Yeah, yeah, it’s been a while, I know. But, trust me, this is for your benefit since if I were to write one of these every week like we usually do on the road you’d learn far more than you ever needed to about such intriguing developments such as Laynni’s “Nerds” fetish, or my personal take on how clean underwear really need to be. At least if I keep it sporadic there’s a chance of us actually having done something interesting – like coordinating a charity event with the Guatemalan bocce ball champion, designing a less traceable growth hormone for aging professional baseball players or chasing a lizard into the brush. Before you get too excited, though, we’ve only actually done one of those things so far, and having said that you’ve pretty much heard the whole story. Sorry we couldn’t be there in your time of need, Mark McGwire.
What I can do is give you a general overview of our day to day life in beautiful San Marcos. Through trial and error we have succeeded in trimming the week down to a much more efficient 3 days as opposed to the Socialist 7 we were trained to obey through our formative years. With no job we haven’t been able to come up with a compelling reason to have a weekend. Saturday – gone. Sunday, however, has been retained because we really like having a day where you are basically expected, nay – obligated, to lie around as useless as an extra nipple. And obviously we needed to hang on to Thursday because that’s when Survivor and the Office are on and, honestly, the hour of downloaded TV we watch each night is truly one of our daily highlights, ranking right up there with using dampened paper towel to kill ants and measuring how much toilet paper I can save simply by being thrifty. At first glance Wednesday seemed to be a keeper because it could still be the middle day in a 3-day week and we’d still get to say “Hump Day”, which has never stopped being enjoyable, but in the end we couldn’t come up with any other functional qualities. Gone. Tuesday – c’mon, really? Tequila and Slo-Pitch, and it really isn’t the season for either in my mind. That left us to choose between Monday and Friday, which may appear to be an obvious choice at first glance, like the need for disinfectant at the Y, but not so fast. Friday relies mainly on its status as the start of the weekend, which we’ve already purged, and the adrenal tension that builds throughout the day in anticipation of hitting the pub after work for a few pints, several more “just one more”-pints, all the while slowly convincing yourself that, unlike every other day in your predictable life, you aren’t hungry at 6pm and don’t really need supper, a decision that inevitably ends badly. Monday, however, underrated Monday, well, its true value lies in its role as a foil for all the other days. The day that everyone (especially Ziggy and daytime hookers) love to hate. Its wretchedness simply serves to make the other days better, the same way Olympic Ice Dancing can make even Synchronized Diving seem like a pretty kickass sport, relatively. It’s all about balance. You can’t have Good without Evil, Joy without Sorrow or Natalie Portman without Calista Flockhart. Hence, Monday is in. Plus, according to our “TV Spreadsheet”, that’s the day we watch Criminal Minds and Californication. No exceptions. Seriously, it’s right there in My Documents with all my other spreadsheets: “Packing List”, “Books”, “Cash Flow”, “Barefoot Holdings”, “Baseball Draft”, “Golf Draft”, “World Cup Draft” and “Hebrew Slang Terms for Rim Job”.
Which brings me (very slowly, I admit) to what we’ve been up to lately. Big plans, as always. But we haven’t been getting quite as much done as originally anticipated, as we’ve been “pacing ourselves” because we “don’t want to overdo it” and “want to save some of the good stuff for later” so “the French won’t get us down”. Actually, this whole routine has started to become a bit of a travel tradition for us – during an unexpected spurt of energy, maybe after a nap, or some intense vegetable haggling, I’ll suddenly come up with a long list of all the different things we should accomplish during our stay. Laynni then smiles indulgently, they same way people smile at Tom Cruise when he tells people that he definitely does not want to touch that guy’s wiener, and then she starts methodically working to eliminate them one by one, strategically choosing my weaker moments, like when I’m either hung over, overwhelmed by our tiny role in the universe, or busy building an Enviro-friendly seal club. Regardless of the specific circumstances she starts every conversation with “You know, nothing says we have to <insert fun-sounding in the future, but vaguely distasteful to consider doing at this very moment, activity here>”.
Planned: Hike 3 days from Xela to Atitlan
Accomplished: Got drunk and watched football/soccer (at least 3 days)
Planned: Climb Volcan Pedro
Accomplished: Trimmed my beard
Planned: Kayak the north coast of the lake
Accomplished: Scrubbed the colour out of the armpits of my white t-shirt
Planned: Take more Spanish lessons
Accomplished: Searched the internet for what chemical urine smells like
Planned: Have “All Kinds of Sex”
Accomplished: Re-watched episodes of The Office
Planned: Daily Yoga on the roof at sunrise
Accomplished: Daily Yoga on the roof at sunrise
Well, not me, exactly. However, one morning I did drink some rancid milk….twice. Yup, turned out I was right the first time. There was something off about it.
