Stuck in Xela
By Jalapeño Jacobo
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 Guillaume Riboulleau, who is originally from southwestern France but is now stuck in (just outside of) Xela
When and why did you first come to Xela?
Ten years ago I set off traveling with the idea of going all the way from Mexico to Argentina, working on farms and learning whatever I could along the way. But I ended up finding Quetzaltrekkers here in Xela and decided to stay a bit longer than planned.
… And after that?
I only stayed for a year at first, but while I was here I met my current girlfriend, Maike.
Ahh, so that explains it.
Yea.. basically we spent a while living in Europe and visiting Guatemala periodically, but eventually we decided we wanted to settle in one place and start building something of our own. I didn’t want to live in her home country of Germany and she didn’t want to live in France and so here we are in neutral territory.
And have you been able to build something of your own?
Yes we have! In 2015 we bought a piece of land in the hills south of Xela, and we have since been developing the property to be as self-sufficient as possible, including cultivating much of our own food and building our own house using materials from the land.
What’s the goal of the project?
It’s hard to say exactly because it’s always evolving. We started with the basic idea of providing a place for university students to live close to Xela, and we already have three living with us. But we also really wanted to build something for ourselves and the community that would promote self-sufficiency and that would exist without outside funds. We also know that some day we hope to hand the project over so that it is 100% local.
And you’re also a famous panadero now?
Yup. We made a wood-fired oven on our property and we’re now using it to make delicious sour-dough bread that is sold weekly in Frutopia.
Do you have any recommendations on how best to consume your bread?
I would recommend it be consumed constantly throughout the entire day. I usually eat it with marmalade for breakfast, and then I eat it with cheese until there’s no more bread left.
Ed: This also happens to be Xelawho’s officially recommended consumption method for Guillaume’s bread.
How has Xela changed in your time here?
There used to be much more fiesta. There were several venues that would have concerts all the time and it was easy and normal to keep partying until four or five in the morning.
Wow, I would be jealous if I was physically capable of being awake after 1 am.
There’s also twice as many cars now, way too much traffic.
Well it’s a good thing you have your hideaway in the mountains.
Indeed it is!
Thanks for making your way down to chat with us, Guillaume!