15 January 2008
I sit down in seat 27E and immediately bring out my book and journal; as if I would actually get anything done. Why is it I always think I’m going to accomplish something constructive on a plane? Especially one that is taking off from LAX at midnight?
A new day. A new seat.
This one smells of stale air and old apholstry, and it's crawling with little fuzzy haired children. We smile and try communicating in our broken Spanish, but are not met with so much as a smile. Still, their little-voice chatter and gentle hum of sleep is warming the foggy morning. Alyson is convinced this is the best way to travel- by public transit- and by “best” we mean “cheapest.” And I have no objections to any vehicle that will take me to Lake Atitlan for only $5. Alyson looks up the phrase, “too expensive” (caro) and “cheaper” (mas barato). She observes, “everyone here has six kids, and they're all under the age of three!”
We've been robbed.
Alyson already decided she was ready for a protein bar. She stands up. “My laptop is gone.”
“My laptop is gone!”
“No…No…It can't be. Did it maybe just slide?”
“No.” She said, patting all along the carpeted shelf above our heads. “No. It’s gone.”
I jumped out to look as she took down her small red satchel. Then I realize, “O my gosh! My backpack is gone!!!”
We have finally found a hotel- $8 per person with hammocks and a lakeview! I'm so hungry I don't know what to do with myself and Alyson and I keep falling asleep on the bumpy boatride to San Pedro.
We go to eat at the Budda Bar, where I have the best meal of my life- some kind of pork tenderloin Chinese noodle dish and it. is. OUTSTANDING. Alyson gets up to challenge the locals and hot Swiss boys to a game of pool. Just when I'm ready to leave because the natives are getting a bit friendly for my taste, a young man walks in, smiling, introducing himself to everyone.
"HENRY!!!" I cry, before I even realize who he is.
"O! YOU!!!" he smiles back, reaching out to shake my hand. I explain to our audience that Henry was my boat guide last November and that he lived in the states for a while- hence why his English is so good. I recount to him how our bags were stolen and how we were ripped off on the boatrides and charged twice. He nods in sympathy and we chat a while longer. But when he pulls out his grass, explaining, "California weed!" I excuse myself and we pay our tab.
I can guess it's a little after 5pm and Alyson's already passed out on her bed. I'm exhausted and bleary eyed, but so excited for a new day tomorrow! I also had a glimpse inot what might be, should I decide to simply "travel" this year. A lot of nights of NOT drinking, excusing myself from the smoke, and annoyance at the stoner mentality of existing with no direction or purpose.
This still leaves open for a professional career in Austraila or nannying in Italy or France...