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Archive for April 20th, 2015

Driving Adventures

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DSCN3252eWhen we awoke on Wednesday, the beginning of our 7th full day in Guatemala with the Morales family, we started packing almost immediately. It was time to leave Bill & Karin’s beautiful lake house and embark on a road trip to the beach house, reported to probably be 2-hours and 45-minutes duration. After a short time, just as we had on the drive to Lake Atitlán days before, we arrived at a mysterious stretch of road where up and down directions are reversed.

Marco stopped our vehicle, turned on the 4-way hazard lights, and shifted to neutral. The Toyota began to roll uphill. It’s crazy-making!

When we approach a “T” intersection very near to our planned restaurant stop for breakfast, the traffic came to a complete standstill. We were just a couple of car lengths from where we wanted to make a left turn, but were pinned with nowhere to go. Several guys on foot seemed to be trying to augment the single traffic cop’s attempt to orchestrate some progress, but many drivers just chose their own solution and drove around any vehicle in front of them. It only served to complicate the mess.

DSCN3253ePatience turns out to be the best course of action, and eventually we made our turn and got to stretch our legs and sit down to eat. The restaurant had a roof, but no walls around the seating area. Cyndie ordered in Spanish; an omelet with vegetables for me, pancakes for her.

Breakfast automatically came with cups of coffee and a bowl of a sweet porridge. I noticed Cyndie and Marco set their cups aside after their first taste and he ordered better coffee for the two of them. I normally don’t like cooked oatmeal or porridge, but this was sweet and not heavy. I liked it a lot. It was a great breakfast on the road.

Shortly after departing from that restaurant, we came to a stretch of divided highway with a very long backup of stopped traffic in the lanes approaching from the other direction. Shockingly, we suddenly spotted vehicles driving toward us in our lanes! After multiple cars switched lanes in reaction, everyone going our direction adjusted to the right lane. After the initial alarm, it wasn’t as unnerving as you’d think, because there is a lot of driving in each other’s lanes to make passes on the two-lane roads everywhere else. Still, they were driving into traffic and it was very hazardous, so Dunia got on her phone and reported the situation to authorities.

Despite the traffic challenges, it seemed a relatively short time had passed when we reached sights that I began to recognize from my visit there with Marco a week earlier. The beach house was just ahead.

Upon arriving, we were able to meet Bill and Karin. The two families each have adjacent beach houses beside the large shared pool. It reminds me very much of the community of families at Cyndie’s family vacation home in Hayward, WI. We also are greeted by Karin’s sister and niece, and later, Bill and Karin’s son, Anthony.DSCN3254e

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It was significantly hotter this day than any other we’d experienced, in large part because we’ve come down to sea level and it was sunny all day. I get my first chance to play some football with the Morales boys and Anthony, followed by a jump in the pool. Dunia’s parents arrived and we met them as Marco began preparations for a dinner of grilled lobster tail.

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As the sun got low, mosquitoes and the heat contributed to drive us into our air-conditioned room at around 6:45. It feels much later than that and we give in to beckoning sleep early, after a day that felt like we mostly just lounged in the pool. Hardly the exerting activities that should have caused such tiredness. Maybe the week was finally catching up with us.

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Written by johnwhays

April 20, 2015 at 6:00 am