Phil is all alone. Short stories from Guatemala.
I was travelling alone for a while through some of Mexico, Belize and into Guatemala. Sure Jayne was with me, but could often be found in her standard position:
She was in looooooove, which also made her distracted and boooooooring. We used to sit and discuss things in the evenings. Now we talked far less, she texted and skyped far more. She had known Christian for 5 days. 5 of them.
So I fully supported her flying to see him. Something had to give. Either she would get married in Cozumel and I’d continue on my own, or she’d come back alone and we’d start riding again. Either way, she had to put the phone down. I wasn’t going to continue hanging out with her and her phone. Among other things, it was simply embarrassing when with mixed company. So Jayne went to Cozumel, and we now know how all that worked out.
While Jayne was gone, I was flying solo. Flying totally solo in fact. I didn’t even have Jugs to hang out with. My bike had not been handling great and I was concerned about the suspension wearing. With Jugs in the shop, I had time to kill. Fortunately a couple couch surfers, Javier and Cindy, took me in and gave me a home for a week while showing me Guatemala City sights and nightlife . Muchas Gracias amigos!
Many thingsÂ happened while Jayne was away, and even once she came back. To condense this all for your reading pleasure, I present “Eight short stories and one slightly longer one”:
#1 Phil goes to the zoo
I saw animals there.
#2 Bank machines hate me. I hate TD.
I had a terrible time trying to get money out in Guatemala. I tried over 20 different bank machines over multiple days without winning money. I hear you say “Phil, maybe there was something wrong with your card”. No. The card was fine. I called my bank (TD) three times during my struggles. Each time I was assured my card was fine, after they tried to tell me it was my fault for a variety of reasons. Each time I would then walk an hour round trip to the nearest bank machine. Finally on the third call, after having to take a credit card cash advance to, you know, LIVE, I insisted and the call center transferred me to a ‘manager’. The manager told me only two banks work in Guatemala. I tried one (BAC bank, for the record). It worked. Why this took three calls and hours of wasted life to get this information they obviously have on file somewhere I’ll never know. TD bank is terrible.
#3. I lost my bag in a cab.
I had just been in Antigua for the day to play ultimate, then drink into the night with ultimate friends.
I left my bag in that cab. My bag had many useful items in it at the time, none moreso than my size 13 frisbee cleats. Without them, my “ride” becomes far less “ultimate”. I was not happy.
A friend had the driver’s phone number, so I got my bag back the next day at no cost. I was then happy again.
#4 Being part of the Taliban gets you free beer
While I was out for a walk, three guys in a taxi pull up. One calls out to me “Hey Taliban!”. Not the first time this has happened, so naturally I walk over to say hi. They jovially invite me into their taxi. I get in. We drive around the block, stop, sit on the curb and they buy me beer for the afternoon.
#5 My spanish needs improvement.
I went to school. Two schools actually. For a couple weeks. I now can order beer AND ask what time it is. Just don’t ask me anything that requires an answer in the future tense.
#6 I got an abscess in my tooth.
More correctly, the abscess was in my gum. My Vancouver dentist had told me before I left that I might have problems with my top right molar. It forms a little pocket at the gumline, trapping food bits. She was right. It did cause problems. It really hurt.
In totally related news: seeing a dentist in Guatemala, with examination, xrays, and a follow up visit costs 70Q (about 10$US).
A week of antibiotics (and new floss) fixed me right up.
#7 I lived with a family in San Pedro. We checked on their corn.
It was neat to see how all the plots are demarcated with a small tree, shrub or pile of rocks. Otherwise it just looks like one never ending plot of corn on the volcano. Oh right, everything is growing on a volcano.
From this plot they grow all the corn they need for tortillas for the entire year. (More on our time with this family in a later post)
#8 Road trip to Monterrico beach
Steve, Nick, Debora and I went to the beach. The beach is ‘black’ due to volcano proximity, and thus incredibly hot during the day. We swam in the morning and night. Steve got rocked by the vicious beach break, slamming his face into the sandy bottom.
A turtle kissed him all better.
I went for a walk and met some locals.
