If you need to fly into or out of Guatemala City, stay at Patricia’s Bed & Breakfast www.PatriciasHotel.com. It’s clean, spacious, quiet, and Alberto speaks English and will pick you up from the airport which is just 2 minutes away. It’s $14 a night which includes a hot shower, a clean room to yourself, breakfast in the morning, and transportation to and from the airport.
When I finally arrived in Guatemala, I got off at the wrong stop. I should have just gotten off at the bus station. I didn’t really know the difference, and it didn’t really matter because Alberto was waiting for a phone call anyway. He drove a really nice shuttle bus and he and his dad or friend helped me get my luggage. (I couldn’t tell the relationship. Maybe Patricia is his mother, if that’s the case, then the mystery of the identity of the employees of the B&B is solved. On the way back to the house we talked mostly about the World Cup, and how even though Spain is not a Central American country it was better that they won than the Netherlands.
Patricia’s Bed & Breakfast is a really nice affordable hostel. I say hostel because it is very much the feel of the hostel – the world travelers, the different languages, the common meeting area, and the conversations between new friends. For me, it brought back feelings of when I was a student in England and used to travel on the weekends. When you travel, it feels like you lose some of your national identity and are immediately thrown into a larger category of people – world citizens. Conversations take the form of generalized things: where to go, what to see, how to stay healthy, funny experiences, and trying to sort out the differences in the culture. It was really refreshing to be back in this environment.
During my night in the hostel, I met three young people from Spain, all on “holiday” finishing up two weeks traveling around Guatemala. They were still elated after the victory of Spain in the World Cup and told me about the week long celebrations in the streets. Jenny was from North Carolina doing a Ph.D. in epidemiology, and did three weeks of language school in Shela, Guatemala. Next to me at the table was a psychologist and her son from New York. Over in the corner were three Germans; a man and his son, and a friend. They were trying to figure out how to call home. I’m pretty sure it was early there in their home country, so I believe they resorted to checking email.
It was hard to leave the team from West End Presbyterian church. They helped me process my first week in Central America. I had some good friends on the team and I really enjoyed having fun with them and getting to know Nicaragua. Most importantly though, I needed to have friends and familiar people to help me begin to process the poverty and beauty we were experiencing in Nicaragua. I’ll begin to unpack those things this week when I have time in language school.