Arriving via bus in Quetzaltenango, aka Xela, the trip took a sudden turn. The first couple weeks of this adventure had an agenda. I was running around getting to places that were expecting me, going to meetings, touring beneficios, meeting farmers, and frequently being the only white person or english speaker around (I know, we love that, don´t we. how adventurous...) In Xela, all of a sudden, I was surrounded by extranjeros, mobbing in bands around the city babbling in a foriegn language wearing hawaiian shirts with shorts and sun-hats and cameras around our necks. okay. so not really, but I started feeling a bit more like a tourist than a traveller when I left the coffee farms and got to the very gringo-friendly city with cafés that advertised vegan donuts and whatnot.
As well, it became a vacation. Nobody is expecting me, I don´t have any work to do, there is no itinerary. It is sunny and beautiful, the weather is warm, and I am at the shore of one of the most beautiful lakes I have ever seen. El Lago de Atitlan. Damn. The lake, rung by volcanic mountains, is itself the crater of an ancient volcano. You gotta check this place out. As luck would have it, we wound our way through coffee fields to get here and our hotel is next door to a wet-mill. Eduard, the teenage kid we walked a half hour around the lake with on our way here, told me he´s worked as a picker before and we spoke briefly of his experience. It is here that my spanish skills frustrate me, I have so many questions that I don´t know exactly how to ask and if I did the response would likely be too complicated to fully understand. Nonetheless, I imagine that, among motorcycle and kayak rentals, boat rides, volcano-hikes and the like, I´ll have more opportunities to interface with farmers and pickers and workers while I´m at the lake. Next, the coast. BEEAACCHH!!
(p.s. I´m awfully sorry to hear about all the snow new england is getting...)