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Back to work

Heather stood on the north side of the Interamerican Highway and I on the south, each of us waiting for buses going to opposite sides of Guatemala. Three chicken buses later I was in Antigua, again, while Heather, with our camera and four weeks to go, made her way back to Xela. Antigua is hardly a respite from the oppressive tourism of Lake √Ātitlan, but it is generally wealthier and in many ways more peaceful. I passed a day and a half with last-minute souvenier shopping, reading, and a couple of dollar movies (Hotel Rwanda and Kinsey). Then, last Thursday, I caught a taxi to the airport in Guatemala City and was back in Tucson in a few hours. Here I sit in my 4th-floor office in the Social Sciences Building marveling at the more than 1,000 photos Heather and I collected over the past two months (can you imagine what it would cost to develop these?!). She's still down south snapping away, so that number is still growing. Readjusting to life at home has been remarkably easy, and I can already feel the bad habits kicking in - sleeping in, wasting time on the computer, drinking. But because I begin teaching tomorrow I'm going to have to reign in my slothfulness. Some familiarities of home haven't escaped my attention. I can flush toilet paper without concern for the plumbing. Water is continuous. Hot water is bountiful. I don't have to buy drinking water. My kitchen is fully stocked. Air conditioning. Insulation. Healthy dogs. Unarmed security guards. No pickpockets. One-quarter the murders. One-sixth the poverty. Ten-times the per capita income. And there are other luxuries too. My own bed. A fast computer. My dog and my friends. Good vegetarian restaurants. Several changes of clothes. And I speak the language pretty well here. These things shouldn't be taken for granted! It feels good to be home.

“Back to work”

  1. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    Welcome home! And Yeehaw - You took chicken buses! congratulations.

    - Beth

  2. Blogger Jeff Says:

    beth - for all the fuss that's made about bus safety in guatemala (government warnings, travel guide cautions, etc.), i had a remarkably trouble-free experience. i did hold on very tightly with some drivers, and became intimately acquainted with the elbows, hips, and shoulders of the people crammed onto either side of me. And there are chickens occasionally too!

  3. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    It's funny isn't it? Americans tend to forget that even in countries where there are travel advisories, there are still people living there, going about their daily business and using the "dangerous" transportation systems.

    More than once on chicken buses, I've had small children fall asleep on me while I'm jammed in like a little sardine. We don't have anything even remotely close to it in the US. And I agree, the drivers can be intensely frightening as can the ayudantes. And of course there are the live animals, baskets of produce, etc. etc. Isn't it fun!

    - Beth