P o p p i n g
Nice One Germany
Alas, that’s it for the Football World Cup for another 4 years – now the population of Xela will have to invent some other kinds of excuses in order to drink copious amounts of beer at 10 in the morning (September’s coming up soon guys, don’t get too twitchy!).
For someone whose enthusiasm for football ranges from totally uninterested to “alright then, I’ll come and watch the game but only if we watch it somewhere that serves alcoholic beverages,” I’ll be the first to admit that it was a pretty thrilling competition. From some of the amazing performances by the underdogs (a special shout out going to Costa Rica – so close to reaching the semis!), the abysmally embarrassing performances by some of the “big names” (Spain, England and a particularly big WTF from Brazil’s last two matches), to the nail-biting games decided in the last few minutes, it was certainly a fun ride! And a big congrats to the Germans for walking away triumphantly with the cup at the end of it all.
F lo p p i n g
A free pack of tortrix for the reader who can bring light to the seemingly random pattern of gripe onslaughts that manage to infect just about the entire population of Xela during what appear to be completely unrelated, and ever-changing, periods of the year. It would be good to know when we should actually start preparing in advance for such contagions…
July was one of those months – with gripe hopping from one Xela resident to another with uncanny efficiency.
So the next time you’re infected with the snivels – try this little recipe for a fantastic gripe relieving super-tea: dried té de limón, eucalyptus leaves & chamomile (all widely available at the markets), fresh ginger, a bit of a cinnamon stick and a couple of cloves. Bring to the boil with water and simmer for about 10 mins. Add to a mug with lots of honey and 1/2 a freshly squeezed lime.
VISA RUN TIP
Those who have been in Xela long enough to pass the 90-day visa limit milestone will have no doubt had the pleasure of enduring the one-day visa run trip to Mexico. 4 to 5 hours spent sitting on a hot and sweaty chicken bus only to pop across the border, get your passport stamped 4 times and then hop back on board another chicken bus for another 4 to 5 hours of fun-filled travel time. It’s such an altogether unpleasant experience that it almost feels like Guatemala doesn’t want us to stay here for longer than 90 days…
But fear not, small-relief can be found: Galgos actually runs a luxury Pullman service from Talisman (on the El Carmen border crossing) to Guatemala City, which leaves every day at around 12.30pm. Whilst this won’t take you all the way to Xela, they’ll drop you off in Retalhuleu – only an extra hour and a half away from Xela. So if you’re planning on doing a one day visa run, you can time your trip so that you can at least spend some of your time aboard a bus with blissful air conditioning and your own, comfy seat designed for actual adults of normal sizes. If this tempts your fancy, you will need to leave Xela by 7am if you want to be sure of getting to the border and getting all of your stamps done on time to catch the bus.
This little bit of luxury will set you back Q140 though, which is rather steep. But trust us when we say that after 5 hours spent cramped up on board a chicken bus, followed by what seems like an eternity spent sweating from every orifice under the heat of the midday sun whilst border officials muse over your request to leave and re-enter the country on the same day, an air conditioned bus with an real seat all to yourself will seem even more tempting than a dip in a swimming pool on a scorching summer’s day.