought me to a bus that went to Xela but didn’t go the bus terminal. I decided to wait because I did in fact need to go to the terminal. So I sat on the side of the road (luggage piled around me) and waited while 2 more buses that were going to non-terminal Xela passed by. So I finally got a bus that told me it would take me to the bus terminal.

The problem with that bus was that the ayudante lied to me and stopped at an unknown location in Xela and told me that I had to get off because the bus wasn’t going any further (certainly not to the terminal). So I got off another deceptive bus and found myself in the middle of Xela. Luckily there were some other people there and I asked them if I could catch a bus to the terminal there…the answer was yes which was good because I didn’t think I could carry my stuff very much further (did I mention all I had eaten was a pancake and soda crackers?).

So eventually I got tossed onto a terminal-bound bus in Xela and made it to the actual terminal at long last. I made my way through the throng of buses to Guatemala City, Panajachel (Lake Atitlan), and lots of other exciting places looking for a bus to Cabrican. Every time you pass a bus her, the ayudante smiles really nicely and asks if you are going his way. When I said “no, gracias, voy a Cabrican” they looked confused (not a normal gringo destination) and pointed me in the right direction. So I made it (with all my things intact) to a bus that was headed to Cabrican. I sat next to a really nice older man who begged me to take his sons to the U.S. He didn’t really understand that my embassy connections only extend to swearing to uphold the constitution and being rewarded by a tiny tuna sandwich and a barefoot-grass moment at the ambassador’s house. Unfortunately, that doesn’t really help my find visas for Guatemalans.
So here I am in Cabrican. My room at Reina’s isn’t ready until Monday so I am chilling at Sara’s house and tomorrow is market day so we are going to buy everything I need to survive in Cabrican.

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