This morning we had to be back in Guatemala City for Nancy and Karen to attend a noon meeting which meant we had to leave Xela really, really early….like before the roosters could wake us up early. I’d like to think that maybe we were up early enough to wake some roosters and I feel a certain warped sense of satisfaction in that. While Nancy and Karen attended their meeting, I was left to get lunch with the menfolk. The menfolk wanted McDonald’s. I said “absolutely not” in my full-on Mom Voice. We had a nice, healthy lunch at a cute little café in the 4 Degrees North district. This district is a hip new mixed-use development designed to be walkable and lively with high-quality streetscapes and architecture. Back in the day, I was a landscape architect working for a firm that designed similar urban spaces and it was fun to talk urban design again even if it was to a captive audience who mostly just nodded and smiled.
Before coming on this trip Nancy warned me about how these trips involve a million moving parts and that plans are always changing at the last minute. I mostly nodded and smiled but thought to myself, “the hotels are booked, the classes are scheduled, how much can really change?” Well, she was right…..I guess you learn a thing or two after 26 trips to a place. Today, Eric, our driver, informed us that the hotel we were planning to stay at tonight was safe, but getting in and out of the neighborhood it was located in was decidedly not safe. Pick another place, he said. So that was a scramble. We ended up with some of us at Jeanette’s (a friend of Nancy and Dave’s) and some of us across the street in an Air BnB. I was at Jeanette’s and not only was I crashing in their home, but I was crashing the party they were hosting that night. Nonetheless, they graciously welcomed me, a total stranger, into their home. I just tried to keep a low profile and stay out of the way.
Today marked the halfway point in my trip and that along with being in a kind stranger’s house with her little family and lots of her friends left me feeling incredibly sad and homesick. I connected with my little family and the one friend who was still up to text me back and made the best of it…..had a little Walmart Wine and went to bed. We had to be up with the roosters again in the morning so we could start heading south to Chiquimulilla. Our adventures in Chiqui ended up being my favorite part of the entire trip.