6/30/2008 11:56:00 pm

Cowomander in Chief

Posted by Tom French |

Taking my last post into account you all know I really do love the United States. And I want to be President. Or at least work for the President. Well Jed Bartlett at least.

I bought Commander in Chief the other day because I was missing The West Wing. I thought a bit of Presidential TV might make me feel a little better, but it just made it worse. Commander in Chief is kinda like West Wing but written by people only as smart as me. The President is infuriatingly dumb. The dialogue is horribly blatant and single layered. And all the 'inspiring' solutions Genna comes up with to save the world are just entirely arrogant and naive. I liked the idea of a show about a woman President, but not when she's stupid. Bring back Jed. Maybe bring back Jed as a woman. Yeah, that'd be interesting, West Wing with a transsexual President. If I'm not a television visionary then I don't know what I am.

Anyway, Borders was having a sale, so I bought the first six seasons of The West Wing on DVD. Now I'm happy again and I'll just watch Commander every now and again to remind me how much I love West Wing.

I hope when I make it to America, I get to meet President Obama and he has a Chief-of-Staff named Leo and young, white kid as his aide called Charlie. That would be wonderful.

How can you not love the United States? When The West Wing, Superman and Billy Graham come from there it has to be a pretty special nation.

6/30/2008 11:32:00 pm

Land of the Fatties

Posted by Tom French |

When we were in the US my mother regularly reminded me of her embarrassment that I had made multiple comments about America being full of fat people on my blog. Often when we were in a room together she'd lean over to me and say "How many of these people would you say are fat?" Which, I would have to admit was not nearly as many as I had hoped. I think she was doing it to shame me into repenting for being rude on my blog. Though I think when she saw the Hummer-width wheelchairs American Airlines use to transport invalids around in she was converted to my way of thinking.

But alas, my American cousins (Are we cousins? Second cousins perhaps seeing as the British are cousins to both of us but we're not directly related) please do not feel my joking about your collective girth is in anyway out of ridicule of you. I have nothing against being large. In fact, I have often encouraged my fellow Australians to eat up. We beat you guys at the swimming, sometimes at the tennis, and I thought we should beat you in being the world's fattest nation too!

And I heard on the radio the other day that now we have! Yess! Australians all let us rejoice! The Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute tell us in their new report (with the catchy and academic, Tom Jones-esque title "Fat Bomb") that there are now 4 million overweight adults in Australia. Proportionally that's more than any other country on earth. Of course I can't actually find this fact in the report but the papers tell me it's there.

So I say cop that you United States, cop that Mexico. We we swim better than you, we play AFL better than you, and now we eat and sit on our bums better than you. Is there anything we can't achieve when we put our minds to it?

6/30/2008 11:26:00 pm

Sydneysiders Upset by Planes Flying in Sky

Posted by Tom French |

SMH has an article about a retiring 707 today which got a farewell escort over Sydney's CBD by a Hawk 127 training jet. Some people in CBD thought Sydney was about to have it's very own 9/11. One man was so concerned he immediately rang 2UE to find out what was going. It's good to see the people of Sydney know where to turn in the event of a national crisis.

6/27/2008 11:13:00 am

Hungry

Posted by Tom French |

I'm really hungry. I haven't had breakfast. I'm not letting myself eat breakfast till I make a phone call I'm feeling too scared to make. I'm wondering how long I can hold out.

Emotional pain versus actual "I want Cornflakes" pain. It's a hard life I've got.

6/25/2008 03:24:00 pm

Saying Sorry

Posted by Tom French |

When was the last time you heard a sermon at church or did a Bible Study on saying "Sorry". Not like repentance, but finding the people you have hurt and apologising?

I can't remember one. I've heard plenty on forgiveness but none on saying sorry. Funny that.

That may change on Friday.

