The United States of America is not very resourceful. In Guatemala, If I want a razor, I can buy one razor for 12 cents, not the whole package. If I want to buy eggs (fresh from the chicken) I can buy 3, and not a whole dozen, but the best part is their pharmacies. In the United States, if I was sick enough to need medications I would have to go to the Doctor, and without health insurance that means I’d probably have to go to a Walk in Clinic, wait for at least an hour just to see a doctor, for him to hopefully not end up running tests ($$$$) on me, then I’d pay $150 or more for the visit to get a prescription, where I would wait another hour or so at a pharmacy and pay anywhere from $50 or more for 30 days worth of pills.
Well, a week ago, your friend Casey came down with a parasite, maybe from accidently swallowing a bit of lake water in a giggle filled water fight, or maybe from that ice in my daquiri, either way, things havent been so pleasant, and my over the counter Anti-Diahhreals werent quite cutting it, and my stomach pain was enough for me to skip my trip to Tikal and curl up in a fetal position all day.. So this is what I did. I walked downstairs, next door into the pharmacy, told the pharrmacist my symptoms, he gave me pills (Macrobid = $60 in US). I bought 7, which was all I needed, and it was a grand total of $2. Anyway, Now I’m good as new.
Since we are on the subject of pills, I must tell you about a Guatemalan Necessity. They are sold at all gas stations, next to the Tylenol and “pilldora de nervosa”. They are 25 cents, and called “Nauseo”. These 50 milligrams of live save have managed to put my overwhelming Car Sickness into remission. This high speed ride from Coban down to Lanquin was a drop in 3500 feet on a bouldery twisting unpaved road of switchbacks, that made the drive down to Sedona a cakewalk.
We walked to a Hostel that was highly recommended called “El Retiro Lodge”. This lovely place had a killer view and was right on the river. We rented out a private Cabana for $6 a person, and indulged in some lazy hammock lounging and RIVER SURFING. The hostal had a homey feel to it with Family Dinners at night, Futbol games with the locals and plenty of socialization with other travelers. In the evening the river toads and fireflies came out, and in the night was a light rain/thunder until the morning. El Retiro offered a tour to Semuc Champay, a natural landscape of bright blue mineral pools and caves, and since I hadn’t taken any tours yet, I figured I would go for it.
We began the tour swimming through caves with candlelights (Ummm when did I become so Claustrophobic??) It was amazing and beautiful, but scaling under a rushing waterful by ropehold in the dark did have me a bit bugged out. I managed to calm down and enjoy the stalagtites and flame flickering walls around me, though seeing the sun after an hour of slippery dark climbing was a bit of a relief.Then we jumped off these awesome rope swings and then tubed for a bit down the river. Then we hiked an extremely steep hour to the Mirador lookout point of the Natural Pools, PHEW, and then hiked down to swim in them, which was so refreshing for our hot humid selves. A group of Howler Monkeys jumped across the canopy near us and started throwing branches at us, They sound exactly like dinosaurs. Our camera broke halfway through the tour, but we managed to score some photos from a 60 year old German Man later that night.
Here’s me on the rope swing, eeeeks so funnnnnnn!
Hammock Lounging outside our Cabana (ps keenan took this amazing photo)
My Guatemalan Boyfriend “Willie”