A Travellerspoint blog

September 2007

Its all getting moshed together.

sunny 25 °C
View South America - out of Sorts on lidster's travel map.

Well it was bound to happen at some point but I figured I would have another week or two to at least. Managed to lose a day on Friday, gain one on Sunday and still not know which way was up on Monday. Apparently its the end of September as well. If I could remember when I got to whichever country I am now in I could work out how long I had been here for. Oh, damn it, I've forgotten the date again....and now I don't recall why I was trying to work it out in the first place. Bugger this for a laugh, off swimming.

I have been assured that all of this is quite normal stuff. The human brain becomes conditioned - pavlovian response sort of thing only with less saliva and no bells - anyway the brain becomes conditioned to only having 2 week breaks at a time and starts freaking out when it realises that not only has normality failed to return but that, in fact, it is unlikely to make a reappaearance anytime soon, if ever. Or if you want to get even deeper it starts to wonder whether the reality it thinks it became conditioned to actually existed at all or was in fact merely an hallucinogenic episode - or alternatively some sort of sensory punishment - depending of course on how you look at your past. Glass half empty or half full. With me? Good. Anyhoo, all this results in some irregular waveform induced spacial discombobulation which itself causes you to have regular discussions with fellow "lost-its" regarding your favourite discovery channel program. I personally liked the one on hyenas with the one on sloths coming a close second. Never liked Meer cats really. Not my type of rodent.

Happily though, all's well that ends well. Sasho is turning up on Friday. My Spanish is actually pretty good - not only just the rude words (although if you don't believe me you can "mete en tu culo"). Please note that when I say good I actually mean better than you would expect for an English bloke with sub-normal IQ levels and no natural language ability. Aside from that I am playing poker reglarly, winning occasionally and generally practising for my advanced level "hanging out" qualification. It is going well so far.

Travellers Bible Rule #2: for those of you still reading. Much respect and general murmurings of admiration must be forthcoming for the most revered of all creatures the eternal traveller can be fortunate enough to run into - the traveller who doesn't. Generally on the run from debts, crimes, ex-wives, interpol, colombian drug bosses or a combination of all of the aforementioned. These travellers have clearly been generally hanging out for several decades. They will speak some of the local language but not a lot. They will generally wear clothing which although well worn clearly places them at Woodstock or at least in the vicinity. Hair long. Beard very long. Most importantly of all they will under no circumstances travel anywhere. They are happy to wander around all day but they will certainly not get on a plane, train, boat or even a bus - although should the bus have a chicken in it then they may reconsider. They are almost as local as the locals themselves and they are here for good. The main man in San Pedro is called Dave. If you rock past you can't miss him. Buy him a beer early evening. You will not regret it.

Photos of cocktails and adventures with Sasho to follow. Apologies but it takes about half an hour to upload a photo - and today I cannot be arsed. As such have a look at my niece again - very cute.

Take care. Be nice to each other. Its a crazy world.
Lid

p.s. mum and dad - no need to worry - quite aside from what you may think after reading the above I am still avoiding the wacky backy.

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Posted by lidster 14:45 Archived in Guatemala Comments (0)

Espanglish

How to relax once your travels begin as well as the rules of the modern traveller.

rain 23 °C

Hi - am midway through my second week of Spanish courses and I would have to say that I am more confused now than when I started. If they are updating the Spanish dictionary and need to know what is masculine or feminine then all they need to do is ask me and then put the opposite. I had virtually a 100% record yesterday. Apparently it is quite easy but the simplicity of it has eluded me so far. Have met a bunch of interesting people - most of them seem weird or wonderful in some way or another. Played poker on Sunday night - the impressive buy-in being 20 Q each time - thats about 3 US. I won almost 14 dollars from my initial investment at which point I realised that the friendly folks who invited me to play actually work here on local wages and that most of them had to go home immediately as a result of running out of drinking funds. Unlikely to go back to that specific bar anytime soon. Note to self winners are not always popular.

In other news this place is virtually flooded every day from 2.30pm to about 3 am. It is sunny and warm in the morning but by the time I leave the school I am dodging frogs (amphibious kind) and avoiding the watefalls from each of the buildings high-tech drainage systems - I planned to take a picture for you to fully experience the wonder of my "street" on the way home yesterday but it was raining too hard so I didn't bother.

I am slowly becoming accustomed to the ways of the eternal traveller. There are some fairly simple rules I have observed so far and have decided to record them for posterity - apologies to those offended.

Rule 1: Whatever the weather and wherever you are you must at all times wear a garment weaved by locals on a traditional machine with maximum effort hence minimum automation and preferably woven at altitude, if possible with the hair from the underside of a yak. Said garment must be the wrong size, preferably falling apart and if it looks like it has a collection of food stains on it then all the merrier.

I honestly think it most noble to support traditional workers maintaining their age old methods of textile fabrication. However - if I had seen any (and I mean any) of the locals wearing any of the locally produced weaved goods I may have been tempted - however they - like me - are wearing nikes and berghaus jackets. Sandals and some multicolour hemp weave atrocity you bought for 8 bucks from a market are foolish attire in the tropics during the rainy season. I'm going local and staying dry.

More to follow in the coming weeks. Beads and bangles sure to follow as well as the trade off between price and quality of guate rum cocktails.

Take care and I hope you are all in super form.

Posted by lidster 20:11 Archived in Guatemala Comments (2)

Panajachel and San Pedro

Lunch and then Spanish lessons.

all seasons in one day 25 °C
View South America - out of Sorts on lidster's travel map.

Spent a night in Pana - as we locals call it - and it is nice enough. More of a staging post for the relentless procession of hippies and cheapskates which use it to take a boat from. Aldous Huxley once wrote that this is the most beautiful lake in the world. Not sure if he saw many lakes or was even considered an officianado of such things but for me he definitely knows his oats when it comes to mountain lakes. San Pedro itself used to be a coffee town but the prices crashed (not sure fair trade coffee has benefited any of these locals as yet) and they diversified into growing a multitude of different toxic and non-toxic plants. The former being the reason that most of the other tourists seem to be in San Pedro. Each evening I fall asleep to the sound of copious insect life, waves lapping against the lake shore and the low hum of giggling stoners cashing in a few quetzales at the gates of lucidity.

Below you may get an idea of what Mr Huxley was thinking:

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Spanish lessons are fun. Have 2 local blokes as teachers who seem to delight in making dirty jokes in Spanish (of which I understand nothing) and drinking lots of coffee while ogling the female spanish students. Their understanding of things either preterite or imperfect far exceed mine however, which is as it should be.

The locals are the friendliest I have met so far. Although that may be explained by the relative remoteness of the location (or potentially the weed plantations over the back of the San Pedro volcano), I prefer to think they are just nice people round here. With most of the people stoned and me enjoing an easy life with a dictionary and some verb tables I think I will stay for a while.

Oh - and each morning I get woken up by this view from my balcony in the hostel.

IMG_0266.jpg

Which, for now, is quite sufficient to be going along with.

Take care. Be good.
Lid

Posted by lidster 17:40 Archived in Guatemala Comments (2)

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