Tag Archives: Lili

Five nights in Antigua, Guatemala

It was more than a year ago that Chris and I were having lunch at Mac McGee’s in Historic Roswell and the topic of Lili and George came up. Lili is a good friend that moved to Barcelona back in 2008, and in 2011, Chris and I had met her and her Dutch boyfriend George in Florence, Italy for two-weeks of stuffing our faces with the best food on Earth. We wondered if there might be an engagement any time soon. Twenty minutes later on the drive home, I received a text that George popped the question while they were visiting her family in Guatemala.

Since Lili is originally from Guatemala City, I finally got to dust off my passport which has sat lonely and unused in the fireproof safe since Connor was born.

IMG_4180We flew Delta direct from Atlanta to Guatemala City, meeting up with Angel, another old friend who was connecting from Florida. Chris and I shared our row with a Guatemalan that hadn’t been home for 10 years. A casual business or pleasure question revealed that his daughter had paid for his trip because he had been battling depression over a job loss. He was surprising his family who had no idea he was coming, as well as an online girlfriend he’d never met. I really hope that went well — especially the girlfriend part. He was texting before we hit the ground and she told him she had a “weird feeling.” “Premonition?” I joked. I hope that turned into a positive feeling whenever he dropped it on her that he was about to show up. Very nice guy…just not the conversation you expect when being polite. Angel, on the other hand, had a whole row to herself and sprawled out unconscious.

Lili had booked us transportation to Antigua, so the car met us outside baggage claim to make the roughly 45-minute trip.

I booked five nights at Panza Verde Hotel in Antigua, Guatemala, just around the corner from the hotel where Lili was staying and having her wedding. I was enamored by the pictures on their website and I wasn’t disappointed. Especially when they put a fresh, fruity welcome drink in my hand. I was very pleased with our stay. One particular woman that worked the desk was especially attentive to our questions and booking our reservations. Our only somewhat negative experience was when we decided to eat dinner at our hotel last minute. We knew we didn’t have reservations, but as all the outdoor seating was available, and it was early by latin standards, we hoped we’d be able to be seated. A man was working the desk and his manner left something to be desired. Since we did not have reservations, we could only eat inside. We accepted that expecting the tables must be set to fill soon. But when we finished our meal, they still sat empty and didn’t fill until later in the evening. His manner left me with a bad taste and the feeling that he was teaching us a lesson for not planning ahead. Granted, I will say I have never worked in a restaurant and there may be insider info I don’t know to the logistics of running one, but it rubbed me the wrong way.  But aside from him, I recommend a stay there.

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Chris and I set out to explore. The first day was pretty casual…just walking the streets until we ran into Lili.

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On recommendation from Lili’s brother, we stopped for a bite at Restaurante Mono Loco. We ordered nachos — to share, thankfully — since the plate was as big as my head x 3. I also developed an affinity for Gallo Guatemalan beer, which is available in the States as Famosa.

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We then returned to the hotel to sprawl out and rest before meeting the group for drinks at Lili’s hotel.

At this point, I should probably backtrack a little. Traveling to places like Guatemala, Cambodia, Thailand, etc. is my style. I love Europe and I have done a lot of traveling there, but it is definitely more in Chris’ comfort zone. Had it not been for the wedding, I’m not sure I could have sold Chris on the idea.

His primary concern was safety. Stuff happens everywhere, but he definitely was a little more concerned on this trip.  Me, not so much. Safety should always be of concern, but I’ve been extraordinarily lucky in that I’ve never had anything stolen, and petty crime warnings for travelers persist anywhere you go. Unless there is a major concern for bodily harm, I accept it as the way things are.

The guidebook had warned about being out after dark. When the group decided to go get dinner after drinks, Chris was hesitant. We were still full from the nachos, but I wanted to go for at least one drink, then we could head back since we were tired anyway (suffering from toddler-lag if you will).

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As we headed back, passing through the square I even said to Chris, “See, it’s fine.”

Within 10 minutes, years of traveling luck ran out. I had switched from my usual duffel bag (as Chris calls my purses) to a small purse worn across my body. Everywhere I looked, people were carrying large bags. I even saw tourists toting around designer labels, which I wouldn’t do anywhere but home. Well, I mean, if I had any designer labels. We were cautious of other pedestrians, but as we reached a corner, I stepped to the edge to prepare to cross. Suddenly there was a car right in front of me, perhaps an inch from my body. There was this immense pressure pulling me that I couldn’t process. It wasn’t until I was l lying in the street that I realized the passenger had grabbed my purse at chest level and pulled until it broke, dragging me with them. Fortunately it snapped before I got dragged under the car or otherwise seriously hurt. As the proper smart phone addict that I am, I immediately patted my pocket and began stammering about how “at least they didn’t get my phone!”

He left nasty fingerprints all over my shirt.
He left nasty fingerprints all over my shirt. This photo doesn’t do it justice.

