October 20th, 2011
Since 7W, the road leading east from Huehue and one that could barely be considered open at the best of times was definitely closed after days of rain, I headed south towards Quetzaltenango. The locals just call it Xela, pronounced as above. I was guessing it was something of a sister city to Huehue(tenango), but in fact it was much nicer. So maybe the more awesome older sister city that you wish you had gone out with instead.
But first I had to get there. Xela was on the other side of the mountains from Huehue, and while everyone said the road was open I was a bit worried.
I didn’t have to be. It was a beautiful day. There were signs of mudslides on the road (extra dirtier parts) and some lane closures, but the pavement was smooth and the ride was short, only 60 miles.
I rode into Xela and found a hotel with a secure lot. Actually, it was pretty easy compared to some other towns, and the place I found was right off the public square. I needed to get some more cash, but the banks were all closed for some reason, along with their ATMs, so I hung out in the square, emailed Mike and Nastaja, and waited for someone else to finish my laundry.
Oh, yeah. In Mexico, and so far in Central America, you don’t go to a laundry mat and wash our own clothes, but instead drop the off for someone else to wash. You pay by weight, and they are usually done in a couple of hours. I am totally spoiled.
I made contact with Mike and Nastaja, and we made plans to eat at an Indian restaurant recommended by Lonely Planet. Afterwards they were going to a play, which they thought was MacBeth, with some of the students from the Spanish class they had been attending.
Yes, I already ate some…it just smelled too delicious. And I had hard time finishing it. You can’t really get a sense of scale from the picture, but it was enough food for a couple of people.
After dinner I went and picked up my laundry and returned it to my hotel, then met up with Mike, Nastaja and the others for the play. On the way there we found an open ATM, so I was able to secure actual cash, which was good since I didn’t have enough (the Canadians were nice enough to offer the Q10 if I didn’t have it, just over $1USD).
We got to the play.
which was actually Ofelia, a sort of feminist version of Hamlet. It was in Spanish, of course, and way beyond mine. But I knew the story very well and could sort of follow along. It was very…artsy…
The play only had one act, and as near as anyone with a limited understanding of the Spanish language could tell Ofelia still drown at the end.
I admit to wishing I hadn’t spent the extra day in Huehue, Xela was a much nicer town and it wasn’t just the company. But time was pressing, so I was off in the morning after a valve adjustment. Since I was off my route I decided to go to Antigua, a town I had always heard of but frankly didn’t even know was in Guatemala until I was route planning. Since it is dangerously close to Guatemala City, and I had planned on being in the northern part of the country, I hadn’t planned to go there. But now it was right between me and the border, so off I went.
Haven’t played that in a while – and V:TES is a much better game anyway.