Each month our very our investigative reporter Jalapeño Jacobo interviews a foreigner who’s gotten themselves stuck in Xela. This month we spoke to Richard Brown, who was raised in Virginia in the United States but now lives here in Xela and works with EntreMundos, a local NGO.
Sooo Rich, what brings you to Xela?
Well two and a half years ago I was living and working in the US until one day at work I ate half a bag of potato chips and became so ill I had to leave the office. It was the last straw. I knew then that it was time to make a big change.
I knew I wanted to move to a small city where I’d be surrounded by Spanish speakers, and it just so happened that the flights to Guatemala were cheaper than any other flights I could find. So I ended up in Xela.
And how long were you planning on staying?
I originally planned on staying for six months to a year.
So what happened, why are you still here?
For me traveling is about exploring new ways of seeing the world, and I believe the best way to do that is to stay in one place for a long time and to really get to know the community there… I also fell in love soon after arriving.
Awww que lindo. So what do you here now?
I spend most of my time working at a Xela based organization called EntreMundos. We facilitate volunteer opportunities for foreigners, we have a small grants program which gives money to local organizations, and we lead workshops to help local organizations run more effectively and reach more people.
After two and a half years here is there anything you miss about being home.
There’s nothing I miss about actually being in the United States other than friends and family… and not having to smell other people’s poopy toilet paper every time I go to the bathroom.
It could be worse… What’s your favorite place in Xela (that people might not know about)?
There’s a bar near Calvario called Lagartijas, I consider it to be a really nice bar/restaurant but some people might refer to it as a “cantina”. Either way the pool table is always open, the beer’s cheap, and the food is amazing.
And what’s your favorite day trip from Xela?
Definitely Xocomil, it’s the best water park I’ve ever been to. There’s a great lazy river there, and they have these ketchup dispensers in the food court which dispense the perfect amount of ketchup with a single press.
Wow.. incredible. Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers before we wrap up?
Don’t touch any plastic if you can avoid it.
By the way, can we make this interview anonymous?
Hmm I don’t think the editors would be in to that.
Well can I at least have a bag over my head in the picture?
Thanks for your time Rich