Tuesday, March 29, 2011

As a matter of fact this is a tour guide, asshole.

I'm in tourist haven Panajachel, which is nice. But there are some real assholes here. I'm not talking about the Guatemalans, who are friendly everywhere I go. I'm talking about the foreigners, or as they prefer not to be called, the tourists.

I moved on for several reasons. Part was that I didn't want to wear out my welcome in San Mateo. Part was that I want to check out Lake Atitlan, and see if I can find the Maximon, a tobacco smoking, hard-drinking wooden icon who's half Judas and half dark Mayan diety. But honestly a big part is also I was ready for things to get a little easier.

And they did, eventually. Getting to Pana was the usual madhouse of jumping from brightly colored bus to minivan & back for hours on end & praying you don't go the wrong way or miss your stop. But as soon as I was here I had a motel room with laundry, private bath & shower and wifi for Q100/night. It's not even close to the top of the line, but after a week in San Mateo it feels like the Ritz.

After I came out of the shower I went by the kitchen and said "hi" to an American-looking couple in the kitchen. They responded with a cold "hola", and at first I was embarassed for assuming they were English-speakers. But then I heard them speaking English to each other with an American accent.

Then I went looking for a place to eat. I had out my guide book, glad to finally have a use for it.

I saw a man on a bicycle who looked friendly at first and waved to him, this time greeting him in Spanish instead.

"You got your little tour guide?" he said in English. "Which one is it?"

Sensing he was being contemptuous but not sure I told him it was a Lonely Planet.

"Oh, is it lonely?" he said with an eye roll, and pedaled off.

This is one of those situations where you think of what to say too late. Fortunately that's what blogs were invented for. So here's the correct answer to the question:

Yes, you self-righteous prick, I need my little tour guide to get around Pana because instead of spending my time in Guatemala hanging around here I've spent the last week nine hours into the Highlands over unpaved roads in a place that isn't even in most guidebooks, which you probably wouldn't go to if they paid you. And now I'm ready to just chill the fuck out and be a goddamned tourist for a couple days if you don't mind, like every other foreigner in Pana whether they have a little tour guide or not. And that includes you, even if you've been here since you fell off the Magic Bus on an acid trip in the 70s.

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