backpacking looks like this

We’ve started a little joke on this trip…no one has to worry about anything bad happening to them, as long as I’m around. You see, I form some sort of strange buffer for other people while creating a black hole of disaster for myself. If someone is going to lose something, break something, get their ipod stolen, fall in front of everyone, slip on a waterfall, get barfed on, etc., its gonna be me. As I watched a Guatemalan McDreamy stitch up my bloody foot last night, I decided this black hole bad luck nonsense has gone a little bit too far, and I am demanding a break from the personal disasters. 

We took a bus ride from hell to get from Antigua to Xela, where I had the pleasure of supporting a large Mayan woman with my armrest and her bum right in my face, but got to watch all the Independence Day festivities outside the window. For Guatemala’s Independence Day, children run some sort of relay race while carrying the flag and torches and blowing whistles, and the town comes out to throw buckets of water and water balloons at them. The town also got a kick out of throwing the water balloons and buckets at our bus.

hall in the town square of vela

We finally got to Xela, and met up with some friends from Antigua. The whole country comes to Xela to celebrate Independence Day, so it was wild and crazy, but we were in a big group of boys, and met two brothers from Guatemala City. We went to a cowboy-themed bar and the bartender handed us cowboy hats and played all our song requests. One of the brothers taught me how to merengue and salsa, and we were all thinking about what a great night it was, and trying to stay up to watch the sunrise, and living la vida loca. Everything was peachy keen.

Alas, we were exhausted, so we gave up on the sunrise and the brothers started walking Natasha and I back to our hostel…..when….dun dun DUNNNN I stepped on the edge of a broken beer bottle and it swung up and sliced open my foot directly below my Teva strap, and I started gushing blood in a very scary way. Luckily, Natasha is a very good nurse and we used the toilet paper from my purse (because good travelers always carry some!) to try to stop the blood. The brothers hailed a cab, convinced me to go to the Emergency Room, and patted my head while I cried “I want my mom” over and over.

looking good!

We walked into the Emergency Room. Picture me: traveler’s pants, rain jacket, sweaty from dancing, sobbing and limping with a bloody Teva in one hand. Beautiful.

The nurse simply said “Whats your name?” “Raquel (sob hiccup)” “How old are you?” “twenty fooooourrrr!!! wahhh!” Then she led me to a bed, where Guatemalan McDreamy gave me two shots in my foot, flipped me on my stomach and gave me another one in my butt and then stitched up my wounds with I think barbed wire. Of course I get third world’s hottest doctor when I am simply at my finest.

The craziest part? We didn’t have to pay for anything, I didn’t sign anything, no one even took my temperature. Which was probably a good thing, because it appeared to be a “community thermometer” resting in a cup of water on a “medical unit” that also housed someone’s dinner and a used bedpan. It was surreal. Then the brothers took us to the pharmacy and our hostel, and paid for everything! They had to go back to Guatemala City this morning to work, so I would like to publicly thank Luis and Ernesto, for being the nicest Guatemalans in the history of the world. And excellent dancers.

at the xela fair for independence day!

I’m limping a little bit and feeling quite sorry for myself. But now I’ll always get to tell the story of getting my first stitches in my life in Guatemala on Independence Day, which is kinda neat. Kinda worried about trying to find a clinic in El Salvador to get them removed in a few days, but I’m sure it will all work out.

Still determined to have a good time, and to be brave and do amazing things.

Wish you were here.