The Tastiest Food

For someone who thinks so highly of travel, I certainly don’t do it very often. The flight to Guatemala was my first time on an airplane in ten years. I had to request a new passport – not because my old one expired, but because, when I found it, it was completely covered in black mold.

Anyway, I find travel invigorating, even though I don’t do it enough. Seeing how other people live really does a lot to broaden one’s horizons… By which I mean, “eat really good food.”

After leaving Guatemala City, our first port of call was Coban, a city roughly five hours away by bus ride along unmaintained roads at a seventy degree angle from horizontal. Here, a group of us decided to hit up a restaurant, where, we were told, they served the best hot chocolate.

  
That’s… well, it wasn’t quite what I expected. The drink was basically just roasted cocoa beans, ground up and mixed with hot water. Maybe it was mildly sweetened.

Don’t get me wrong, though. The stuff was delicious. Way better than Swiss Miss cocoa mix.

The top item on the menu, and the one I just had to try, was a soup called kaq ik, which is pronounced just as it sounds. It’s the signature dish of the region: a turkey soup, served with rice and tamales. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to have a bowl of soup put in front of me, especially when it came out looking like this:

 

…with a big ol’ turkey leg just hangin’ out the top.

Not pictured, sadly, is the tortilla and blood sausage appetizer I started off with. never underestimate the importance of good spices. With the right seasoning, anything can be delicious, even coagulated blood.

Seriously, you guys. This stuff looked just like chocolate pudding, only… you know, made out of blood and stuff.

Anyway, the kaq ik came with a spice mix to be added to the broth per the diner’s preference. I figured to get the whole experience, I should add a little to my soup. I sniffed the stuff first, trying to gauge just how piquant it was. The mix smelled earthy, almost woody, so I thought it would be okay to add just a little spoonful.

Unfortunately, I didn’t realize the spice mix was actually composed of fifty percent chile powder and fifty percent powdered hellfire…

I spent my meal crying, in part from the pain, and in part from the sheer joy that can only come from eating with friends good food only mildly ruined by tourist’s incompetence while a talented karaoke artist croons Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are.”

That’s what I’m talking about when I’m talking about broadening your horizons.

Greetings from Guatemala!

So I’m on vacation at the moment… which normally means that I’m at home, baking cakes and watching Sailor Moon. However, this time it means I’m sitting up in a hotel room in a completely different country, fiddling around on my iPad instead of sleeping. Also, I don’t speak any of the languages here. You’d think I’d be freaking out a bit.

Instead, I find myself thinking about how much of a relief it is to be able to stand up whenever I want after nearly 7 hours in an airplane. I’m also dwelling a lot on the ending of the in-flight movie I watched: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Spoiler alert: it’s sad.

I’m also thinking about the man on crutches I saw while our bus made its way back to the hotel. His legs appeared to be completely useless as he swung them about like a pendulum, yet, when the headlights of a car fell on him while he was in the intersection, he smiled, waved, and promptly did the most enthusiastic handstand I’ve ever seen.

I also find myself thinking about the moon – which is a thing I do a lot, apparently. Funny thing – I feel like I’m half a world away from home, and yet it looks exactly the dang same here as it does there.

  

We Can Dance If We Wanna

image0002

Man, I love being able to take time to do backgrounds!

Violinists are naturally hot, you guys. ¬†Especially if they’re barefoot. ¬†Barefoot violinists are great… although, if you’re prancing through the woods with all those fallen branches and deer droppings, I do recommend shoes.

On Love and Poop

So once upon a time, back when I was working as a receptionist in a doctor’s office and really bitter about the whole thing, I was asked to return a call from a patient and give them some bad news from their doctor.  Not bad news like, “You’re going to die next week,” but like “Since you’ve not followed up as instructed, the doctor will no longer be writing prescriptions for your medications.”

No lie – at the time, I was ticked off.  I’d already spoken to the individual before, and I knew what their response would be.  I was not in the mood to face that kind of anger at the moment. So, as one does when they feel the world is dumb, I went to Facebook.  I said something like “Success is being able to take responsibility for your own actions.  Failure is having to apologize for someone else.”

Yeah, at the time, I thought that sounded pretty smart.  After all, I was, like, twenty-five.  I knew what was up.  To me, the idea of success was totally tied in to how many messes you had to clean up.  The more you cleaned up, the less successful you were.

At least, that’s what I thought until I got a cat.*

  
If you’ve ever had a cat, one of the first things you learned to do was to clean out the litter box every day, because the alternative to NOT cleaning out the litter box was… unpleasant.  After all, it’s not like the cat can clean out its own box.  That requires opposable thumbs, and every time I try to staple thumbs on my cat, it just runs away.

Sometimes, sadly, there are messes we can’t clean up ourselves.  At the time, we really wish/hope for someone else to come along, give us a cookie, and say, “Naw, you sit this one out.  I got this.”

And if that’s what we want from other people, I guess we should be willing to clean up some messes that aren’t our own, from time to time.

I still wish those doctors would call their cranky patients themselves, though.

*Note:  In no way is my every post from here on out going to mention my cat.  I’m not frequenting THAT part of the Internet!