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06 July 2007 @ 10:16 am
So, I left yesterday for Guatemala from Indianapolis, bidding my LRL farewell with a fanciful twist of the ankle and trip of the Croc. What better way to say goodbye. She´s perfect. I tried really hard not to cry, it´s true.

My airplane buddy on the flight to Charlotte was this dude who smelled like sweet liquor. He asked me, ¨Do you think there´s smoking in the bars at the Charlotte Airport?¨I was like, ¨uh, it is the south, so probably.¨ The flight to Guatemala went off without a hitch. It was wonderful, if long. I sat next to this adorable little girl and her mother. They were kind and curious. We didn´t talk much.

All of the things that are supposed to be terrible about international flight were just fine - I didn´t lose my luggage and customs was fast, I didn´t get pickpocketed... But then I couldn´t get a taxi. Luckily, these two gorgeous queens (coming back to Guate from SF Pride - really!) called a taxi for me and I took the taxi to the Lineas America bus teriminal where I caught the bus to Xela. The problem? I never had the chance to change my money in the airport because the banco in the airport was closed. So I paid the taxi driver in American dolares (paid wayyyy too much) then had to pay the bus driver in dolares, too. And still paid wayyy too much, but got enough change back to pay for some food at a gas station across the street from the hotel. Before that it had been only Clif Bars and a cup of coffee to eat or drink all day.

By rickety old bouncy ass-breaking bus, I arrived in Xela (Quetzaltenango) at 8.30 or so last night and immediately found a hotel that was as near as possible to the bus stop. Having never been in this town or country before, I decided against plowing forward and instead went for the most convenient. As a result, I stayed in this incredibly shitty room that skeezed me out big time. It was intense - the room was tiny with windows that opened to the interior of the building where a half dozen men were watching the Copa America fútbol tournament and talking loudly. When I had to piss in the middle of the night, I just followed of the sound of the person I heard pissing before me, stumbled through a door and tried not to piss on the seat. It was terrifying. This morning when I brushed my teeth, I finally understood the layout of the bathroom. Oh well...

Already, my English is slower and my Spanish faster. I talked to LRL a few hours ago and I finally feel centered. I need to email my folks and other concerned parties, but I´m starting to feel way less helpless and way more intrepid. I really love Guatemala. There´s a bread store in Xela called Xelapan that has the best breads I´ve ever tasted (of breads that are made out of bleached white flour). And the grocery stores are really interesting. The people are nice. My language school looks really good. I met a bunch of other students this morning and I´m super stoked. They all seem weird, dorky, nervous and willing to meet new people, particularly new English-speaking people.

This Internet café that I´m sitting in is playing Pearl Jam (what´s more, my favorite album) and I´m so content. The keyboard is weird - configured for Spanish language users, so it´s really challenging to post this email. The punctuation is, well, totally different. But I finally figured out how to put accents on words and I finally got a cup of coffee. I´m eating lunch with my host family at 11, or was that 1...?

More about my host family later. I should go so that I have time to get lost on the way home...