La Chatona in Peten, Guatemala
After the exciting adventure of exploring the hidden ruins in Tikal, we had a chill day exploring the tiny island of Flores, a small village located in the middle of a lake in Peten.
Alex and I were quite eager than the rest of the group to go out and do something. The
smoking and drinking everyday was definitely taking a toll on us; there is more to traveling than drugs, sex, and alcohol! We head off the two of us in search of caves in the surrounding area that we heard of, but after the walk to the mall located across the lake, we realized the weather was still kind of shitty and that we didn’t have that much sunlight left to enjoy the caves before they closed.
On the way back, we ran into a festival! El baile de la Chatona, where men dress up as beautiful women and grab the standby-ers and dance to the live street music that follows them through the cobbled stones streets. We were bent over laughing at their silly outfits, adjusting their falling body parts, and their sexy provocative dances. Why are men so good at being women?
We met up with our buddies back at the hostel. Since it was Alex’s last day with us, we decided to have one last party between us. We were moved into a dorm room from the outside treehouse thing we were in last time, and here we laid out our well used playing cards and played a round or two of Kings Cup, or Ring of Fire, as it is commonly called in England.
There’s something so special, spending a night with your close friends, in your week (or two)-long unwashed clothes, dirty feet, sun tanned skin, tangled hair, truly exposed personality, and not giving a damn. You’re with your friends, you have experienced stress with them, hunger with them, fear, uncertainty that all comes with travel. And then you find a night when you can relax and recall insight jokes. You retell stories of something stupid the other guys did. You tilt your head back and moan together in remembrance of that delicious meal you had on that one Caribbean island. You’re low on money, but a bottle of alcohol is unselfishly shared with your mates.
HERE WE ARE! Young and Real. In a new land, with new people, new languages, new culture. You never think you could have made such great connections with foreigners, yet here you are leaning on each other, pointing, laughing, and throwing things. Another night ended with a peace and happiness in your bed.
The next morning, poor Alex left with a heavy head. We reached out hands out to give a good hand grasp/semi hug goodbye, and went back to recovering. He will be missed!
This is how we travel.