Saturday, January 31, 2004

Guatemala City, Guatemala--Day 1

Well, here I am. Destination #1. Guatemala City! My day started out this morning at 7 a.m., waking up to the Arizona sunshine, and to all the things that I had left to do before I had to leave. Packing, a little photocopying here and there and writing notes laying out specific instructions about errands for my Mom and my brother Simon to run while I am gone. :) Whoops.

My first flight took me to Dallas from Tucson. After leaving my Mom and Simon at the airport (right on time I might add), I went through the security line only to have the stupid thing find something suspicious in my bag. As they grabbed my bag and proceeded to search through it all, they claimed that I had a pair of scissors in there. Now I knew that I didn't have any scissors (I packed this thing myself this morning!) but let the man search through everything just in case he found them. Several scans later, my bag was still producing this phantom pair of scissors.

By this point, I just wanted him to find the stupid mystery scissors and let me go on my way, but to my luck, he gave up.

My flight to Dallas was fine- I sat next to the window and even managed to fall asleep. That is, in between the woman next to me poking me and asking me questions, and offering me candy bars and naturally, her advice on life. Gloria, my seat neighbor, and her husband, Monty, were and great couple, visiting Tucson from New York...their accents clearly giving away their identities, but I pretended to be surprised when I heard where they were from. Monty didn't talk much, only to comment on how much was in my suitcase ("Geez, did ya put lead in here or somethin'?") and to help me get to back down from the overhead bin ("Sarah has all the time in the world, Gloria. She'll sit with us until all the other passengers get off and then I will help her with her bag.") We got my bag down just fine and I had enough time to grab a bite to eat before my next flight. Thanks Monty.

My flight to Guatemala City was fine too- a little choppy turbulence and a lot of listening to Americans talking about what mission and medical work they were doing during their stay in Guatemala City.

The plane landed, and I got off with the rest of the passengers and filed into a big line, "Migracion." I handed the woman at the desk my American passport and tried my best not to look as American as my passport claims. I headed out into the baggage area (walking past it, since I will not be checking luggage on this trip!) and into a large room with signs every which way, but with not very many people in it. Several hotel and cab companies were trying to catch my eye, but I looked up and saw a large crowd of people standing up along a balcony, most likely awaiting this friends and families. I was kind of taken aback, I didn't realize that all of these people were watching the whole time. I kept my eye on the crowd as I walked under them to the outside, where a blast of heat and humidity hit me (actually it was the door that almost hit me, but it sounds better this way).

Searching for my driver was easy, he picked me out of the crowd before I even realized it. He came right up to me with his sign saying "Sarah Galbraith" and whisked away my luggage. Am I that obvious? We whizzed down the streets of Guatemala City with the windows down. No conversation was attempted, I just tried to take in all of everything that I could see. Its nighttime so all I could see was what was passing by me, so I am looking forward to looking out of my window in the morning and seeing what the City has to offer. I paid my fare ("uhhh, what's cincuenta again?") and now I am in my hotel, ready to set off to the zoo tomorrow!

While I am here I am determined to make use of my Spanish. Already I tried calling downstairs to ask something in Spanish, but the man at the desk cut me off before I could even get two words out, speaking back to me in very clear English.


(c) 2004 Sarah Galbraith. All Rights Reserved.