BootsnAll Travel Network

When It Rains, It Pours (Times Three)

The saying goes that when it rains, it pours. Let’s multiply that by three, shall we?

1. Guatemala has two seasons during the year. The dry season, which runs about late November to May, and the rainy season, which lasts from May until December depending on what area of Guatemala you are in. I can declare that I am now living it up in the rainy season. It has been raining since Monday. And when it rains, it pours. Off and on. Some mist, then drizzle, then steady rain, then deluges and then it will stop. The clouds move pretty fast, thunder rumbles in the distance. So there is not a whole lot of time I have spent outdoors on more trips. But that could be for another reason, #2…


Another typical afternoon at Parque Central in Antigua.

2. It has been a rough week. I’ve been holed up in my hostel for most of it, not voluntarily though. Seems I ate something Monday that I shouldn’t have eaten. I’m guessing it was the frozen fruit mix bar I bought from a local vendor. It tasted great. But by Tuesday, I definitely caught something. In my stomach. Pain swelled within. But mind over matter, at least I always say. I figured that my little stomach ache would go away. So I treated myself to a chicken dinner. And when it rains, it pours.

Back to back? Food poisoning on Monday, and then Tuesday? Is it possible? I have no other explanation. I figure it was the chicken. Or maybe the lettuce in the salad. I can’t be sure what it was that put me over the edge. Tuesday night I got no sleep. Massive stomach problems. Even had a fever. Cold, then hot sweats. Hurt when I swallowed. Couldn’t breathe from one side of my nose, all plugged up. Even developed a little cough, which I still have now. I somehow made it through the night, but Wednesday day was the worst. I visited the bathroom no less than 12 times in a span of 24 hours. Yesterday probably only 8 times. And today, so far, 4 times. So dehyrdated. So sick.


2 crepes filled with vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Now that I think about it, the whipped cream tasted off. Maybe it was the whipped cream that was the second culprit. Or maybe the 4th, after the frozen fruit bar, the chicken, and the lettuce.


My dorm room, Antigua. Spent most of my time on the bed, and the rest in the bathroom.

3. A few days ago I had one option to consider. And when it rains, it pours. Suddenly I have three.

Option I: Finca Tatin. They need someone to volunteer for a month to help around. Check in guests, answer phones, be an available staff person for most of the day. Perfect way to extend my travels. And read more books. But I would literally be stuck there, on the river. Could I possibly get cabin fever in the jungle? So after careful consideration, I decided to let Ana go for it.

Option II: Had breakfast Wednesday morning at the El Patio Kaffee House. I ended up chatting with Paxton, the Guatemalan owner of the place. It is a cafe serving food and drinks in an open air courtyard, perfect for studying or reading or writing or just spending an afternoon. They have a book exchange where I picked up a copy of the Da Vinci Code. Long story short, Paxton enjoys to travel as much as I do. He likes to take trips here and there. And needed some extra help around the cafe. Cooking, cleaning, serving customers, etc. And he convinced me to give it a go. I would get free room and board, plus spending money. For about 8 hours of work a day, as the place is only open from 8-4. So another opportunity lands in my lap. Extend my travels. Continue brushing up on my Spanish, plus utilize some culinary skills (like I have any). Maybe even run the place when he is gone. He offered me a one month test run. The part I liked best is that I would be in Antigua, in the city and not feeling so stuck. There are still 2 volcanoes I can climb, numerous biking opportunities, and other day trips I can participate in when I’m not working. It would allow me to settle in for a bit, recover from the rigors of moving from place to place every few days. Would I accept? Yes. But wait…

Option III: Disclaimer.

I like to think that I have an open mind, and try to with hold judgement whenever possible as I gather enough information to develop my conclusions. But as we are all aware, there are always two sides of a story, and sometimes one side is more pursuasive than the other, for many different reasons including slant of the media, personal biases, personal experiences, knowledge of stories of friends, etc etc. There can be a lot of confusion and misinformation, and I will admit that at times I feel paralzyed by so much of what is going out there in the world. So with that, here’s what I will be doing.

