More New Friends in San Marcos

Guatemala Day 9

I am spoiled by the coffee here. I´ve never been one who can appreciate the nuances of coffee, but I can tell you if the coffee is good or bad – and the coffee here is good.

The dogs let me sleep in on Saturday until 8:00 AM! I wonder fi they are able to tell what day of the week it is. I can´t imagine they can, because many people here work 7 days a week, but perhaps they have some trick or internal Mayan mechanism 🙂

I continue to get more in-tune with Zeus and Shanti, and them with me. The other day Zeus performed his grooming bite on my arm – it was so cute! Then last night Shanti tried to get into bed with me. I felt bad pushing her out, but she must know better.

I headed out the gate for LaPaz´s breakfast and noticed a woman carrying her bags up the hill with Darwin, one of the local dock boys, always willing to lend a hand for a few Q. “Hola” and on my way – they seemed to have it covered.

A short while later the two of them showed up at LaPaz. Darwin took a seat while the woman spoke with the ladies in the kitchen. She returned in a moment, dug out a few Q for Darwin, and he as off to find his next unwitting victim.

I introduced myself to the woman – blond, mid-twenties, straight hair just beyond her shoulders, held back with sunglasses above her forehead. Her name is Randi, from Boca Raton, FL.

Randi was here just three weeks ago for a week, hanging out with the yoga crew. She “just didn´t know how she could NOT come back to this place” and hence, here she sits. She´ll be traveling with some of BeDontin´s disciples to his yoga farm near Santiago on Sunday, stay there for a few weeks, and then return to San Marcos for an indefinite period of time, as she bought a one-way ticket.

We talk about our backgrounds and our paths here. After some discussion on meeting people here on a spiritual basis and developing a higher level of trust from the get-go, her energy and excitement overwhelms her a bit and she begins telling me other things. How she and her business partner recently split and she was laid off, so the decision to come to San Marcos was made easier. She was able to find somebody to sublet her car and apartment and here she is. I tell her a bit about my recovery after she inquires about whether I´ve been enjoying the bars in the area. She gets a bit intrigued, telling me of her idea to start a yoga-based rehab. Admittedly, she knows nothing about the actual rehab part of treatment, but she´s certain that it´d make a good reality show – her friend in L.A. told her so.

I chuckle a bit inside, as Randi is right where I was at 23 or 24.

The yoga crew emerges from their morning session and Randi greets most with hugs and excitement, telling them of the hardship of her journey with all the luggage and her one-way ticket leaving destiny unbound.

I head out to mill about the village a bit. I have no plans, no commitments or obligations. I stop in the town centre a bit to watch the youth play soccer. They are very good for their age and have seemingly endless ene3rgy. I played soccer in my youth but was never very good, finally telling my parents after a few years that I didn´t want to do it any longer.

In a while it´s lunch time and I decide to finally give Ganesh a try. Ganesh is located a stone´s throw from LaPaz and I´m told operates as a collective of chefs from various backgrounds.

Sitting atop a small store, I check out the store first. They have a book rental area, as well as the standard tourist tees, bags, jewelry and pipes. Marijuana seems to be a way of life here, and I think that probably contributes to the slower pace of things.

Finding nothing of interest I head upstairs to Ganesh. Two young men I recognize from the village are eating together and two ladies from the yoga training course are gossiping in hushed tones at the bar. The man behind the bar greets me and I order some crepes on the menu – rolled with nutella and banana inside, sprinkled with their own granola and a few slices of watermelon. It is quite the treat.

After the other patrons leave, I strike up conversation with the barkeep. His name is Alexis. He´s been in San Marcos for 6 years, hailing from Germany. He and his partner Brad run Ganesh. Alexis in the mornings and Brad in the evenings. Brad coordinates the various chefs and music as well. I´ve often heard a live band from LaPaz at night – the singer has a raspy voice but did a fabulous rendition of Bush´s Glycerine the other night.

I notice bongs on the top shelf, above the liquor, and a sign for their health food store offerings. I ask Alexis about the seeming contradiction and ever-smiling he says they offer a bit of everything here at Ganesh. It´s the perfect combination, he explains. They had many ideas prior to opening, so they took a b9it of everything and mashed it together. I think to myself that it sounds like this business has an identity crisis, but given there are only a handful of bars in San Marcos, I think it´ll probably work – at least in the short term. Though as Chuice pointed out to me, once the bars come into town, the identity of the village changes drastically. I doubt if there is any turning back.

I make my way up to Blind Lemons, as I´ve been unsuccessful posting the day´s blog entry via the cellular network and I have some photos to upload. I arrive and don´t even get my iPad pulled out before I meet a guy named Chris, sitting alone with his laptop opened. He´s half watching the world cup and half scribbling in his notebook.

We begin chatting for what ends up being a couple of hours. He is 37, a native of Miami, but moving from TX to Chicago upon returning from his trip to Lake Atitlan. He is staying at what he terms ¨Pierre´s Prison¨up the hill – a property with four or five apartments that the Frenchman Pierre rents out to visitors. Chris has applied the Prison nickname because it´s up the hill and apart from the rest of the village – isolating one from the ongoings of the town.

Chris has an impressive background, having been a lawyer and a published author of two books. He´ll be in Chicago teaching and working on a PhD program in creative writing. He´s attractive, but I´m unsure if he´s gay. During the course of our discussion, we get into some deep topics, as I find happens easily here in San Marcos. Turns out that his first published book was an ethnography of Latin men and machismo and masculinity. It chronicled his own journey through Latin America and his conquests hooking up with men along the way. I conclude that probably qualifies for gay.

He is in San Marcos trying to sell another book idea as well as physically recuperate from a jogging accident he had where a car ran into him. Though he´s missing 10 days of memory, so he´s unsure exactly what happened. He hit the side of his head, lost hearing in that ear, lost his sense of smell, and his balance has been off. He´s working with yoga and other core exercises in an attempt to restore his sense of balance.

Zeus pees in the corner of the restaurant, and one of the kitchen ladies gets upset, so I take it as a cue it´s time to leave. Chris and I wish each other well and I head back to Casa de Benjamin. After all, it´s beginning to sprinkle and I´m overdue for my afternoon siesta.

I awake in time for the dinner special and head to LaPaz. They are serving a hot vegetable soup and a potato bake dish alongside the customary LaPaz salad of cucumber, tomato, shredded carrots, a bit of lettuce and avocado slices, all topped with a bit of yogurt dressing. As usual, I thoroughly enjoyed every last bite and wonder if I will continue this vegetarian diet when I return home. (Doubtful …)

It´s the yoga crew´s last day, and they have been instructed to wait in the restaurant while some sort of graduation surprise is being prepared in the paloppa. As I head home, they are preparing blindfolds and are invited back into the jungle. Tall James tells me Goodbye, as he´s departing early in the morning, but that perhaps we will meet each other in Puerto Vallarta, as he´s traveling there next as well. It truly is a small world.

I am home and in bed by 8:00 PM, reading my iPad book, the rain coming down hard and the dogs at my feet.