San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala — Part Dos

We’re outta here in a few days. We’re gunna miss the sites and regular access to showers (though I think we’ve all bathed more in the lago than the shower…). And sleeping in regular beds. However, we’re all excited to leap back into the van. It certainly feels like home at this point.

El Fuego

Thank you to everyone that reached out and for the well-wishes. (If you haven’t heard, a volcano erupted in Guatemala, killing 62.) We’re safe. El Fuego is across the lake from us — I’m looking at it as I type this — but far enough away that we’re not getting dumped with ash. Many are, however. And many died. If you feel like helping, you can donate here.

The Lord In His Wisdom…

Once in elementary school, I was tasked with memorizing and then reciting a poem to my class. I chose the following poem by Ogden Nash, not because of its beauty or sonance, but because of its brevity: “The Lord in His wisdom created the fly. And then forgot to tell us why.” I laughed pretty good after the recital. My teacher did not.

I’ve been reminded of that poem since arriving in San Marcos. Flies greeted us in our rental apartment on the first day. Just a few, lingering on some crumbs. But those few soon turned into dozens. Those dozens, hundreds.

The flies wake around 5am. Then they buzz our ears, waking us. Then, from what I can discern, they spend the rest of the day eating and copulating. The fly sex juices sliming this place have turned me into a compulsive wiper-downer. I must, must I tell you!, wipe the counters a dozens times per day. Then they fall asleep around 5pm. They’re much easier to kill at that point.

I mainly use The Executioner Pro to kill them. They spark and sizzle on the Pro (I added a video below). And I love the smell of burnt flies in the morning (Apocalypse Now reference). Occasionally, though, when I’m feeling either aggressive or sadistic or both, I go old school and whack as many as I can with a fly swatter. Andrea can’t be around for this. She thinks (a fact that’s probably backed up by her scientific brain) that the splattered blood is worse than the sex juice. “But is it worse than their annoying, brain-scrambling buzz?!” I retort. Probably.

The good news, however, according to the lovely ladies that clean our apartment twice per week, is that the flies are about to die. En masse. Rainy season kills them off. And I can sense it. Their flying is becoming more erratic, their buzzing more annoying, their fornication more frequent.

I, sort of, wish we could stay to watch their demise. It’d make a fun drinking game. Take a sip of Brahva, a Brazilian beer that’s popular in these parts and that’s successfully mimicked the flavor of water, each time a fly dies. The latter, of course, despite Brahva having an alcohol content slightly above a jar of salsa left in the refrigerator for too long, would send you plummeting into the lago below. But dang would it be fun.

Expat Experiences

We’ve seen expats in almost every stop on this trip. Expats, it seems, fall into three categories: Opportunists, Escapists, or Crazies. Or some combination of the three. We relate best to the Opportunists, those that have found a better life, experience, and/or opportunity abroad. We’re opportunists, I suppose, taking this trip. Though I also suppose we’re a little Escapists and Crazies too.

We met some interesting expats from Columbia, Argentina, and Mexico on Saturday night. They came here for the good life. And I think, or at least it appears like, they’re getting it. They build their own houses, plant their own crops, raise their own chickens and goats, and sell their own products — our neighbor, whose daughter is in Everett’s class, hence the connection, sells amazing jewelry around the lake to fund life. It was cool hanging out. Inspiring really. Though I spent most the conversation, and the following day, second-guessing my Americanness.


Our Columbian expat neighbor, as mentioned above, has goats. Six I think. Or ten. They bleat todo el dia. And each one has a different voice. One, in my egotistical mind, keeps calling for me…. “Blaaake. Blaaaaake…” I thought about tossing over one of my recent obsessions for him/her: a Boca 2 Nachos Jalapeño Queso chip. But then I thought about he/she has likely never eaten a preservative. Or artificial cheese flavoring. (Bummer.) And I didn’t want to be the one to ruin it for the goat.

This also reminds me of how my best bud Kyle and I used to in high school, sans beer mind you, bleat back, bleat in harmony really, at some goats that lived near our houses, though we didn’t know it was called bleating at the time. Just for fun. Living in the moment.

The Final View

We love this view. And we’ll miss it. However, we’re learning that we prefer, love really, the ever-changing view. The volcano one day. River the next. Snow eventually. We’ve found ourselves, especially this past week, yearning for the van. The next view.

I hope, even when life becomes more sedentary for us in the future, we keep searching for that view. [Warning: Preachy ending.] Inertia is more powerful than momentum. And it’s easier to react to than experience life. For us at least.

Are we inferring that everyone should sell everything, buy a van, figure out how to make money on the road, and start traveling. Well, yes. We’re narcissistic. And we miss you. But I do think everyone should take more time to look around. Smell the lavender. See the next view.

This trip, in addition to many other things, including that spicy Karate nuts are the ambrosia of the gods, has taught me this: travel can be cheap. Views can be cheap. I just met a French couple today making this same trip on bikes. A family of four from Boise made this trip on bikes a few years ago. We’re on the upper end of the financial travel spectrum. Most folks do this for less than $50 per day.

Anyway. We like views. Mucho mucho views. And we hope, whether on or after this trip that we continue to seek them. We’re hoping our final view is not from some casket, but from some awesome lake or mountain or ocean (so yes, if you’re reading this, we don’t want a funeral; we just want to be cremated and dumped somewhere gorgeous.)

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