I made it out of Livingston this morning with no problems. My plan to stiff the hotel worked perfectly. I feel about this bad (fingers really close together), but I’m certain the hotel lady will find a way to get the money out of the guy. He eats at her house all the time. In fact, he did while he was scamming me, which is part of why I fell for it. Afterall, if the nice lady in the hotel feeds him, he’s got to be a good guy, right?
Puerto Barrios is basically still a company town. Everywhere you look you see people with Dole and Chiquita nametags on. The streets rumble with the sound of refrigerated containers full of bananas. Ever wonder where the banana you had for breakfast came from? Apparently they stand a good chance of having come from Peurto Barrios.
I found myself singing this: Hey mister tally man, tally me banana… daylight come and me wanna go home.
But I don’t really want to go home. Sometimes I’m a tiny bit homesick (well, more like carsick, since it is the closest I have to a home). But there’s always something new to see.
The ride to Puero Barrios was uneventful. Though as usual there were some beautiful gringas aboard, hair waving in the breeze. Traveling for me is always a treat, becaue in Silicon Valley the odd jut aren’t in your favor, even for simple people watching. But among travelers, there seem to be more women than men. And the women are the kind who are self possesed enough to travel outside their comfort zone, low maintenance enough to deal with cold showers and cockroaches, and smart enough to have not alread gotten themselves killed somehow. They are my kind of girls! (Special bonus points: as American girls apparently don’t travel much, they all have awesome accents!)
I feel bad sometimes looking at the guys around me… the girls definately get the short end of the stick when it come to traveler people watching. Us guys are all unkempt, dressed in tattered shorts and holey t-shirts and staggering drunk (ok, not me on the last one). They probably get homesick for the boys back at home, as any group of ruffians would be better than us traveler boys!
Today’s big job was visiting the MSF clinic in Peurto Barrios. I called them when I got here and after struggling with the Guatemalan telephone system (Sam: ask me later about www.8digitos.com) I finally got them. Turns out the doctors (including the head of the project) work in the hospital in the morning, and in the office from 1500 to 1900. So I had to wait until 1500 to see anyone. OK, so I get to spend the night in Puerto Barrios, no big deal. I went out of town to a swimming hole that the MSF staffer recommended and killed time. At 1515 I called the office and got invited over. They were a little confused why I wasn’t just applying for a position with MSF-US in New York, but I convinced them that I was just between language courses and only wanted to talk about their program, not apply for a job. The head of the project didn’t speak English (or maybe as good as my Spanish — and the intersections of those two vocabularies would not have made for an interesting converation!) so she had me talk to a doctor from Uraguay who is working there. She was really sweet and had a story much like mine. She gave me really useful information and wished me well. She also volunteered to keep in touch with me in e-mail. Someday, I’ll get to send her a happy email telling her I’ve been assigned to a post!
One other piece of news of note: for both breakfast and lunch I had my first flour tortillas of the trip. This is big news because I prefer them, but also because it indicates that Peurto Barrios has some different food than in the PÃ©ten. Interesting. Wonder what things will be like in Antigua tomorrow? I hit the road at 5 am tomorrow, so as to have plenty of time to get the hell out of Guatemala City before sundown!