6/23/2008 11:41:00 pm

Day Two

Posted by Tom French |

I'm remembering the joys of living by myself. I went shopping tonight after work and bought lots of food and all of it for me. Coke, ice cream, Tim Tams, chips, wedges, steak. Yeah! I was in such a celebratory mood tonight that I even cooked myself dinner. I cooked Butter Chicken from scratch. No microwave meal for me. I cooked it from the beginning with a jar. I'm amazing!

6/23/2008 01:20:00 am

Shot Through

Posted by Tom French |

I've moved out of the parents. For at least 6 weeks. Maybe forever (again). I'm hoping, not that I don't like the parents. I love em. But I don't really like feeling like I've failed the independent life.

Anyway, I'm house sitting the grandfather's flat for a bit while he gallivants around the world. It should be a fun. I've stayed here before and It's fun to be back.

I have to water the plants on Sundays. Or Mondays. Or any day I choose I think.

6/20/2008 11:15:00 pm

Pain

Posted by Tom French |

A few years ago Howie and I played a game where you have to flick each other in the leg with a tea towel. One person stands still while the other person flicks them. Then the flicker stands still while they get flicked. It's a rather painful game.

I played it again on Monday with Nathan, then with him again tonight at youth group.

It's a rather dumb game, but addictive. Though two well placed shots from Nathan tonight drew blood on the back of the leg. It was pretty impressive.

I think I'll be happy to wait a few more years till I play again.

6/18/2008 05:52:00 pm

Monday

Posted by Tom French |

Ahh yes, all those days of Guatemalan fun that are slowly slipping in the irretrievable land of un-memories.

So here's what I can remember.

Monday we were back in Guatemala City, back at our hotel, but the family was divided by a floor. Mum and Dad were downstairs on level 1. Jo and I were on level 3. We had the bigger apartment. Plus we had a double bed which we had to share, which is awkward because you spend your whole night trying not to kick the other person, steal sheets or sleep facing them because waking up and finding someone else in your bed is a rather scary occurrence. Well it is for me. I don't know how couples do it. Although I guess when you first get together waking up to find the person you're in love with right there is pretty exciting. And then when you get bored of each other you're used to them so it doesn't scare you even if it does bring up a little bit of annoyance that they're still there.

But I digress.

Monday was planned to be a quiet day. So we spent it reading and sitting around in the morning. Then Mum and I went out to get some lunch, get the laundry done, and do the shopping. We wandered around Zone 10 and got a little lost trying to find the laundry. We eventually found one who didn't do laundry, so they sent us, with broken English, somewhere else. By the time we ended up at the Laundry we were rather disorientated and had no idea where the Supermarket was in relation to where we were. In addition to this we found out later that the place were we got the laundry done charged us 900% more than where Dad got it done in the first week we were in the city, and we didn't have 900% more washing.

Still we found our way back to food, and I managed to order some wedges from McDonald's with only a limited number of staff and customers laughing at me.

We finally went back to our apartment to get our bearings so we could go find the supermarket, meanwhile the outer edge of the hurricane in Honduras had kicked in for the day and we got rather wet. Still the Supermarket was fun if only because products from other countries are cool, and this was a whole large room full of them.

Monday night was spent with Jo's Guatemalan family again. That was nice. I spent most of the night with the boys watching Tokyo Drift on TV. It was good because it removed the pressure of having to converse and we could just bond over English language with Spanish Subtitles. Sweet. The film was pretty bad though, but that's to be expected.

6/18/2008 05:44:00 pm

Lost

Posted by Tom French |

I've not been blogging because I've been busy saving the world and failing college.

Though in the mean time I have managed to watch a few movies, and think on some interesting theological ditties.

Since I got back I've seen:

21 - Fine. Nothing exceptional, but it kept me interested. Most interesting bit was at the beginning when projectionist forgot to put the anamorphic lens on the projector so everyone looked skinny for the first 5 minutes of the film

The Counterfeiters - Was German, about the Holocaust, involved lots of money and interesting ethical questions. Good acting, and good characters. I did like.

