January 15th 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Church in Flores

When Val finally persuaded me to get up – she’d been awake for some time, seeing to various chores – the first priority was to find a bank + change some money, since by now we were not only broke but in debt, to Shane for Q5.  Not entirely our fault, since we hadn’t seen an open bank since we’d arrived in Guatemala – all we’d lived on were a few US dollars, + some quetzals we’d managed to get at the Belizean border (naturally, from the Belizean side.)  However, we met Shane as we were crossing the causeway + he told us that as it was a feast day, the banks were shut.  Terrific.  However, found a restaurant which would change $50 for us, provided we ate there.  Fair enough, really, especially as the breakfast was very good, with a complimentary slice of melon. 

Our appetites satisfied, + our wallets a little fuller, we spent what remained of the morning and a chunk of the afternoon exploring the town.  Not too difficult an enterprise really, since the island is really not very big + puts a natural limit upon the place.  We were quite impressed by the place, the more so since we expected little, having heard it was dirty + smelly.  Well it was, a little, but the island setting, + the steep, narrow streets, gave it a good deal of charm.  The main square was good, especially at fiesta time, with a marimba band playing + a couple of decrepit + very rickety-looking old fairground rides doing a good business, plus of course, any number of stalls + vendors.  The police station ran along one side of the square, + we were somewhat amazed to see prisoners, both men + women, leaning out thro’ the bars selling things, with the police paying no attention (tho’, to be fair, nobody was actually buying.)  We would have liked to take a picture, but regretfully decided against.  We took a siesta in the afternoon, back at the hotel (having first established where a decent restaurant was, so that we wouldn’t have to search again in the evening.)  The meal we had there was pretty good – a nice chicken with indifferent chips, washed down with a splendid apple drink.

We had not really known what to expect of Flores, but I read now that it has UNESCO status, so clearly its charms have become more widely known.  And maybe they have tidied it up a bit since then.  But it did have its attractive side, even then, and the scene at the police station sounds great.   Shame we were not emboldened enough to take a picture or two, but, as it happens…

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