It’s freaky feeling the ground shake for close to ten seconds.
It was a peaceful Sunday afternoon of Spanish study and after 20 hours of one-on-one, teacher and I were out of things to talk about. The ground tremor came as a relief: something new to talk about. Unfortunately the tremors set off several landslides in the San Pedro Lago Atitlan area that delayed my travel the next day.
I don’t understand people who get stressed out at having to wait hours as tons of rock and mud come crashing down a few meters ahead. I found it very exciting. But then again, I also think finding a scorpion in my room is exciting… unfortunately she was camera shy and fled before I could get a shot.
But what scares me most is the security guards stationed, carrying double-barreled shotguns or machine guns, outside banks, businesses, and government institutions. Guns loaded, chambered, and finger on trigger. A good indication that when all hell breaks loose, it happens at the speed of a bullet and I don’t want to be anywhere near. But I don’t really have any reason to go near any of the banks here in Xela. None of them change money, not even American dollars. In despair with my dollars rejected in four banks, a friendly guard suggested where I could change money on the black market.
Speaking of markets: The markets here are great places to buy fruit, meat, grain, clothing, household goods, and guns. The markets are also filled with fresh aromas of cinnamon, jasmine, lavender, chillies, and marijuana.