We discovered last night that there were 2 buses to Flores – one at 5.30 am, the other at 1.30 pm. Needless to say, we slept too late for one of them, despite a vague intention to get up if possible. We also thought that the bus that brought us in at 8 would turn around + head back to Flores, but this proved to be not the case. So, our whole morning was spent very lazily, sitting in the café, drinking far more coffee + eating far more cakes than was good for us, really out of boredom rather than any physical need. Amused ourselves, tho’ not much, by playing a couple of silly games – battleships + boxes, two relics of schooldays – + just sitting + talking. Eventually, + none too soon, we got ourselves seats on the bus, which rapidly filled up to beyond bursting point – I had a small altercation with the conductor, who wanted to fit 3 onto every seat.
Flores itself is an island, + the bus dropped us off just this side of the causeway. We found a cheap hotel, at Q1.65 per person, + then debated how best to travel on. We had thought to catch the plane direct to Guatemala City, but Shane suggested heading south to Morales, + taking a train from there, + we decided to do the same. We made some fruitless enquiries about buses + then went into Flores to explore. For once, our timing was good – there was a fiesta on in town. However, first things first – we were all famished, + after some searching, we ended up eating at a small café near the main square. A good meal too, tho’ I could have done with one twice as big. We then celebrated Guatemala a little – a beer, + 3 or 4 bottles of cheap wine. For a fiesta tho’, the town seemed to be doing little to join us. The main attraction was a floodlit ladies’ basketball match in the centre. There was also a dance, but entry was Q5, so that was limited slowly to the idle rich. Shane + Val tried to get some dancing going, but the locals would do nothing but watch. I’ll confess I was a little annoyed with Val, in the same way, I imagine, she sometimes gets annoyed with me when I desert her at parties. Shane then tried, + succeeded, in gatecrashing the dance, but we were too chicken to join him, so we all 4 went back, the atmosphere between us soured a little.
As regards “small altercations”, with bus drivers or other officials, this happened rather more often than I would have wanted. I did – still do – have a strong sense of justice, and if I thought that was being offended, I would say so. To the exclusion, at times, of seeing things from other people’s point of view – and since they had to live in the place rather than just pass through, I should have been a bit more sensitive to that.
Already, we seem to be seeing the benefits of Guatemala being considerably cheaper than Mexico, and a consequent improvement in our standard of living. As for the tension between me and Shane, that too was fairly normal. One was forced to live quite closely with a person one had just met, with no guarantee that they would prove compatible. But then, such relationships were also very short-lived, so proved a temporary irritation.