Anyway, “nothing says we” won’t get to all these things eventually, but in the meantime there are a number of theories floating around out there about our laziness. In the end, though, I’d have to say the main problem is that there just aren’t enough days in the week.
One of the things I did manage, I always do, no matter where we happen to be, was to watch the Super Bowl. Fun night, with fifty or sixty people cheering for New Orleans, everyone except for me and this weird hippy chick who kept getting mixed up and screaming “Go Andy!” Twelve hours of drinking (with a short mid-afternoon nap, intentional and all) and a series of comical misadventures right out of an hilarious episode of Heroes led to me spending the night in San Pedro in a $6 hotel room with fabulous view of the neighbour’s re-bar, no pillowcases and just one sheet. On top for warmth? Or underneath as a buffer between my skin and a mattress where thousands of guests have rubbed their genitals knowing they’ll never be back? All right, the term “misadventures” may be misleading, it was more of asking a tuk tuk driver how much to San Marcos – Nope, too much. What about the guy next to you? Nope, too much. Ok, I’ll just stumble around town until I give up and pay for an extraordinarily dubious bed somewhere, just see if I don’t. Live and learn. Well, live, anyway. Now whenever I go over to San Pedro to drink (1 to 3 times per week depending on EPL and Champion’s League scheduling) it’s the early game for me, pounding back that last litre of beer by 4:30 so I can make my way all the way across town (was the sun always this bright?) in time for the last boat of the day at 5pm, on which I spend the next half hour slowly cruising across the lake at that uncomfortable stage of inebriation where it feels like everything should be happening way faster than it seems to be, and when you look around you notice the way your head moves far more than is normal, and you start to wonder if time had stopped when you weren’t paying attention. Like when you’re getting a vasectomy at the free clinic.
During one of these excursions I met up with a group of English Chelsea fans around 9am working on rekindling their still smoldering drunk from the night before. Nothing unusual about that, I can assure you, but amongst an entire morning of amusingly ludicrous conversation there was a particular rant that I felt stood out for its profundity and elegance. Upon hearing that his buddy intended to pick up a Guatemalan blanket to take home for his girlfriend he issued this carefully worded response:
“Blanket! I buy my fookin’ uncle a blanket! And that bastard gave my niece herpes! You might give a blanket to some Saturday-nighter from Essex, but if you’re going to give your actual girlfriend a blanket you at least better get her some ribbed condoms, too. Or a carrot.”
So there you go, some helpful hints for next holiday season.
One morning we were shocked to suddenly discover ourselves literally hiking to Santa Cruz (look, we’re really doing it!), which turned out to be a fascinating few hours of walking along the hills overlooking the lake – great views, lots of ups and downs, and a bottle of Coke at the end. Which basically sums up hiking, as far as I can tell.
Just a few days ago we joined a group of fellow Pasaj-Cappers (the name of both the place we’re staying and the topless barbershop quartet I’m founding) for a day-trip to the Fuentes Georginas hot springs, a couple hours north near Xela, Guatemala’s second city. We’re grateful since clearly we weren’t going to get anywhere close to organizing that on our own yet it turned out to be a pretty cool experience. A beautiful forest setting with clear, steaming water that didn’t smell nearly as much like sulfur and dead skin as most hot springs do and, as always, a bevy of 90 year old ladies in ill-fitting white underclothes to ogle. Even the mysterious chest pimples I developed the next day couldn’t ruin the experience.
That entire highlands area was very picturesque as well, with every steep lush hill dotted with small garden plots, many of them perched on the side of 45 degree slopes. We found it odd in that they don’t use terracing like many places do, and I’m not sure how they keep everything from sliding away in the rain, but, hey, I’m no expert on farming. Or Sri Lankan self-circumcision. Or shellfish. Whatever they were doing clearly works though, as it is apparently some of the best vegetable-growing country in Central America. We stopped off in the nearby village of Zunil and stumbled across one of the crazier markets we’ve seen – every type of vegetable you can imagine moving in, moving out, moving around randomly, and all gigantic specimens in gigantic bulk quantities. And by “bulk”, obviously I mean the absolute largest quantity that will fit on the back of a 110 pound man. Being surrounded by all this enormous produce was very surreal, as we couldn’t help but feel strangely small among squashes the size of Chinese gymnasts and radishes big enough to choke Courtney Love.
Well, I think that’s plenty for today. So, in the immortal words of champion poon-hound Tiger Woods:
“I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled. Thanks to money and fame, I didn’t have to go far to find them.”
Which is exactly how I ended up buying that terrible white Stetson in Paris.
Don’t hate the player, Laynni, hate the game.