Thursday, September 13, 2007

Of Puerto Arista

It has been well over a month since your correspondents packed up the shop and departed Guatemala, en route to Washington. It would be a bit silly to give a full play-by-play of the trip, but we'll be publishing photos and selected anecdotes here for however long they last. We also have a couple other major projects from Guatemala that linger unfinished and will be published here and on Flickr at some point, so stay tuned.

Anyway, our final day in Guatemala we stayed at the same hotel, in the same room, where we had stayed for a few weeks while we looked for permanent housing upon our arrival two years ago. I'm sure a more philosophical correspondent would hold forth here about cycles and symbolism and such, but mostly we were too tired for such lofty rumination. We had breakfast with another Embassy employee who had just driven down to Guatemala through Mexico, and seemed to think we were going to die in the barren wilderness of Chiapas because there is "absolutely nothing there." He was closer to correct than we thought, as the coastal road through Chiapas is pretty barren, with not much in the way of roadside fast food or hotels. Fortunately, there was some hyperbole in his warning, and we took a side road to the beach town of Puerto Arista for the night. The hotel where we had made a reservation turned out to be a dump, ramshackle and smelly and probably flea-ridden. We went looking for other options and found them not much less dumpy, so we wound up back at our original hotel, an interior view of which (above) shows the TV, which had two channels and apparently got signal from two completely different antennae(?), which details were provided to guests via Sharpie on the wall.

Scruffy as our hotel may have been, a hotel on the beach is still a hotel on the beach. We had a lovely meal and delicious Mexican beer watching the sun set over the Pacific, discovered that there were actually more biting insects on the beach than in our room, and managed to get a relatively good night's sleep despite some concerns that at a hotel so shabby, our car (or its valuable trunkload of contents) was surely going to be stolen in the night.

It wasn't, and we got an early start the next day for Oaxaca, of which more soon.

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