One by one everybody got up and shared their words that summed up their experience, it was a very emotional. I'd like to think it was the emotion of the evening that got the better of my stomach, but I think it would probably be more likely to be the obscene amount of bread rolls and red wine I had consumed, that led me to have a date with the toilet bowl.
After sending the chorizo sausages back out the way they came, I started to feel a bit better and therefore was ready for a night out in the Antigua town. It was still raining when we rocked up to the bar we were going to, so we were keen to get in to avoid being drenched. Unfortunately the doormen didn’t share our sentiment and were charging us a stupid amount to get in. After a long and lengthy argument with the Spanish speakers of the group and the doormen we were in.
Nothing could have prepared me for what awaited us when we got inside. On stage to our left was a Guatemalan band playing funk music with Spanish twist while a child’s tricycle could be seen hanging from the ceiling. It was brilliant.
It wasn’t long before the group, dizzy on the combination of alcohol and high emotions were letting loose on the dance floor. At first I think the locals were taken aback but were soon won over by us, even Keyoha (I’m sorry if that’s not how you spell it, my dyslexia means I struggle with English names, so with a Japanese name, it’s just a stab in the dark I’m afraid) who was pulling out some crazy Japanese body popping a bit like a possessed salmon or a wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man.
I was really starting to feel the funk and at the ended of one song shouted play that funky music white boy, more in drunken excitement than in hope they would actually play it, but they did and we went crazy, even crashing the stage to play tambourine.
With the thought of getting up in the morning for our flights still lingering in our minds we decided to head back to the hotel. The rain had subsided somewhat so we decided to walk back. After being immersed in the Guatemalan culture for a week I decided to give back some English culture by wandering the streets back to the hotel singing the Fields of Anfield Road and You’ll Never Walk Alone.
On arrival back at the hotel the sensible option would have been to hit the sack, instead we hit the bar. A number of the group had decided not to come into Antigua town but this hadn’t stop them enjoying themselves at the hotel bar, this was proved by the Pretap who could be seen traveling quite speedily from his chair to the floor via the 6 foot rustic ornamental double bass, which was now looking worse for wear.
The announcement of the bar closing was met with disapproval and resulted in a couple of the group entering into that foolish of past times; trying to negotiate a deal while drunk with the sober bar staff for more drink. There is only ever one winner in this game, and it’s not as the original cheers would seem to suggest, it is in fact the smiling sober bar manager who has made a small fortune selling one bottle of wine between about 10 people. Ridiculous.
The numbers of people at the bar dwindled and after passing up on the expensive shot of red wine, I left with Mara and Nakissa. We headed past the hot tub where some of the group had reconvened. Nakissa and I were stood there laughing at the group, showing flagrant disregard for the no one in the pool after 9pm rule, when we turned round to notice that quicker than an ants fart Mara had ran to her room got changed and was now jumping in the pool.
At this point Nakissa and I were encouraged to join the group by jumping in, in our undercrackers. It was at this point the both of us showed maturity beyond our years and alcohol intake level by turning down the offer. We headed to our rooms, I slunk into my bed and drifted off to the now comforting sound of Keyoha snoring.
My alarm woke me abruptly the next morning. I did the last of my packing and headed to breakfast. I was sat next to Michael Chiabaudo, who had the second best surname of the trip, just ahead of Mara Cordial in third but some distance behind runaway leader Linda Spooner Rotunda.
I was having a chat with Michael and I was telling him I had been listening to my iPod, especially At Home by Crystal Fighters and told him how much the song was perfect for the trip. I played it to him and he agreed. It is such a beautiful song and for weeks after the trip it still brought a tear to my eye thinking fondly of my travels whenever it came on.
We chatted some more and Michael told me to start a blog and that if I did he would read it. It’s not quite Field of Dreams but with ‘Be What’s Possible’ still ringing in my ears and the new found confidence from the trip that people might actually care about what I would say, I decided to. Thanks Michael.
I said my final goodbyes to people it was really gutting as I knew the likelihood of seeing some of these amazing people again would be minimal.
The bus I was on arrived at the airport first, we got off went through customs and sat down ready for our flight to Houston, customer service capital of the world! While waiting I was stood with Gary and Pretap. I turned to them and said “In England there is a bad portrayal of Americans being idiots and it’s not fair, you guys have opened my eyes to what I wish my country could see more of and that is some of the kindest, coolest, most inspiration people ever.” Gary laughed and said it was the same in America, that they have a perception of the English being uptight snobs and that I had changed that perception.
Unfortunately the warm feeling I had got from this exchanged was tested to the limits by the journey home. I could finish this blog commenting on the ridiculous journey home involving the farcical immigration system of Houston airport which took 2 hours to get through. Or the idiot behind the desk at the good old Country Inn, who yet again wouldn’t let me stay. But I’m not going to end with that I’m going to finish with something more positive.
I continued to wait for the Houston flight and noticed by boarding passes that the majority of the group on my plane were sat together, all apart from me sat right at the front. Linda and Mara who were waiting for a later plane came over to say goodbye one last time in the terminal. I pointed out my displeasure at being dumped on my own at the front of the plane. Linda said “I think it’s good that you are sat next to someone you don’t know as it means someone else get to meet Flash”
It was one of the kindest things someone has ever said to me and raised my shoulders with a new found sense of self pride. External proof of how much this trip had changed my life for the better.
I feel sad now I’ve finished, it’s like the end of the Truman Show. If you have enjoyed my Guatemalan adventures I will still be posting blogs about other stuffs I get up to and what not, so keep your eyes peeled! Flash.xxx