Juniel Guatemala- Lessons in Human Kindness

It all started with a walk to the bus station with prospects of a day trip to the Hot Springs. Keenan said to me (in a Barry White Voice)

“Casey, my most wonderful beautiful girlfriend, today I am treating you to a day of wine and dining.”

and as we passed an ATM I was like “Are you sure we have enough money for the day?”

and he said “Totally.”

We hopped on a bus filled with beautifully colorfully-clad villagers to the small town of Juniel, where we immediately saw a dead dog, and a trash filled river with dog sized Black Vultures lining each side. Ehhh this place looks a little sketchy, I thought, but then we hitched a ride in the back of a red truck 8KM up to the top of a beautiful mountain and paid our $5 entrance fee to Fuentes, the natural hot springs.

(I didnt take my camera, I’ve learned too many times that water and cameras dont mix, but here’s some stolen images from Google)

Anyways, it was a wonderful spot to rest our weary bones as the steam rose up into the green canopy, a waterfalls dripped hot water beside us and light rain poured on our heads.

We soaked for a couple hours and met the most pleasant array of Guatemalan families. One lady in her 40’s, who would put water on Keenan’s back and then say to me “Im not touching him, the waters touching him…”in a flirty tone. A couple in their 80s, A family of 8 who lives in Chicago but moved from Guatemala. Another guatemalan family from Houston, travelling to show the kids where they came from.

Smiles and relaxation were all around us.
We eventually crawled our way to the poolside restaraunt for some Heinekens and a nice Ensalada, and as the time came to wrap up our day and pay our tab, I hear a muffled word of profanity from Keenan.

He only brought 100 Quetzales.

I bit my tongue as to not immediately say “I told you to go to the ATM!”

This sucked for many reasons but mostly because our bill was 160, getting down from the hill would be another 50 and getting a bus back to Xela would be another 20.

The nearest ATM was in a differnt village about a 25 minutes away, which would involve hitching a ride there and back and spending another 50Q, and the hot springs most definetly did not take credit card. Our near comatose relaxation turned into a bit of frantic critical thinking of how we would get out of this pickle we were in. If we had skipped the Heinekiens all would be fine…

Finally Keenan decided to hitch a ride down while I sat alone in the restaraunt waiting for his return, but then about 5 minutes later he returned smiling.

The family from Chicago gladly lent him money, and happened to be staying at the hotel ACROSS from ours in the same city (about an hour away)

Then as we started walking down the mountain to hitch down, a lady from Minnesota with her Guatemalan familia offered us a ride and drove us ALL the way back to Xela, even though it was out of their way. They said they knew we were good people because Keenan looks like their neighbor in St. Paul.

Also, that night as I lay in my hostel bunk bed, a Guatemalan man walks in the room and says “Casey?” Startled at first, I was like “uhhh yeah?” and he gave me my Laptop charger that I airheadedly left in the restaraunt downstairs. Im not sure how he knew my name of knew it was mine but it was awesome

The kindness of people can be overwhelming.

One thought on “Juniel Guatemala- Lessons in Human Kindness

Leave a Reply