February 18th 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Rosa and her children

Val trotted down the road + bought some milk for our breakfast, corn flakes being a touch dry without it.  Then, feeling lazy, we lay on our beds + read, until, having finished my book, I persuaded Val to put down hers as well.  We then set off to look for a cheaper hotel or room, + there was one possibility of a place that was OK, a bit cheaper, but that we had to confirm later with the man of the household.  Everywhere else was either grotty or expensive or both, throwing into a more favourable light our present choice.  Compared with just about anywhere in Panajachel, agreed it didn’t rate, but it came out pretty near the top of the pile for San Jose.  San Jose is not a nice place – it is a pretty typical port, ie full of whores, bars, cafes.  Only the latter are presentable, + they’re expensive.  We discovered from a group of drunks (friendly) that we passed, + who gave us a drink each, that the place plays host to a lot of tourists at the weekend, which explained the over-abundance of under-used comedors.

We bought our shopping for our evening meal, then back to our hotel.  There we met again some customs officers who seem to dominate the place – our particular boarding-house, that is.  We’d chatted with them quite a bit last night, before 2 of them took it in turns to thrash me at chess.  One of them now promised to find out for us some information regarding the likelihood, or otherwise, of getting a  boat, so that decided us to stay where we were, at least for the time being.  We whiled away the afternoon effectively doing nothing – reading, writing, etc – + then our friend told us it was sometimes possible to obtain passage, but the next boat on which it was likely was in a month or two.  This caused us to abandon our plan, + we resolved to leave in the morning.  Our evening meal was a splendid potato salad – we had planned to try out our stove, but it wasn’t necessary – they allowed us the use of the open coal stove.

Apologies for the photo – we took none in San Jose, it seems – but at least it gives me the chance to include this photo of Rosa, the lady who taught Val weaving, and her children.

Ports all seem to be pretty grotty – I guess they’re just industrial complexes really. But at least we got to meet some locals, and play chess. I am a reasonable player, but have never studied the game, so inevitably, when I came up against people who clearly had, and took it very seriously, I was pretty soundly thrashed. One of my opponents did take me back to a point in our game when, apparently, I had got myself into an invincible winning position, but then squandered it. Having it pointed out to me made me feel both better and worse.

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