The Incredible Hulk - Pretty awesome. Not Iron Man but it was most fun to see the Hulk bashing the Abomination in the head with two halves of a car. Plus there were heaps of military things, from elite soldiers to Humvees driving over university lawns with sonic blasters. And it was set in the Marvel universe with Stark Industries and S.H.I.E.L.D., so it was most cool. Partly for the film, partly for the promise of more Marvel Cinematic Universe to come.

The Happening - Rather dull (which is saying a lot for a film about thousands of people killing themselves). M Night seems to be slipping. Unbreakable is one of my favourite movies ever, but his stuff seems to be getting worse. Oh well. There was one good line, but mostly it was just Mark Wahlberg running around looking hurt and perplexed.

And the theology?

Well I've been thinking that probably our sin did not cause Jesus to be crucified. Certainly we can be accountable with our forefathers for his execution. But in a spiritual sense it was not our sin the sent Jesus to the cross but God's mercy. Every time I sin I am not nailing Jesus to the cross. Saying that my sin caused Jesus to die is arrogance assuming that I forced God's hand to perform his greatest act glory, rather than God's choice to glorify himself to save us who were unaware we even needed to be saved.

I've also been thinking about the resurrection and our lack of emphasis on it integral part in our salvation. That our salvation is always just about being saved from sin, rather than being saved into wholeness though resurrection.

Finally today I've been thinking about hell and how eternal it is. I'm leaning towards not, but I only started thinking about it a few hours ago so I'm not sure.

My final thought has not been so theological, but I did wonder if the films that Universal Studios distribute would actually be appealing to other sentient lifeforms in the universe, were we to find some. I kinda doubt it.

So there you go. I haven't be wholly unproductive even if I have been rather slack at contributing kilobytes to the world wide web.

6/09/2008 09:42:00 pm

Made It

Posted by Tom French |

We made it home. I realised I didn't blog that, so according to this blog I'm somewhere between LA and Sydney. But I'm here now. Jet lag is no worries. I stayed up till 1am last night. That seemed to do the trick.

6/07/2008 02:03:00 pm

LA

Posted by Tom French |

Well we made it to LA. I'm in the Qantas (Admirals) Club with the Ps. My Pa is a good man to travel with.

We did make it out of the airport here. We went to Venice Beach, met some amature gansta rappers, ate dinner then came back. It was pretty awesome. Now I can say I really have been to the states. Venice Beach is kinda like Newtown except more grungy, and a lot more touristy, but it has many a strange character. I did enjoy.

Now it's time for the long flight across the Pacific. Lots of movies to be watched! Joys!

6/06/2008 02:11:00 pm

Dallas

Posted by Tom French |

We've arrived in Dallas. Our plane was meant to leave 25 minutes ago, but our flight got cancelled and we've been put on a later one at 4ish. I should find out more precisely what the time is.

Fox News is telling us that at the moment there is a lost mother here in Dallas Airport. I'm keeping my eye out for her.

It's also dawned on me that we won't be able to leave the airport in LA because we went through Customs here and we won't do it in LA. That's a shame. Now my complete experience of the US is going to be in airports. It is kinda fun, but airport culture is kinda like this distorted filter which through which some of the actual culture from the country makes it through.

I'll have to come back.

6/06/2008 12:01:00 am

Leaving Soon

Posted by Tom French |

So I've given you all plenty to read now, and I don't have nearly as much catching up to do. Only 4 days now I think.

Now I should sleep. We're leaving tomorrow. Flying out at 8am. Happily we'll have 6 hours in LA so I'm hoping we can spend some time in the city doing LA.

I'll be home at 6am-ish on Sunday. Saturday is going to disappear at some imaginary line in the Pacific Ocean. I'm not looking forward to trying to stay away all of Sunday. Oh well, V will get me through.

6/05/2008 11:47:00 pm

Car Church and the Dodgy Cinema

Posted by Tom French |

Sunday was an even less full day than Saturday.

We had another wholesome breakfast at the Hippy Cafe. I had French Toast that was so full of hearty, wholemeal goodness it was hard to swallow. But I made it through like the brave food warrior that I am.

