This was my night: scramble to finish last-minute work stuff, laundry, pack, jump in a cab to the airport, knots in stomach, feeling like I forgot about nine thousand things, on the plane — crunched in a pretzel trying to sleep, awoke here and there, to flashes of inky sky or the most intense sunrise I’ve ever seen, the sky in ribbons of rainbow lightburst, and then the morning: waking up with a start at touchdown, getting through customs and finding happy relief at the appearance of my shuttle driver, holding a sign with my name, Linds Ay Muskato. I was just so overjoyed to see him, a jovial mid-20s nerd in glasses driving a shuttle bus, and I thought we could’ve talked forever about the trip, about the country, but neither of us spoke enough of the other’s language to get more than a few words in. So we sat in silence and listened to the radio; Iron Maiden and Phantom of the Opera were on the same playlist.
I arrived to early to check into the hostel so I walked across town to find Alex, a woman who’s in my writing workshop. We had never seen each other before, and we had no phone contact, so it was like in the Sun Also Rises, where I had to leave a message for her at the hotel desk and maybe would run into her at the cafe. No answer at her room. Then I whirled around to go and there she was, I had a feeling, we both said hello at once.
We spent the morning browsing-shopping, ducking in and out of shops, cathedrals, galleries, and every other moment took our breath away, the walled gardens, the ruins of earthquake-torn cathedrals whose ceilings were now just pure blue sky, the dusty reds and brilliant blues and rich yellows of everything. We couldn’t help but say, every other minute, how beautiful, how beautiful. I think I used the word “wow” more times than ever in my life.
Then back to the hostel for a nap – my simple room is just two beds and four walls, but I slept deeply and now, well, now I’m here.
Tomorrow we’re off to Lake Atitlan, which will make this tiny city of cobblestone streets and tourist shops seem like a bustling metropolis. If I can write more from there, I will.