After the Volcan Pacaya hike, I hung out with some of the hikers and even ran into Christie, one of the hikers from my Nebaj to Todos Santos hike from over a month ago. One of the people I met is a guy from the States, Geoff. Good guy, from the Clearwater FL, we’re about the same age. He’s been in Central America for the last 14 months, ie over a year. His Spanish, of course, is better than mine. Is he here for school? For work? Volunteering like many other people I’ve met? Yes Yes and Yes. And he doesn’t have a penny to his name. So, what is his secret? And could I apply that to my current situation. Yes.

So here’s the hard part, trying to explain this all. No, I have not been nor will I ever be brainwashed. I haven’t been sucked into a cult or anything, though I know some of you will think otherwise. This is a great opportunity for me to continue to travel without having to worry about the money situation. I’ll be able to travel, work on my Spanish, eat and live for free, hang out with some cool people, volunteer on different projects in Central America, and also do some teaching. But first I have to do a training program in San Pedro, Lago Atitlan. Who can complain about that? Here’s a pic from my previous visit to the lake:


I will be leaving tomorrow (Saturday) with Geoff and three other new friends for a one week training program to learn more about the program’s history, goals, social projects and teachings. Then, if all goes well, I will be traveling south to El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras with my team to communities, villages, pueblos and areas urban and rural to assist with local projects and share what we’ve learned. I know what you’re thinking, RELIGIOUS CULT! But it’s not, because Scientology literature says you can hold on to your original beliefs and still practice Scientology. Facts: Scientology is an applied religious philosophy, and it has helped changed many lives for the better. The church says it can help people learn better, and live better, improving their communication skills, keeping believers off drugs, giving them confidence, assisting them with family life and solving day-to-day problems.

Yeah yeah I know, many churches can do that. And that is great. So why can’t Scientology reach out and help others as well? I’m not going to defend Scientology because I would be wasting my breath, but believe me, I’ve done my homework and research, and of course a big thanks to Ezra for pointing me to the website Cult Awareness Network (CAN)

So that’s it, that’s the plan. Don’t worry, I won’t be signing my life’s savings away or cutting off contact. But the training will be over the next 7 days at their center, so I won’t have Internet access until next Friday and I can tell you all about it and where our first assignments will be. I’m pretty excited about it, and keeping an open mind because in the past I’ve been known to make fun of Scientology, but that was because I was ignorant and didn’t really know much about them aside from those cheesy personality tests and celebrities in the media. But what is that saying about walking a mile in another’s shoes?

So that’s what I’ll be doing for the next week. Tomorrow’s first teachings will consist of our “auditing”, where the program helps you locate and eliminate spiritual problems. The Sunday format will be presented on that Saturday, and will follow for the next several days, so I’ll only find out about what I’ll be doing the day before. Sounds like a fun adventure to me, so why not give it a go?!  I can always decide not to continue, its not like I am being forced to do this.  So there you go.

I guess that’s all I have for now. Have a great Memorial Day Weekend and I’ll have more on Monday and Wednesday about my previous hikes to Lago Atitlan and Nebaj to Todo Santos, and then I’ll have a fully updated status report next Friday about what I’ve learned.  So until then, bye bye May and hello June!


2 responses to “When It Rains, It Pours (Times Three)”

  1. Jonas says:

    I can’t tell if you’re totally serious about the Scientology gig.

    You do realize that you already belong to a cult up here in Portland, right? It sounds like we’re going to have to send you back to the brainwashing center in Vegas.

  2. Mike says:

    I revert back to my original analysis of Edwin. He is a spy. He has built up this aura of unbelievability with all of his actions. Many people questioned if he really was going to Guatemala. I think he started Scientology and is spying for Latveria, you know, where Dr. Doom is from. Jeremy and I saw him at Bally’s Saturday or a doppelganger to throw us off. I think he is living in a $1.2 million home in Forest Heights planning his takeover of the Trailblazers! I will go into hidding now as the wrath of Edwin will be upon me for exposing his secret.

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