Then we drove home to our apartment in Guatemala City. Victor drove for us through the rain, fog and crazy driving. He did very well.

It being Sunday we decided to do church as a family. We burnt a cd to play in the car with worship music, a sermon off one of Jo's podcasts, and more worship music. We played the cd in the car and stopped it at bits for prayer, Bible reading (actually reciting because no one had a Bible in the car), sermon discussion and announcements. It was just like real church but in a car. It was pretty fun, and spiritually significant. I have never a attended a church before that was so clearly going places. Car Church is awesome.

When we got back to Guatemala City we were all pretty stuffed, so we went out to see a movie. We wanted to see Narnia but we arrived we found out it wasn't subtitled but dubbed in Spanish. But Indiana Jones was on at the same time and it had subtitles. I was the only one who wanted to see it, but Mum said she'd go with me. She's a champ.

We bought our $3 tickets and headed into the cinema. It was pretty dodgy. The sound was crackly, the projector wasn't bright enough so the screen darkened at the edges, the print was terribly scratched and dirty. It was pretty awesome. It was kinda like the effect the were going for in Grindhouse but it was real. And watching Indy in that setting was great. I kept thinking about how the whole thing is about recreating the dodgy serials of the 50s, and this screening seemed to fit right in. For $3 I got one of the best movie experiences I've had in years. Plus I loved the film. It was rather silly in places. But still Indy always is silly. It made me very happy. It was a beautiful way to finish the day.

6/05/2008 11:11:00 pm

Rude Little Boys and Wholesome Food

Posted by Tom French |

Lake.jpg

Lake Atitlan, where we were staying

Saturday wasn't all that exciting. We woke up late and had a wholesome breakfast at a hippy cafe called the Stoned Fish or something. Everything was made out of wholemeal, organic bran and stuff. It wasn't entirely exciting, but I found some ok eggs.

We caught the boat back across the lake to Panajachel, on the public ferry this time. It was fun to be squashed on a boat with the locals. They smile a lot.

Lake Sellers.jpg

Some guys who sold Mum and Jo stuff by the lake as we waited for the ferry. They were pretty cool, I'd invite them to my party to make me look cooler.

In Pana we got accosted by huge amounts of people wanting to sell us stuff. Everyone from old ladies, to middle aged men, to cute kids. My Mum who is a sucker for local stuff and people was seemed to be buying from every 2nd person who offered their wares to us, till she got tough and refused them all point blank. One middle-aged, long haired, white guy tried to sell me "ganja" which I politely refused but I was pleased he thought I looked like the kind of guy who would want some.

At one stage we were sitting in a cafe and a really young boy came up to Mum to sell her stuff. He was very cute. He could speak some English too. Mum said she'd love to talk to him but she wasn't going to buy anything. He saw what she'd bought and then told her she'd been ripped off. She chatted to him for a bit more, she got him to draw some pictures for her. He kept trying to sell stuff and she kept saying "No". He then tried to get her to buy him a coffee and a Coke, but she still refused.

Eventually he got bored and said to her. "You are crazy!"

"Why? Because I'm not buying your stuff?" Mum asked

"Yes, you are s**t" he said then walked out.

Funny kid.

At some point in the afternoon Victor and his family turned up from Guatemala City, only a few hours late having got caught in the road work like we did the day before.

After a bit more street shopping we took them across the lake on a private ferry with seats that had been stolen from a car, it was pretty cool. I got to sit at the front with a Guatemalan family from Texas. I like Americans.

Non Mexican Dinner.jpg

Dinner at the non-Mexican Mexican Restaurant

We took Victor's family to the Stoner Cafe, and fed them hippy bran biscuits, then put them back on the boat home. Victor stayed the night with us so we took him out to the non-Mexican Mexican restaurant to celebrate Jo's graduation for her Masters. We all told our testimonies at dinner which was rather daggy but very special. God has done good things for my family.

The mozzy didn't return as I slept that night. I think it had learnt from my stern words the night before.