In fact, all they got was my driver’s license (I thought, well at least I can get a picture now that isn’t as bad as that one. I was wrong about that, I learned at the DMV upon my return), my ATM card, which was cancelled within 15 minutes, and my lip gloss (a**holes).

But the most significant thing they took from me was my ability to ever convince Chris to travel outside his comfort zone or think I’m right ever again.

We didn’t let that ruin the trip though. I just chalk it up to my luck running out. It was bound to happen someday — well, getting something stolen. I did not have plans to be dragged by some creep hanging out of a car, but at least I have a story. I’m just glad it wasn’t on one of my solo trips.

Part 2 — What to do in Antigua, Guatemala coming soon!

 

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It’s a good thing I’ve learned in the last few years to be a more positive thinker…

…because people are driving me insane. In order to maintain my positive thinking, I must vent somewhere, so even though I’m about to do some more complaining, I’m just emptying the irritation can so I don’t kill anyone who looks at me funny tomorrow.

So first, the good thing. Since I’m reporting to you live at Connor’s hospital bedside, I can tell you he’s had two episodes while hooked up to the EEG. Finally. They weren’t able to thwart us this time. He’s having more clusters a day, though the clusters tend to be shorter than before. Today I saw five for the first time since this eye rolling started, although the last one, may have only been a couple quick rolls.

All hooked up with nowhere to go.
All hooked up with nowhere to go.

Now here’s the part where I unload. What can I say? I’m tired. This EEG business has been going on since 6 am (and I don’t count the ordeal of getting this appointment-see previous posts). I had to wake up to call the transfer center to see if there was a room for him. There wasn’t. But that was okay because I knew it was a possibility we would be on standby at first waiting for one. At least they let us wait at home. So I have to call back at 8. Then I have to call back at 10. Then they say call back at 12. Okay. Deep breath. Sick kids get precedent and apparently there’s a massive influx of RSV cases. I’m not a monster. I do understand that. Another deep breath. Then YAY! They call ME back at 10:30 and say to be here by 12 because they will get him hooked up in the lab and hopefully a room will be ready by then. So we come to the hospital. Where we wait. And wait. And wait until two hours later he gets his electrodes. But there’s still no room, so the test isn’t going yet. So we wait. And nap. And wait. And we finally get a room at almost 5 pm.  They almost broke me waiting for the electrodes. Oh yes, it was close. But I maintained.

Killing time, waiting for the room.
Killing time, waiting for the room.
Shut up, Mommy!
Shut up, Mommy!
That hurts for realsies.
That hurts for realsies.

That was nothing. Here was what really got my heart thumping. We went over all his meds earlier in the day and they had been submitted to the pharmacy. It was made very clear that all meds during his stay would come from the hospital pharmacy and must be administered by the nurse even though we do it at home every day. I will cut them a break on that given the litigious nature of this society. But, one of Connor’s meds is not easy to obtain. I was highly doubtful they’d even have it in stock considering I heard they recently ran out of a major antibiotic. But hey, they have all their information hours before his med time, right?

His med time in the evenings is at 8. At 8:25 I was about to call and see what was up because he was getting sleepy and cranky, when the nurse comes in. We administer Klonipin. Then Keppra. Then…taking vitals? “Are you giving him his vigabatrin?” I ask. “Oh the pharmacy wanted me to ask you about that. They wondered if you had it here because they don’t have any.”

For a moment I flashed back to the night a few years ago that I was at my favorite bar, Fado (before it moved and stopped being awesome), having too much to drink and breaking up with a guy via text (don’t judge me for the text. I don’t usually condone that. There’s more to the story). I was, shall I say, not in a good mood, and fueled by alcohol. Fado had recently hired a new valet, and he, how do I say this politely, sucked a fat one. Drunk girl was ready to leave, he had my keys, and was nowhere in sight. (Disclaimer: I am not the one who drove my car home). Thirty minutes later, after inquiring to his whereabouts with several bartenders, he wanders out of the kitchen where he was hanging out. I said, “There you are! I need my keys!” And he said…are you ready for this? He said, “Relax.”

I. Lost. My. Sh#%. Lost it big time. It is the only time in my life I have ever gone off on someone in the service industry. And as I did it, I could see my friends Lili and Angel desperately looking for an exit so they could disassociate from me. I went batsh#% crazy. But I don’t feel bad because I would be vindicated another evening when he blocked a bunch of cars in and failed to take the keys from the owners blocking them.

But Connor cannot duck away from me. My actions can affect him and his future treatment, whereas I knew our favorite bartender Kevin would never fail Angel and Lili, so I calmly replied, “Yes. I did wonder if you would have that drug.” What I did not scream was, “ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME? THE PHARMACY JUST FIGURED THIS OUT? WHAT IF I DIDN’T HAVE IT? IT’S ONLY HIS MOST IMPORTANT MEDICATION!”

I’m growing.

And when I was asked to turn it over to have the pharmacy verify it, I stashed a bunch out of sight. Navigating the medical world.

I’m learning.

eeg playing

Video EEG screen
Video EEG screen