After a five thirty a.m. flight, a five hour bus ride on winding, pot-hole filled roads, and an awful taxi ride, I am finally in Xela. Wandering down the hill in search of purified water, I have to pause in wonderment at the sunset over the Santa Maria volcano. The sky has this reddish tint that I have seen nowhere else. Walking down the rough cobblestone streets, I contemplate how lucky I am to be back in Guatemala.
The taxi driver might have tried to rip me off because I am, and I quote, "an American"; I may be facing three months of rain and mudslides preventing travel, and I might be working for $2 an hour, but I´m back. I´m back in the land of chicken buses, traditional Mayan dress, and tamalitos. I´m back to a land I can´t even pretend to understand, and it feels great. Every day is a surprise: just why are the sidewalks two feet off the ground? Will there be an earthquake today? Will the neighborhood children set off fireworks at 3 a.m.? What in the world are they celebrating?
I have my nine month supply of Duncan Hines brownie mix, Skippy peanut butter, and a whole shelf of books to pull me through.