Another full day of surprises and challenges or rather surprising challenges. Before leaving the project at Malacatan, I was asked to translate a conversation between the American volunteers, Janet and Dennis, the board members of the Guatemalan association which will actually run and own the project and the project manager from the NGO that is buying the land and constructing the buildings. A little complicated.
It seems, through lack of communication or something that the property just became smaller. No legal description was included in the offer to purchase, only the total amount of land, so now the volunteers found out that the one boundary is somewhere between 6 and 30 feet closer from where they were originally shown it was. Oops. The conversation went relatively well and three of the Guatemalan Board, and Dennis set off to actually measure the boundary to find out if it is 6 or perhaps 30 feet in from hedge that borders the property. This type of omission of accurate information does occur here and I do hope they are able to resolve their differing positions.
Fortunately Corrina, Jaz and I had a deadline to hit the road for our trip back to Antigua and we said our goodbyes and headed east rising out of the subtropical heat. The road was busy with many trucks, some double trailers carrying incredibly big loads of sugar cane to the processing plant. I think their top speed downhill is only 60 km (35mph) and uphill, well, I could walk faster.
I like driving in Guatemala. There are none of the frivolous and fancy things like speed limits, or actually any highway regulations to stop one from driving like it is a video game. The only difference from a video game is that here on the highway there is no rest button and you die. Wrecks are common and deadly. Lots of obstacles like animals, boulders in the road, landslides, many times cars in the oncoming lane passing on blind curves and suddenly they are in your lane. Wow, this is almost fun.
Then there are the chicken buses -turbo charged diesel converted school buses driven by men with an overt death wish or drivers that believe they are invincible because they have a Jesus decal on their windshield. Whichever the case, I give them lots of room and expect crazy stuff from them. Riding in a chicken bus is like a life and death Disney ride on steroids – going around curves so fast the wheels on one side might as well be off the ground. I included a few road trip pictures to entice you to call your AAA or CAA road club for maps, so you too can make the trip.
We did arrive in Antigua five hours later, my hands still clenched in the shape of the steering wheel. I quickly found my hotel for the night, dropped off my stuff and headed out to do some errands. I had brought a pair of freshly polished shoes from Canada, so what else would I do but look for Domingo, our shoe shine friend to polish them again. That is a picture of him, his brother and sister. I then went to our favorite silversmith to do some covert shopping, (don’t read this Heather), stopped by to say hello to Heather/Alicia’s mandolin teacher and Dora, the weaver who makes our Somos bracelets.
After that flurry of activity, and sending some emails, I had a quick snack (cheese pupusas) from a street vendor at the Merced Church and I am now in my hotel waiting for Corrina to call signaling she has arrived in town, so we can go to dinner. After that who knows, perhaps a midnight drive in the moonlight. But driving at night here is another story.
Here’s hoping you always have a safe road trip,