Friday, January 25, 2008

San Pedro, Lake Atitlan.

January 17. 2008
10.40 am

There's a clicking inside our internet cafe where Alyson has settled into her book and latte and I am savouring my banana yogurt drink in the fancy glass. In calculating our expenses, we've spent approximately $30 a day (including in country travel costs). Alyson thinks it's steep and I'm ready to drop another $10 to go horseback riding for a few hours.

January 18. 2008

Mes amigos esta bien y yo espando estoy. ugh. Mi espanol es horrific. Truly horrible. My instructor is a sweet, patient slip of a woman named Rosario, who must need painkillers to endure my attempts at Espanol. My memory is for crap. Honestly. You'd think I'd done drugs or something, my short-term is so fried! It's hard and undoubtedly painful to even construct a sentence, but the rhythm of the language itself, the pronunciation and the rolling of the syllables has it's moments of clarity and beauty. Even when it comes from me.

January 19. 2008.
It's the middle of the afternoon and I am laying in a hammock in a treehouse. That is all.
Gracias, Vicente. Gracias.

January 20. 2008
When you travel, somehow time seems to speed up. One day becomes the equivalent of a week. Someone you wouldn't have spoken to or even acknowledged in the states is suddenly your best friend when you recognize them in a foreign city 3 days later. After one night of dinner and dancing, it's like a romance that's lasted a month. At least, that's what this trip has felt like.

Alyson immediately liked Mike and Tim, the cute Canadians we didn't dare look at when we were in the LAX, eating beside each other at Malibu Al's in the middle of the night. And while she felt comfortable chatting to Mike when we picked up our luggage in Guatemala City, I still wasn't much prepared to talk to strangers. But three days later when Tim bumped into me at the Internet Cafe in San Pedro, you would've thought we were best friends from college! By the time we were done with dinner, Alyson was ready to bring at least one of the boys home to Arizona!

Yesterday I went to school early. An impossibility, I know. No one was around, so I figured I could kayak for a 1/2 hour until class started. When I arrived at the bottom of the hill, there were two guys playing Frisbee. The old crazy dude I consistently avoided in town, and a young, friendly looking Southern boy. Wouldn't you know he actually got me to play Frisbee? Again- another improbable event! In any case, I learned the Atlanta, Georgia Chris was a musician learning Spanish through a host family and the local school. Even though he asked me to cut class so we could continue to talk, I somehow held my ground on meeting Rosario, but agreed to meet up afterwards so he could teach me some guitar.

I don't know what it is about meeting someone you connect with where the chemistry is right and the humor and sweetness is there and the attraction is mutual, but somehow it seems to occour more frequently when you're out of your element. Perhaps because you don't have anyone else around or perhaps it's because you're so grateful to be able to speak in your native tongue or maybe it's because you've finally slowed down enough to notice there are other people around, but whatever the cause, it's undeniable that it occours.

Chris came back to the hotel that night with Alyson and I, and we talked like high-schoolers who had been passing notes all day. Listening to music and talking about our favourite artists and integrity of lyrics and performance and singing along to his latest song about Guatemala... Alyson even abandoned me at one point, filling me with the nervousness that (had it not been for the placement of the guitar and mini-speakers between us) we might have kissed. My only regret was not hitting "record" when he softly played a song about the cave diving in Shamook Champage. We parted ways later, agreeing to meet up at another restaurant, but when we took too long and didn't see him later, I felt crushed with the same disappointment as if my high school neighbour boyfriend moved away in the middle of the night. Tragic. Imagining all the fun we COULD have had, if only he were at dinner that night! We would have gone horseback riding (he loves to gallop) and kayaking (he had never been far out enough to go to the black sands beach). He would have finished helping me learn at least one song on my "to learn" playlist, and in the end, I wouldn't have felt guilty or strange about kissing him all night long.

But when Nicholas and I ran into him on the way home in a dark ally tonight, I almost didn't recognize him and we had not much left to say, since he knew I'd be leaving in the morning and he needed to get back to his host family's home before too late.

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