6/05/2008 10:43:00 pm

Friday's Child is a Little More Relaxed

Posted by Tom French |

So waking up late at the Holiday Inn was a rather nice way to start the day. We had a 1pm check-out, so none of this scrambling for 10am business. We had a leisurely breakfast at the buffet, eating as much as we could before we began the journey out of the city again.

Finally at around 11am we made it out of the hotel. Pretty good for us. First stop was a drive through bank where we needed to make a deposit for our hotel that night. While it was just a regular bank visit, I’ve never seen a drive through bank before. They’re pretty awesome. It’s kinda like a cross between a drive through and a supermarket. You drive your car up to a little console at the end of one of those suction pipes, talk to some one, put your money in the pipe and away it goes. I assume that somewhere in there the you swipe your card or something do. We didn’t actually use th drive through bank, we went to the conventional bank as we had to do a transfer. But, most unlike Australia, the bank was empty and full of staff. They even served us straight away.

Back on the road for San Marcos (via Panajachel) we trundled out of Guatemala City only to get stuck in traffic as just after we’d left town. As we waited many Ambulances with their sirens going were screaming past us in the other direction.

Eventually we rounded a bend and saw that the cause of the hold was a bus that had rolled onto it’s roof. The drivers seat had been completely smashed in by the guard rail that was now sticking vertically in the rain. There were people speaking in through the windows and school girls, soaked through with rain, standing beside the bus looking shocked. It was a rather amazing scene. We drove on felling rather shell shocked. It’s not often you things like that, but in Guatemala it seems to be the norm. Everyday on the road we’ve seen accidents.

As we drove on things were much more calm. We got stuck in the longest stretch of road works I’ve ever seen. And we were thanking God for the lack of OH&S here, cause we got to drive right next to rock crushers and bulldozers in action. It was pretty special.

Girl Selling Stuff.jpg

Girl who sold us stuff on the side of the road during the road work traffic jam.

Eventually we made it to the Lake Atitlan (which has San Marcos and Panajachel on the shore) but we couldn’t see it because we were at the top of the volcanic mountains which surround the lake, and the mountains were stuck in cloud. Again we were stuck on Guatemalan roads with falling rain, falling rocks and falling cloud. But we made it down the mountain ok.

Panajachel was a town chock full of tourists and people trying to sell you stuff. We met a man on a bike as we were driving into down. He asked us if we needed a place to park, we said we did as we needed to leave the car there over night. So the man led us on his bike to his special little parking area which was just someone’s back yard. Call me un-trusting but I wasn’t all that keen to leave the car in some random backyard for a few days.

Eventually we found our way to the wharf where we hired a boat to take us across the lake to San Marcos. We left the car with the volunteer firefighters. I thought this was a much better arrangement. If you can’t trust volunteer firefighters who can you trust?

After our boat trip across the lake, we arrived at San Marcos, pulling right up on the beach just in front of our hotel. If our place in Rio Dulce was an “eco-lodge” then San Marcos is an eco-terrorist training camp. There are no road for through most of the town, just walkways surrounded by bamboo fences. There are meditation and hippy hostels littered all over the town. I get the impression that Americans and Germans with dreads and hemp clothing come here to meditate, pray with crystals and get stoned.

San Marcos Thing.jpg

Some bit of the Hotel. It was rather creative.

We were staying at a hotel where every room was unique. Everything was built out of glass, rock, and logs of relatively uncut timber. There were paintings on the walls of Hindu gods and other such new age celebrities. It was pretty cool.

After checking out that room we ate at a Mexican restaurant that didn’t sell any Mexican food. The food was nice, the owner happy and the dog friendly, so it was good to be there.

I went to sleep pretty early that night. I guess that what you do in eco land. I was only bothered by on mosquito which is pretty good for a hotel in the trees with windows that don’t go all the way to the edges. In the spirit of being one with nature I didn’t kill it I just waved my hand at it at various intervals during the night, and thought mean thoughts about it. I’m sure it felt bad.

