Caminante, No Hay Camino
NEBAJ, GUATEMALA: July 11-12
Steve: My body has not been liking this traveling-in-a-developing-country thing. Our last night in Chichicastenango was highlighted by a sleepless night of bad chills, fever and headache. After feeling the fever pass about 6 in the morning, I knew I wanted to get a move on and make it to our next destination so that I could relax (Leah: Nothing like having your husband wake you up at 4:30 a.m. feverish and desperate for safe drinking water only to suffer complete panic when I realized our water bottles were empty and the only other option would be thirst or unsafe tap water. Luckily we had an angel that night and found a water bottle we had forgotten about in our daypack. Just another example of how we don’t always realize how lucky we are to turn on the faucet when needed). We trekked to the camioneta station where we proceeded to take the next bus out of town to Nebaj. Let’s just say that poorly-maintained roads, multitudinous speed bumps, mountainous switchbacks and a tired, achy head do not go well together. I toughed it out though and we made it to our next stop, the alpine village of Nebaj.
Where was I? Nebaj, right. So after arriving in the packed, diesel-exhaust-ridden bus station (which had a dog that looked ridiculously like Minger and stopped us both in our tracks as we tried to exit the bus) we made our way down several blocks to the first hostel that our guide book suggested. After viewing the available room, I couldn’t agree to stay there even in my fatigued state. Luckily Leah, who for all intents and purposes is the guardian of our budget (I probably would have gone all out a couple of times already), felt the same way so we moved on a couple of blocks and stumbled upon another hostel, Hotel Media Luna Medio Sol. This place which was started by an American Peace Corp volunteer is by no means fancy—as Leah pointed out there’s probably no Ritz Carlton Nebaj—but felt much more comfortable and seemed like a better place from which to explore the town. Additionally funds from the hostel and associated restaurant and tour agency go directly to supporting the local Ixil community. Nevertheless we ate at the restaurant and booked a half-day tour for the following day to see some local waterfalls. After being fat and happy, feeling like we had done a good deed, and watching a Spanish version of The Transporter 3 (without subtitles), we took to our bunk beds and got a good night’s sleep. (Leah: Well, after I had a coughing fit and wanted to claw my eyeballs out due to my allergic reactions to the just-a-tad moldy room).
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