I arrived in San Marcos yesterday. I keep feeling a weird panic here. Of forgetting something. Of everything moving in slow time. People walk slower than me. (I walk really slow.) The internet is slow. People talk about spirits and healing all casual, like it´s the weather and the news. I woke up to a rooster crowing at 5am and I thought it was someone´s alarm clock set to ¨Rooster¨. You can´t print anything. There´s no photocopier. No ATM. My watch is wrong but I don´t know how to set it. I´m using a watch because my cell phone gets no reception. You can´t get things. Like, I brought a salad spinner from the U.S. for the writing workshop´s cook. Special delivery! To get anywhere you need a boat across the lake and a bus through the mountains. We arrived yesterday (just yesterday?) in a storm, thunder, lightning, a downpour. Water in the bottom of the lancha sloshed over my flip flops. One woman on our trip was trying to get into the boat and fell right into the water. She gave a little half scream and two men pulled her out. This internet cafe is tracking my words, it´s been 12 minutes, I owe 5 Q, a little less than a buck. I need coffee but there´s no coffee shop open right now. So. Slow.
I arrived in Antigua this afternoon and immediately relaxed. Partially it´s the weather. Partially it´s finally being on the road, after months and months of making arrangements to be gone. Partially it´s that I´m wearing a thin black sundress and flip flops, looking at dusty motorcycles, cobblestones, chickens roasting on a spit in a window. Whew.
My sister Lisa came to Chicago just the other day. For two weeks — before I leave for other pastures — we’re roommates. And this makes me happy. We’re not usually in the same city, just hauling the same genetic baggage around our respective haunts. Now we can both say: Hey. That looks just like mine. We both mumble when we talk. Can’t follow compass directions. Love goat cheese and pasta and beer. Stay up late, watching Curb Your Enthusiasm and L’Auberge Espagnole and sipping through a $3 bottle of wine while our apartment’s ancient gas heater clangs and thrums.