Each month we send our field correspondent, Jalapeño Jacobo, to interview and harass one of Xela’s most infamous extranjeros to find out why the hell they’ve lived in Xela for so long (just kidding Xela, we love you.) This month we spoke to Alyce Devlin, who is originally from Melbun’, Australia but is now co-owner of Mandarina here in Xela.
What brought you to Xela and how long were you planning on staying?
I came to Xela in November 2014 to brush up on my Spanish. My plan was to stay for two months and then move on to Mexico where I was going to retire.
And so what happened?
Well it was going to take more than two months to fix my Spanish. A warning to all the newcomers: Spanish is harder than you think.. I also just really liked Xela, and decided that if I liked it, why leave.
What were your first impressions of the city?
It was grungy. And there were a lot of drunks sleeping on the street. Definitely not the prettiest city I had been to.
And you still stayed?
I liked the grunginess, it felt more real and less shiny than other places I had traveled. And Ok, I also met a hot young boy…
Ahhh so you stayed for a boy?
Nooo, but it was definitely a part of the attraction.
Got any thoughts on Guatemalan boys?
How long have you got?… Basically, they think we’re easy, and we think they’re sleazy. In fact, the only thing I would change about Xela is how difficult it is to have an honest relationship here.
That’s a shame…
On a lighter note, what do you do for work?
Since I arrived in Xela I’ve mostly sustained myself by working for an Australian company online. But a few months ago I became part owner of Mandarina, a cafe in Zone 1. My goal is for it to be more than just a cafe with amazing coffee and food (which it already is), but a place to socialize and meet new people, kinda like Central Perk Cafe, and I definitely think we’re on the right track.
Central Perk Café, huh? I’m in if Jennifer Anniston still works there…
Have you got any good paca finds?
Just about my entire wardrobe is from the pacas, but my best find would have to be a pair of diamante stripper heels that will never leave my house.
Niiiice, ok, what do you think about the food here?
What would you put on your ideal tostada?
Ok then, well who has the best baked goods in town?
Mandarina, of course.
I can’t disagree with that