And tired. And finding I suddenly have all sorts of stuff to sort through. And just wanting to go to sleep. And really not looking forward to going back to work. And tired. But happy to be home, albeit with all sorts of email and news to paw through. And unhappy about having to get back to my life. And still a little disoriented from having been in another country yesterday. And tired. Good night.
In Pana now. Staying with my grandmother in her lovely house. Aiia! you should have seen the looks on Jake’s and Annemarie’s faces when we walked onto the property! Pictures to follow, I swear. You know, I should have brought my memory card and reader to this internet cafe; I could have uploaded my photos to Flickr. Anyway.
From Flores we went to Tikal, did a whole bunch of climbing and walking, and took hundreds of photos. The ruins are in a sort of nature reserve-type-protected area so there were all sorts of plants and insects and birds and monkeys that were basically untouched and just growing wild. I have been on top of three Mayan pyramids; how many have you been on?
Then we were back on that terrible overnight bus. This time the seats were better, and the food was mildly better, and the sound system wasn’t giving me a headache. But they turned the air conditioning on too high and didn’t give us fucking blankets so we were freezing fucking cold. Arg! So we arrive in Guatemala city at 7AM or whatever the hell it was and manage to get on a chicken bus to Chichicastenango. There Annemarie went nuts shopping and Jake got a whole shitload of yarn for next to nothing. He spent about $25 on about $150 of yarn.
So we came to Pana and left for San Pedro the next morning. We climbed up the volcano — Jake and I only made it partway because of various ailments — and managed to make it to Santiago by 6PM, dripping wet.
Now, the sons of the people who own and run the fanciest hotel in Santiago — possibly the fanciest on the lake — are friends of mine. I went to school with them when I lived here and so David and Suzie (the owners) know me and decided to give us a special deal: we stayed in the primo suite ($80 USD per night, which is four or five times what a normal hotel would charge) for $20. And then they stuffed us full of amazing food, the cost of which pretty much made up for the cheap room. Anyway, I want to send out a huge thank-you to David and Suzie for taking us in, bedraggled and pathetic as we were, lending us clothes while ours were in the drier, and treating us like honoured guests. Those cats are awesome. And if you’re ever in this part of the world, budget for a night at the Posada de Santiago. It’s well worth it, even if you’re paying full price.
So now we’re back in Pana, like I said. It’s raining, sometimes a little drizzle and sometimes a real downpour. I guess that’s why they call it the rainy season.
More later. And I haven’t forgotten to upload photos, I just haven’t had the chance yet.
Jake and I are in Flores, Guatemala. It is lovely here, especially after the shitty day we had yesterday. We slept about three hours after driving to Toronto, got on a plane — I don’t think either of us slept more than a few minutes there — spent another six hours bumming around Guatemala City without really seeing much interesting and then found out that the overnight sleeper bus we were planning to take was actually not as cool as we’d thought. Although the seats were soft and comfy, they didn’t recline much at all and it was really difficult to get any sleep, even as tired and sleep-deprived as we were. They even had to wake us all up halfway there so the ministry of agriculture or something could inspect the bus.
But then at 5:40 this morning we pulled into Flores. A few minutes of getting our bearings and we found a nice hotel called Hotel Petén, with air-conditioned rooms and a decent restaurant and a view out on the lake. Oh, and there’s a small pool in the hotel, but we’re still trying to figure out if it’s for swimming or for show. So we both had showers, slept for a few hours, went for a walk and we finally feel like we’re on vacation.
I really shouldn’t be writing this, I suppose, because I’m just supposed to check my mail and go back upstairs, but I figure it’s been a while since I posted, so. And I wouldn’t expect much in the way of blogging until I get back. But keep your eyes on my Flickr page.
I am muchly impressed:
There are many public accommodations that secure a superior package of freedoms under a common carrier rule than under a rule that permits arbitrary discrimination on the grounds of individual conscience, or other arbitrary grounds. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, barring discrimination in access to public accommodations such as buses, restaurants, and hotels on grounds of race, is based on the claim that the package [I am free from discrimination to use any public accomodation; I am not free to use my ownership of a public accommodation to advance a racial caste system] secures a superior set of freedoms than the package [others are free to try to make me an untouchable in civil society; I am free to use my ownership of a public accommodation to advance a caste system]. Note here that considerations of non-domination are important over and above opportunity. Even if someone else is willing to offer me a room at a hotel without regard to my race (so I don’t lack the opportunity to stay overnight in some
city), this does not remove the subjection inherent in anyone trying to make me a subordinate caste, by depriving me of a hotel room on account of my race.
This argument generalizes. The operators of a private telephone system should not be able to claim a right of religious conscience to eavesdrop on telephone conversations, so they can cut off blasphemous phone calls. The operator of an ambulance service that takes public calls, who is a Christian Scientist, may not claim a right of religious conscience to refuse to transport any emergency case to the hospital, unless it is for the treatments permitted to a Christian Scientist (bone setting, pulling an infected tooth). A Talibanesque taxi driver may not conscientiously refuse to serve women unaccompanied by male relatives, on the ground that he might thereby be facilitating their sinful consorting with the opposite sex. And similarly, a pharmacist may not claim a right of religious conscience to refuse to fill a prescription for birth control to women, or to single women, on the ground that he might thereby be facilitating the sin of fornication.