Stop Trying to Chop Off Your Sister’s Head with Your New Toy Axe While She’s Vomiting onto the Floor of the Shuttle


So we did it. Guatemala hosted us well and remains intact, despite our tear across its kidneys. All in all, I’d say we had a near-perfect two weeks there, particularly considering our respective ages, the ever-present noise of cars, birds, firecrackers, and drunken revellers, and the kids’ certainty that they would never, ever eat a corn tortilla. Oh yea, and considering that Girl got car sick for the first time in her life during a four-hour shuttle ride (and, yes, her berserker Viking brother did try to Anne Boleyn her during the regurgitation).

More shall follow in upcoming posts, but for tonight, as it’s late and I’m revving up another semester starting tomorrow, I’ll just smack y’all with this unabashed photo-log–a visual greatest hits, as it were. Here and there, the photos are in chronological order; the randomness and lack of strict order are my homage to the Guatemalan custom and character.

I bought everything you see here. Plus a lemonade.

This volcano photo, taken from a moving shuttle, is blurry due to the speed of the van. And the vodka in the lemonade.

We visited Xocomil, a waterpark. I know. I know. We went to Guatemala and visited a waterpark. But in our defense, I’ll say that it was perhaps the most “native” thing we did there, as we were just about the only gringos there, and this park was built by the Guatemalan Workers’ Association. Little-known fact: Guatemalan workers really dig ginormous turtles.

Up ’til now, I haven’t used photos showing faces much, but I guess I’d like to make the point that we were actually there, and I didn’t just get a passle more photos off of, as in my previous post. Plus, I like to document each day that I wear a black bra. So here I am with Girl and Wee Niblet, who discovered that his legs didn’t work (he must’ve contracted polio from the pools at the waterpark) on this, the trip where we walked everywhere, all day long. Here is my solution. First, I tied him to my back. Then, when he really made me crazy with his refusal to pedal his own 45-pounds of pudge, I tied him to a chair in the hotel room.
I can’t even tell you how beautiful the textiles are. I probably don’t need to. But I can tell you that they are even more dramatic and bright back here, in Minnesota’s dreary January. People with Seasonal Affective Disorder should just drape Guatemalan fabrics over their heads for three months of the year.
Here are two guacamaya. Translated: indigenous birds that like avacado sauces.

With so few green spaces in Guatemala City, they close down a main boulevard for a few hours every Sunday, during which time every blasted person puts on rollerblades and/or brings out his/her four-year-old on a bike with training wheels. Or, in our case, puts the three- and six-year-0ld in a goat cart.
They DO eat green eggs and ham, by the way, dear Sam I Am. They eat them in a boat and with a goat. And in a cart.
We bought this table runner for our in-laws. I’m pretty sure my husband is their favorite son now.
Check out this shop featuring wooden masks and, um, big rat pelts.

We visited my sister’s “American Style” school one day. Here, you see Groom asking some students if they’d like to supersize their education.

Look! Cloth! And it’s hanging!

My sister reads way supermuch, bigmany good books to her kiddles. I want her to be my kindergarten teacher. She is my own Miss Bindergarten–although she’s not freakily anthropomorphized, as is that particular kiddie lit heroine.

These busy workers are drying, turning, and stepping directly upon the coffee that will be featured at your local Starbucks in two weeks.

I so much like this devil dude, who holds court in the Mayan Cultural Center outside of Antigua.

I’m pretty sure this photo of bananas is upside down. This is what upside-down bananas look like.

Here’s a typical street in Antigua. Check out them cobblestones. Now picture all the women in the city wearing three-inch mules around town while simultaneously carrying their groceries on their heads. I am possessed of a luggishness that makes me unable to imagine such feats of coordination.

This is the hallway outside our hotel room in Antigua. It did not suck.

Back to the coffee. You know how you seek out and covet “shade-grown, organic Guatemalan beans”? Here they are, being grown. Add to the packaging: “composted with only the best trash.”

Pwitty, pwitty fabric.

This tight little vehicle saved me from throttling Wee Niblet many-a-time. It’s called a Tuk-Tuk, and we took-took them all over. We’re considering opening up a Tuk-Tuk business in our own town now. Who doesn’t need a three-wheeled motorcycle with a comfortable cab area?

After a long day of hitting the market stalls in Panahachel, we needed to cool down our tootsies in Lake Atitlan.

Yea, cotamundis (Wee Niblet calls them “locamotis”) freak me out, too. After admiring it in the nature reserve outside of Pana, I sold the pelt of this one to a wooden mask store.

Trash + coffee beans = a $4.50 latte.

Spider monkey, spider monkey. What I wouldn’t give to have had evolution let us keep those crazy tails.Look at this business. It’s water. Falling.

Here’s our hotel in Santiago Atitlan. It was idyllic. Then, a hundred yards down the road, there was a huge field of trash coffee plants.

