Tropical Depression 12E Angered by Stupid Name

San Marcos, Guatemala – Residents of Guatemala are struggling to cope with the effects of Tropical Depression 12E this week, a low pressure system that is proving to be much more destructive than its rather dull name would suggest. Prominent weather forecasting organizations are denying responsibility for the unexpected severity of “12E”, claiming there was no evidence to suggest it would exceed the usual qualities of this type of weather scheme.

“As the name suggests, these systems tend to be fairly subtle, usually just resulting in a vaguely unpleasant feeling and overall gloomy mood, the source of which is often difficult to pinpoint. Overall, very similar to the effect of an ugly receptionist in a small office environment.

What we thought was bad at the time

Worst case, maybe she smells a bit like Vagisil, too. Unpleasant, surely, but rarely responsible for this type of mayhem.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for 12E is attributing its uncharacteristic intensity to outrage over the pedestrian and impotent name it’s been saddled with.

“We simply believe that with all the damage, destruction and death we have successfully caused over the past few weeks we deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as these higher profile storms. Just because we don’t have enough wind to qualify as a “cyclone” or “hurricane” doesn’t mean we can’t have a kick-ass name that might look good on a t-shirt or the back of a leather vest. Hurricane Irene – that’s the nasty lesbian aunt that washed your mouth out with soap whenever you burped. Tropical Storm Lee – a raging alcoholic from northern England rabidly obsessed with Newcastle United. Tropical Cyclone Jova – the unusually hairy Romanian dance teacher suspected of statutory rape. We just feel we’re in that same class.”

He went on to warn that 12E intends to continue lashing out across Central America until it is taken seriously enough to warrant a cooler name.

How wet? Soooo wet.

Among the list of suggestions provided were Cloud Hell, Pit of Despair T-Bone and Latino Storm Darren.

Travel Update

As I mentioned last time, the biggest difference this time around at Pasaj-Cap has been the weather (maybe you’ve heard about Tropical Depression 12E??) and the way it’s affected everything else. We were just amazed at how high the lake was when we arrived over two weeks ago but since then it has simply continued to rain, on and off, all day, every day, and we now find ourselves looking back on those warm, partially sunny days of early October as some kind of crazy drought. Basically all the docks around the lake, including both of ours, are now completely submerged and hundreds of local workers are spending every daylight hour raising, rebuilding and working on new retaining walls. Why the concept of the floating dock hasn’t taken off around here is a question we have yet to answer (along with what’s wrong with the economy). Yet, through it all, everyone just smiles, shrugs and says “Ah, the rain. It’s almost finished”. Then an hour later it’s raining even harder. And around the country things are even more grim. Landslides, washed out roads, apparently a massive sinkhole right in the middle of the Pacific highway. Not pretty.

Now we're talking bad

As for life in Copacabana unit – well, we’re well stocked with food and at least it is nice and roomy so it takes longer for cabin fever to set in. The place does happen to be littered with pots, buckets and coffee cups at the moment to catch all the random water dripping from the extensive areas of “sun” roof, but at least all the important things are safely under cement (laptops, bed, couch, my huge stash of lip balm).

Besides the rain, we are happy to report that apparently we actually learned a few things last time around and the few packing adjustments we made have considerably improved our personal quality of sloth.

–         Sweats! Why I ever go anywhere without them is a mystery. Well, not really, since no matter how thoroughly you work at packing them small they still end up clogging up your backpack like a frozen turkey in a fur hat. And wearing them out is really only acceptable for pregnant women, bowling and drinking OV.  But in situations like this, when we’re not moving around much, they are, in a word, decadent. And, in another word, stained.

 What folks do when it's raining

·         And, naturally, Big Yellow, the bright yellow hoodie we bought in Rwanda to use “temporarily” that just keeps hanging around, surprisingly emerging as our favourite item of clothing, and which we routinely fight over like two shop teachers with a 19 year old intern.

·         We also brought better speakers since, without a TV, for background noise we rely almost entirely on our iPod paired with these tiny egg shaped speakers. Well, that and the occasional avocado fart.

·         Some serious ant killer.

·         And this last one wasn’t really anything we planned for, and I can’t truthfully say we recognized the benefits at the time, but it turns out that all those nights in Southern India spent cowering, terrified and incontinent, from those ridiculously gargantuan spiders seems to have hardened us against the relatively modest horrors presented by Guatemala’s practically laughable little two inch arachnids. We still aren’t welcoming them into our bed with open arms like we might a female version of Gordon Ramsey, and we’re still doing our best to murder them where they stand,  but it’s all taking place with considerably less fear and shame this time around.

San Marcos church

Not that there aren’t still occasional dilemmas we haven’t solved:

·         Wearing socks on our cement floors that are twice weekly polished to the shine and texture of a ceramic sculpture of James Gandolfini’s breasts leaves us slipping and sliding around like a baby deer on ice, or maybe drinking gin for the first time. I’ve been afraid to pick up any momentum for fear of launching myself out the window to fall twenty metres to a loud, fiery death, not to mention seriously messing up all the meticulous hand weeding the guy in front of us has accomplished.

·         From a dishwashing standpoint, we have yet to come up with a satisfactory method for dealing with Laynni’s love of all things grease, especially considering that getting hot water to our sink involves a complex system of simultaneously running taps around the apartment requiring the timing of a Bulgarian comedian and the patience of a dead giraffe.

San Marcos street


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Final inventory clearance

Everything must go! Don’t miss out!

That’s right, it’s once again time for the End of the Rainy Season Inventory sale at The Tiny Vegetable Shack by the Corner of the Square! Avocados 3 for a $1! Potatoes 50 cents a pound! Tortillas are priced on a floating scale based on mood, weather and time of day. Strawberries 50 cents a pound! The zucchini, though, they are still 40 cents apiece. Stock changes daily…we have no idea why!

Act now, and don’t miss out on these great savings!

Sale ends in May.

Household Tips with Laynni Locke

When it comes time to venture back into the kitchen, everything goes better with butter, is what I always say. Actually, butter, oil, anything shiny that leaves a nice thick film. Those green beans taste a bit too healthy for you? Dump in a couple tablespoons of butter. Rice a bit bland? Douse them in some cooking oil. Buttered popcorn buttery but not really buttery? Add more butter! That greasy ring around your sink is how you know you’ve finally got it right.

Another one. Ha ha.

Frase de Espanol de la Semana (Spanish Phrase of the Week)

“¡Que sorpresa! En la luz del dia tu estas muy feo. Yo siento remordimientos con respecto a nuestro encuentro sexual.”

“What a surprise! In the light of day you are really quite ugly. I feel remorse regarding our sexual encounter.”

Weekly “Californication” Quote That Made Me Sit Up and Say “Oh no you di’int”

“I think we should kill someone tonight. I mean, like, a hobo or something.”

Looking ahead to next week…

How much flushing is too much flushing?