6/02/2008 12:55:00 pm

Thursday's Child has Far to Go

Posted by Tom French |

It’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to blog. We’ve been rather flat out. I have a few days to catch up on. So I’ll go back in time a little bit.

We’d been making plans for a few days to do a big “Aussie” day of driving on Thursday, that is driving for about 10 hours, instead of breaking it up into two days, and then we’d get Friday free to just do whatever we wanted, just relaxing, reading, sleeping, Machiavellian plotting, that sort of thing.

So on Thursday morning my alarm went off at 5am, and it was painful. I dragged myself out of bed even before the alarm had time to berate me again with is chirpily smug beeping. I felt pretty good about that because we were planning to leave at 6 and I was up almost an hour early. If anyone was going to hold up our departure, it wasn’t going to be me!

When I was in the shower Jo let me know that it was 5:30 as if I wouldn’t have time to finish my shower and pack my bag in 30mins. I remember thinking “Girls! They always think you need ages!” I hopped out of the shower, and was standing in our room in just my boxers, when my parents knocked on the door and asked, with a smirk “Are you ready to go?”. I thought this was a joke because I was virtually naked. They weren’t joking. Somehow in all our discussions every time they’d said “5:30” I’d heard “6”. Either that or the three of them decided to play a practical joke on me which I’m not entirely sure isn’t the case. Little did I know, this was going to be just the first mishap of a mishap filled day.

Anyway, I threw on some clothes, and packed my bag in record time. If you ask me, I did an amazing job. 15 minutes later we were on the road.

545am start.jpg

Heading to the car way too early

Our plan for the day was to drive from Flores to San Marcos which is completely on the other side of the country. Jo had figured out a route where we could avoid going through Guatemala City and take some back roads down. We figured it would probably be a little quicker and the route would be a lot shorter.

We set out from Flores, got some directions then headed off. About half an hour down the road we got to a sign where the road forked, leading to two different places, neither of which we could find on the map. We stopped and asked which way to Coban, which was the first town on our route. The man laughed and told us Coban was in the other direction. Way back, at the town we left, we had taken a wrong turn and ended up driving in completely the wrong direction. We were heading north when we wanted to be going south. We had to turn around and go all the way back.

Now armed with this new knowledge we headed back the way we came, only an hour and a quarter behind schedule.

A little while later we arrived at a river with a dingy old ferry to take people across. In usual Guatemalan fashion there was no queue. The cars and trucks just lined up next to each other facing the river. When the ferry arrived, it was every vehicle for itself as everyone pushed forward onto the ferry, like a slow motion version of the opening of the Myer Boxing Day sales.

Thanks to Dad’s awesome driving skills we made it on to the boat second. While we were on the ferry the guy who beat us on to it was obviously feeling gracious, or vindictive, and pointed out our back left tire to us. It was unusually flat. Flat two for the trip.

Across the other side of the river we headed off to find a pinchazo, where tires are fixed. Luckily flat tires are a tradition here in Guatemala and there are pinchazos everywhere. We found one just across the river.

An hour and a half later the tire was fixed and we were full of breakfast, next stop Coban and we were only running two hours and three quarters late.



See our amazing video of the flat tire incident in high quality digital camera definition!

The rain started somewhere on the road. We picked up and dropped off a hitchhiking primary school teacher, and made it to Coban finally without getting lost again. Jo took us to a cafe the locals love. I had some chicken stew thing where they give you the liquid, the chicken, the potato and the rice and you have to pull it apart, cut it up and put it all in to make the stew. It was fun, but I felt a bit ripped off, like I’d turned up to McDonalds and they’d given me the bun, meat and vegetables and told me to put it together myself. I want things done for me, damn it!

When lunch was done Jo and Mum went to check out some craft. And as this bores my father and I, we just hung out the front of the cafe trying to decide what to do, till we’d hung around enough that that became what we were doing.

While we stood there a man came up to me and said “Hey there my friend, give me five!” and shook my hand and “gave me five”. He proceeded to talk to me for a while in very bad English about how he wanted to speak English, about some guys, and about US dollars. I spent a long time trying really hard to do my active listening thing, I kept repeating what I thought he was saying back to him, to which he’d always say “No” and try again.