I’ve got to practice standing up in our canoe this summer. A few good capsizes will only help the kids master the breaststroke. And they can look for the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald while they’re down there.

I should have taken more photos of food. I love food. I loved this food. It was eggs in tortillas, and I have that food all the time here in the States. But it’s much more glamorous when you take a photo of it. And the fruit was killer good, except the papaya, which tastes like poo.

I was uncommonly taken with this field of cabbages. Cabbage is too-oft neglected. The leaves would make great Dr. Scholl’s footpads, for instance.

The Kiddles would follow my sister anywhere, even down a dusty rural path, next to a cabbage patch (she had just explained to them how the stork is a big myth and showed them where they really came from).

Wee Niblet croaked at me seventy times that he wasn’t tired and then did this. I like him so much when he sleeps. Plus, it’s easier to tie him to the chair when he’s limp and unconscious.

Upon our return home, we found that our neighbors, who had kindly not ransacked our house or made off with the silver in our absence, had assured themselves lifelong good karma by leaving a rosemary chicken dish in the fridge, a loaf of bread on the counter, and a bottle of wine chilling. I will be more than happy to shell out thousands of dollars on plane tickets from this moment forward, now that I know it means someone will have scampered into my house and left Chardonnay, thereby saving me the long drive down the road to the bottle shop.





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18 responses to “Stop Trying to Chop Off Your Sister’s Head with Your New Toy Axe While She’s Vomiting onto the Floor of the Shuttle”

  1. velvet girl Avatar
    velvet girl

    I giggled. I lauged. I longed to go to Guatemala. Oh, what a fun post!

    I imagine that the vacation was even more fun. Welcome home, girl!


  2. Glamourpuss Avatar

    Welcome home. Now we’ve got that out of the way, I have SAD and it’s a ยฃ140 quid lamp or some of your textiles. I know which my bank manager would prefer. Thanks so much.


  3. Jazz Avatar

    I think coatmundis are really cool, as are neighbors who leave food.

  4. furiousBall Avatar

    Welcome back. Those fabrics are amazing. A coworker just peered over my shoulder when I had the coffee bean worker dudes picture up, he asked, “what sport is that?”

    “That’s called work, now go back to your cube and nap.”

    The cotamundis looks a lot like a ratel, which are vicious animals – if I were you I would have beat that one stupid with your sons plastic axe.

  5. Lee Avatar

    Despite the pix of you all, I still don’t beleive you were there. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Looks like a ton of fun! Thanks for the tour!

  6. Lone Grey Squirrel Avatar
    Lone Grey Squirrel

    enjoyed the photos. Looks like you had a great time. Look forward to more tales of Guatemala.

  7. emily Avatar

    awesome post! i love your blog ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. iJim Avatar

    It’s amazing what photoshop can do: transform a picture of Girl and Niblet at the 42nd Avenue beach into a glam-shot of “guatamala.” Whereever that is.

    How can we tell that’s Niblet in a goatcart? It’s just some kid with his hat backward.

    And that Chardonnay story… as if there are neighbors like that!

    Still, that fabric…


  9. Dorky Dad Avatar
    Dorky Dad

    Welcome back! So what’d you bring us???

    Besides pictures and funny comments, that is?

    My wife would echo your cabbage statement. First, she’d probably take about 100 pictures of the cabbage fields. Then she’d explain how neglected they are. Then I’d have to eat damn cabbage for a month.

  10. Dave Avatar

    Oh my Gosh! I can only imagine that sight of the neck chop! I am sure that if a film director reads this, he would find a way to put the scene into his next movie! LOL

  11. Le Nightowl Avatar
    Le Nightowl

    This sounds like a colourful trip!
    When I need more colour in my life, I know where to go ๐Ÿ™‚
    I loved your “best of” and am looking forward to more tidbits.
    Wonderfully lively, funny and informative, Jocelyn!

  12. mist1 Avatar

    I love those baby slings. I wish someone would carry me around in one.

  13. choochoo Avatar

    vomiting on vacation is always more fun than it is to do it at home. Even if someone is trying to hack your head off

  14. Steven Novak Avatar
    Steven Novak

    Wow…there was a whole lot of good stuff going on in that post!


  15. hyacinths and biscuits Avatar
    hyacinths and biscuits

    it looks like you had a blast! I’m jealous. How long were you there?

    Also, I’ll trade you neighbors. Mine just throw trash in front of my door. And I didn’t even have to go out of town for that.

  16. Dan Avatar

    Holy Toledo these are great photos!

    Then, when he really made me crazy with his refusal to pedal his own 45-pounds of pudge, I tied him to a chair in the hotel room.

    Oh yeah! And did you keep him there until he promised to eat a corn tortilla?

    Welcome back! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. urban-urchin Avatar

    Welcome home!!
    You had me laughing out loud with this one. Nice to have you back you’ve been missed.

  18. Anonymous Avatar


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