Stumbled Upons

With not much to do here, but relax and read, we thought we
would take a walk into town. We stumbled upon directions in our room stating
the way to walk if you so chose. There is a path and then a gate where you turn
right for the town and left for the Castillo. Either direction should take you
thirty minutes.

Finding the path to the kayaks was easy. From there, we
stumbled upon the wooden bridge that goes on and on and on while winding in and
out. If it where straightened out, it probably would cover about 4 city blocks.
I really admire the patience of the people who built it. It is elevated through
swampy land with creepy vegetation that looks like a haunted marsh.
When you reach light at the end of the bridge once again,
escaping from the canopy of trees and vines reaching this way and that up from
the water and other arms reaching into it, you stumble upon a field. On the
left side of the field are cows. Brahma type cows, with the long wattles under
their necks. They stare at you with suspicion and are really skittish as if
they may have seen many things emerge from that darkness where the bridge ends,
but they keep their secrets, not sharing a single memory with anyone but each
The directions we were to follow were to look for a green
gate. Shortly after passing the cows with the secrets, we stumbled upon a green
and gold gate, but this did not look right. We were warned that the green gate
would probably be locked, but we could squeeze through. This gate was yawning
wide saying AHHHHH! We kept walking, but we stumbled upon the path; it
consisted on rocks of innumerable sizes, making a stroll difficult, but each
step required climbing until the next step. After another ½ a mile, we stumbled
upon the really real green gate. It was locked with a chain and a lock. Swinging
the gate to and fro did not provide enough room for squeezing anything much
larger than a cockroach through. We stood back and assessed the situation
before we despaired.
Looking at the situation again from a bit of a distance, we
stumbled upon a solution. On the side of the gate post there was an open space
where we could squeeze through easily and we did. Our quest was to go to town
to buy a Tigo Movil Internet USB stick, so we turned right based on our
instructions. Walking on the roadside did not feel too safe, because the road
curves and cars don’t pay too much attention to pedestrians. We both independently
estimated that it was another mile to actually stumble upon the town. Whoever
suggested thirty minutes walking must have been an Olympian, but we made it.
Once in town, we were overwhelmed with the people around,
the traffic was horrific both vehicle and pedestrian. With the note in my hand
like a child sent to the grocery store by his mother, I went to one shop after
another wherever I saw a Tigo sign. In each place, they shook their head, said
something in Spanish, which took me too many seconds to comprehend and then
they pointed me in another direction. Finally, we stumbled upon the Tigo store,
the place where they sell mobile phones as well at the Tigo service needed to
operate them. Eureka! This was the place.
For 205 quetzals or 20 Euros, I would get 3 GB of Internet
; however, they we running a special offer and the first fifteen days
are free. Now what I was uncertain about is exactly how much bandwidth usage is
free?  Once you do use up the GB you pay
for, you can return to any Tigo store in Central America or any other place you
happen to stumble upon one and add money to your stick. Quite a deal, I
thought, since the hotel did not have WiFi and only two computers that I could
only use for e-mail, nothing else.
Being potentially connected to the world again, we explored
the town, all one street of it. That is not quite true; there are 2 streets,
but since the 2nd street is the one we had to walk up to get to the
main street, that had been explored already. Along the one street, it was as in
many villages, dozens of the same types of stores competing with each other.
Three restaurants sit side by side, none of which would pass a health
inspection from a long distance glance. There are more hardware stores here
than most cities have bars and pubs. How much duct tape does anyone need?
In one section of the street, we stumbled upon five women
with food carts set up side by side along the street. Note that sidewalks are
non-existent so you are battling other pedestrians while all of you are trying
to avoid bicyclists, tuk-tuks, cars, and delivery trucks all at the same time.
It is visual juggling at its best. As we are trying to negotiate some walking
space past these women who have their food carts partially in the road, each
begging us to try their tamales, tortillas, fried chicken, stuffed chili
peppers, and other foods they have labored over. As soon as the warning scent
of a potential customer reaches their olfactory glands, you turn into prey.
Each woman is screaming at you to buy their food suggesting you only look straight
ahead until you have bypassed the competitors’. Everyone has the best selection
and flavor in their own mind. We get past each of them with our clothes,
bodies, and minds intact, but not without minor scarring.
Now that we are out of the battle zone, what now? We have
walked the street, both sides. We have done the side alleys and the courtyards.
We have stumbled upon 39 hardware stores, 24 stores that are selling flip-flops
and used books, 11 stores offering cheap mobile phones, one veterinary supply
store and one pharmacy being run out of someone’s spare room, but where they
offer to administer injections and intravenous medicines as well as fill
prescriptions. The single woman behind the counter had glasses like the bottom
of a soda bottle. Viva la cultural differences.
After that long walk and complete investigation of the town,
we were ready to stumble upon something different. We found a hotel restaurant
down by the waterfront. The papaya smoothie was delicious, but what now? The
clouds were darkening and herding together in what had been a luscious blue sky
was now looking like a bad bruise of black and blue. The thought of walking 2
miles and potentially getting caught in the rain did not get score high on my
fun-o-meter. We tried taking a tuk-tuk to the green gate, but that was a
forbidden zone for tuk-tuks for some reason. Luckily, we stumbled upon a taxi that
was more than happy to take us and charge us 25 quetzals. We were more than
happy to pay 2.50 Euros for a mile ride.
Back to the green gate, we squeezed through the side once
again and retraced our way back to the hotel. We made it back to our bungalow when
the skies opened and the rains started to pour down.
For the first time, I took my netbook computer to the restaurant
and was ready to connect to the Internet with the new Tigo stick. Each time I
had used the netbook here, I had only used it in our bungalow. As soon as the computer
booted up, what did I stumble upon, but a message “Wireless connections are
available. Would you like to connect?” Well sure I would like to save my 3 GB
for as long as possible. Gosh darned if there was not an unsecured Internet
connection that was available for using. I was able to post the last three days
of blog posts and read and respond to e-mails. I trawled the Internet with the
feeling that I had been released from a prison about to explore the world
without restrictions once again. That lasted until 6 pm, when the entire
Internet connection was lost, not only my WiFi friend, but the connection for
the hotel’s computers as well.
Tomorrow, I will try out the Tigo Internet stick that I had
stumbled upon.     
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