Soon Jo turned up and I suggested that perhaps he talk to her in Spanish, but he didn’t want to, he wanted to speak English. I got the picture he wanted money, and as has been our policy we gave him 4 Quetzales, which he wasn’t happy with. We got the picture that he wanted 2 US dollars. But we we didn’t have 2 US dollars on us, but he kept insisting. I told him we were Australian, but the significance of that didn’t seem to sink in with him.

Eventually Jo said to him in Spanish, “Can you speak Spanish? Because we don’t understand what you’re saying.”

This didn’t seem to be the right thing to say as he wanted to speak English, so he got angry.

At this point he noticed Jo’s watch on her wrist. He spoke for a little bit longer saying he didn’t care about the “f-ing police”, then made a lunge for Jo’s watch. He grabbed it and tried to pull it off. I reacted with my lightening fast 2 lessons worth of Kung fu and grabbed his wrist using a Flying Angry Cobra Wrist Lock, Dad, also a kung fu master, grabbed the same wrist using the Striking Invisible Tiger Wrist Clench. Jo grabbed her watch with her Ju Jit Su, Fung Hu Fing Clasp. Mum was in the bathroom looking for the light.

Seeing the united power of the French Family and our formidable martial arts skills, the man let go and said something else in English. Jo said she was going inside and did. I put up my hands in the conciliatory, negotiation, defensive stance, and I said something to him which I don’t remember but while it probably sounded like “I don’t want any trouble” I’m sure it was actually something like “Never touch my family or me again or I’ll break your neck in a second!” The man swore at us, then stalked off across the road, across the square on the other side and disappeared.

Mum and Jo came out of the cafe, Mum having successfully found the light. And we all went back to the car to debrief and get out of that no good town with the street robbers and lazy cafe staff. We made it out successfully Dad only driving the wrong way down a one way street once.

Just out of Coban, we had to turn off to find a town where the back roads started. We found this little town, chock full of people and cars. The people were all friendly and happy to give us directions. By this stage we were only half way through our journey but it was almost 4pm.

Eventually we wound our way through the tiny streets onto the road to somewhere which would get us to somewhere else (obviously).

As we drove the road got steeper, narrower and more muddy. The rain was coming down and we were driving along skinny roads with no room for passing traffic, were we to meet anyone coming the other way. Soon the country side opened up and we were driving on the side of a mountain looking out over a spectacular valley, which looked great, but wouldn’t have been so great to drive off the side of the road into, which was looking like more and more of a possibility the more we drove. Plus the clouds were descending, the rain was coming, the hill side looked even less stable than the one we were driving through on Sunday when it started throwing rocks at us, and the road was so muddy we were in danger of getting bogged.

As we wondered if following this back road was the smartest option, we met a man on a bulldozer, much more suited to the terrain, who told us the road only got worse and we would be smarter to turn back. So turn back we did.

Valley to Plunge Into.jpg

The Valley

Bulldozer and Jo.jpg

Jo and Bulldozer Man

Back through the mud, back through the town and back onto the highway for Guatemala City, the very place we were aiming to avoid.

By now it was getting very late, and we were no where near our destination. We had to decide where to spend the night. After a little bit of bad diplomacy, we settled on Guatemala City and, much to my delight, we decided to stay in a posh hotel. And while this didn’t really excite anyone else, it did excite me.

We ended up arriving in Guatemala City 14 hours after we’d left Flores, still about 200kms away from where we wanted to go. Things perhaps didn’t quite go as planned.

Still we ended the night in the Holiday Inn which was swankier than I thought Holiday Inns were. I thought they were like just a step up from F1 but this was more like just a step down from Raddison. Plus Jo got to see her boyfriend and Mum, Dad and I got to order room service and watch cable, so it wasn’t all bad.

As I thought about the day I did realise the day was probably a pretty good illustration of James 4:13-14:

Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

I think I agree.

Subscribe