After working hard it was time to play hard. After getting back to the hotel I went to the local markets with Kathlene. Now my girlfriend Alex is a proper magpie when it comes to a bargain but when it came to bartering, Kathlene took bargain hunting to another level. Im convinced on a couple of occasions she haggled so hard the market stall holders gave her money to take things off their hands.
While at the market the heavens properly opened. While in Guatemala people seemed somewhat surprised I never had an umbrella especially because of the weather forecast beforehand. I had to point out that whatever tropical storm the skies of Guatemala would try and throw at me it would not be half as bad as a wet October morning in North Manchester.
Saying that, since my return to Manchester, I have invested in a fine brolly...it hasn’t rained since.
I eventually dried myself out in time for a group salsa lesson. I was a bit apprehensive at first, I may have an arse like J-Lo but im not built for dancing. Someone in the group earlier in the week said that everyone has rhythm they just have to find it, well if you fancy trying to find mine you will need a canary and a miner’s lamp.
The Salsa School was called Mas Sexy and they had a vast array of t-shirts and childrens vests on sale as a souvenir, I didn’t think anyone was going to buy one as they were quite expensive, until I turned round to be comfronted by Gary wearing one and no not the men's t-shirt but the woman's vest.
The salsa class was so much fun, if a town could be powered on smiles and laughter, there was enough power generated in that room to light Blackpool for a year. Talking of Blackpool, I was asked to explain what Blackpool was like after mentioning it one meal time, I explained it was like Vegas but with Donkey’s. I don’t think they were buying it.
The highlight of the dancing was when we got to freestyle, I pulled out the legendary lawn mower dance move and then out came the invisible skipping rope. It was my time to get in the middle, I paniced and decided to do the Homer Simpson run on your side in a circle dance move. I like that move because you are dancing and cleaning at the same time. The downside was that the girl boy ratio in the group was was very heavy on the frauline side, meaning that the men of the group never got a break, we had to dance solidly for the whole hour, it killed.
With the excitement of dancing finished we headed back to our hotel for our final meal together. Like with every meal at the hotel the service was impeccable. There was always a bread roll on your side plate without fail within 15 seconds of sitting down. I noticed that if you ate the said bread roll before your main course came, one of the numerous waiters on hand, would replace it again within 15 seconds, I decided to see how many rolls I could get through before the mains came out. I think i made it to about 7. I threw up later on, but that is a side story.
After the mains Nakissa and Karen two of trips organisers got up to share a few words. They thanked us all for coming and then asked if each of us would come up and share one word with the group that described our trip and explain why.
I sat there quickly thinking of what i was going to say as Karen announced the first person to come up, while I was still mulling over words I realised the first name she had called out was mine, I headed up.
I still wasn’t 100% sure of what i was gonna say so i just started talking and this is kind of what happened.
“Right I'm gonna be a little bit cheeky I'm gonna pick two words and the first is awakening.I suffer realy badly from anxiety problems which in turn make me depressed. I was diagnosed with depression a while ago and have been on and off medication and counsilling ever since.
I often come across as a loud jokey person but that is just a mask from the fact that most of the time I am absolutely terrified. Sometimes I get too scared to leave the house. A couple of weeks before this trip I went to Scotland for the day with my mate Ada, the night before I couldn’t sleep because I was so scared about going.
So with this trip it was always going to be scary. All the way through the application process I was hoping I wouldn’t get selected, so that didn’t have to come and that it wouldn’t be my fault that I didn’t come. But I got selected and before I knew it, it was the day before the trip. I was more scared than ever. All that what was running through my head was how this trip could possibly go wrong. The thing is nothing that I could ever imagine up was anywhere near as bad as the actual journey I had getting here, it was horrific.
But I did it and did it on my own. The last couple of years have been really hard for me on some occasions I have been suicidal but getting through that journey has tought me not to worry too much and each day on this trip I have got stronger. It has been an awakening for me to know that I can overcome these feelings, which leads me on to my second word which is blessed, because I feel so blessed to have had this opportunity. Thankyou.”
While talking I was doing this speech, I did this comfort thing I do where I look down and fiddle with the earing in the top of my left ear. So I was surprised when I finished and finaly looked up to see people stood up clapping. It was a very special moment and it got a bit too much for me and a tear ran down my cheek.
I walked over to Nakissa who gave me my rather natty t-shirt as a gift and she gave me a hug. As she hugged me she said she was so glad to have met me. I don’t know if Nakissa knew how much of an effect her saying that to me would have, but it made me feel amazing. I have such low self esteem for someone who had only known me for less than a week tell me that she was so glad to have had the chance to meet me of all people, made me feel like I am actually a decent person. I was overwhelmed.
Coming soon: Flash goes to Guatemala Part 8 – Play that funky music white boy.