It rained really hard at night.
#9 We hadn’t seen Erik and Tanya for a while (or “Jayne gets punched”)
They came to see us in San Pedro.
Erik and I started off the reunion by schooling some local kids at basketball.
Then we all started drinking to celebrate the win and, uh, apparently arm wrestling too.
We continued onwards to the “Zoola bar”. There was a beer bong and a floaty boat in a pool in a bar. We had a good time.
Eric fell in the pool too, fully clothed with non-waterproof camera in pocket and all. He walked home in his boxers.
After leaving the bar and finding Eric and Jayne scandalously clothed and waiting patiently for Tanya and I to show up, Tanya punched Jayne in the head then attacked Erik.
Sooooo this story is not really a short one. But it is the last one, so enjoy.
Jayne had returned from Cozumel relieved of her need to text constantly. This was pleasing to Erik, who would now tolerate her company. Erik and Tanya came to visit us for the day from where they had been staying in nearby Panajachel. We went to the “Zoola” bar. We got intoxicated.
Doing yoga in a bar intoxicated. Strip down naked and play in a boat intoxicated, falling-fully-clothed-into-a-pool-with-your-camera-in-your-pocket intoxicated. We had fun.
I don’t recall Erik and Jayne leaving (likely too much yoga) but when Tanya and I noticed they were gone we decided to follow them. Not finding them at the hotel Tanya and Erik had in town, we next checked where Jayne and I were staying at the School.
Jayne and Eric had left the bar, and Eric walked Jayne home. Not having his keys for the hotel, Erik waited for Tanya at our place. This was ok with Javier (school owner). We know he was ok with it because Jayne had to wake him up by yelling outside the house to get in, as I had the keys.
While we were walking, I did mention to Tanya that this was a family home and she would need to stay quiet. She did not hear that over her drunken thought process that Erik was surely making sweet sweet love to my sister.
We arrived, Tanya started screaming and punching. Jayne was fine, as was Erik, but Tanya perhaps realized how wrong she had been and she ran away. Erik and I spent the following 4 hours searching the town for her. We looked everywhere, returning to the Zoola bar twice, borrowing rum from another party, and walking into another bar, this one closed.
The final patrons, an Irish couple, and the bartender initially resisted our presence. Soon however, we were jumping off the “plank” (aka gap in the railing) and into the lake. Well I jumped. Erik was more pushed, and in that moment lost his sandals in the lake.
Drunk, frustrated by his girlfriend’s actions and disappearance and now having shoeless size 14 feet in Guatemala, Erik got upset. The altercation that followed didn’t lead to blows, but it did lead to the bartender waking the manager at 3am, who threatened to get his gun while yelling and trying to start a fight with a very tall former rugby player. Erik stole the Irishman’s shoes to even things, and proceeded to throw one of them in the lake. This would somehow end the altercation, with none of us being shot.
Oh right, Tanya. We found her back at the hotel with a rolled ankle and soaking wet. She had gone back to the Zoola bar and dove into the pool to get the keys that had fallen out of Erik’s pocket. Somewhere along the way she hopped a fence and slid down a hill. Probably why the fence was there. Erik then insisted on stumbling me home, certain there was a gang out to get us. He did, and then I had to walk him back to the hotel, as he got himself horribly lost. I slept well.
It’s ok though, Jayne was unhurt and we’re all still friends.
Motorcycle minute short story
Jugs had sloppy steering and clunky suspension. It was worsening by the day.
Took Jugs in to see Klaus and the Kawasaki family in Guatamala city. I had been told the guide bushings in the suspension were worn way back up in Alaska… 35000km ago.Â I needed a checkup. In typical Latin American style, the bike would always be ready “tomorrow”. But they were doing me a huge favor and I didn’t really need the bike at all, so I wasn’t too worried. “Tomorrow” came after a little over a week. It cost me about 40$USD. And my suspension didn’t need to be replaced or even have parts repaired. Only problem was a loose headset. Should get a socket for that. Anyways, thanks Klaus!!
I’ll leave you all with advice from the bathroom wall. Take it or leave it: