Wednesday, August 27, 2008
La Vida Primitiva
If you knew what kind of living situation I was in down here in Guatemala you would march down here and say to me "come home, immediately, young lady!" and then you would pull me by the ear and drag me back to America..with me kicking and screaming the whole way...
So, I arrived in San Pedro after a frightening bus ride through the coffee growing regions of Guatemala. There was some sort of traffic jam and then when the road cleared up a bit, it was like a big race to get to the front of the line..So, there we were on the side of a cliff trying to outrun every other bus (also stuffed full of people). We westerners sitting in the front of the bus had looks of sheer terror on our faces while the Guatemaltecos just yawned and enjoyed the ride in boredom.
My living situation here in Lago Atitlan is quite different than the Burgeois decadence i enjoyed in Antigua. Firstly, there are eight people living in the house. They all sleep in one room, and i have my own room. Bathroom? yeah, there is one; we all share it; there is no door, just a curtain. Does the toilet flush, you ask? Well...er...no...okay, kind of. You have to get a bucket of water and dump it down the toilet in order to flush it. Hot water for a shower? Ha! Get real.
The kitchen is outside--on the roof, amongst laundry, random doodads, and a large amount of useless things that the family really probably doesn't need but cant quite part with. They do not have an electric stove, rather they cook with a little fire over this grill like thing. Thus far, I have not gotten ill from the food, but I really think it is an act of God. I have had heaps of tortillas and black beans. As nicely as I could I told the nice Mayan lady, Rosa Cristina, that I have a sensitive stomach and it is better if I do not eat meat. I don't trust the meat here. In Antigua, hey, no worries, I will eat anything-- people have proper refrigeration and electric stoves.
The family is tremendously nice and the women dress in traditional Mayan clothing. They also speak some Mayan language with one another. But they are ever so sweet. Last night when the power went out (for 6 hours) due to rain, they made sure I was comfortable and had a candle. They are very patient with my Spanish and the kids enjoy attacking me.
Honestly, when I arrived, I really did not think that I could manage. I seriously considered getting a hotel for a week (they are like ten bucks a night) but then I realized, this is what builds character. And hey, I can handle a bit of discomfort for a few weeks of my life. This is the kind of story I am going to get to tell to my imperialistic friends back in my country. And ya know, after a few days of living rather primitively, I am actually enjoying it.