Central American Adventures!

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It isn’t paradise without the falls June 21, 2009

Filed under: Guatemala — goodbyekitty2007 @ 7:35 pm

The Quetzaltrekkers came for their bi-weekly dinner and mattresses yesterday, so I made the usual chicken stew (improved this week by making the sauce separately). They failed to bring me a Canadian again, but I’m beginning to get used to it. After dinner I gave them more beer and watermelon, and they were happily sitting on the sofa watching a movie. I did some tidying up, went on the roof . . . and instead of coming back down like a normal person slipped on the third to last stair. (The roof leaks above the bottom steps, and they were wet. Also, they are built shoddily and slope forwards. It was an accident waiting to happen.)

I came down rather heavily, banging my face on the metal railing in the process. I saw stars and sat there for a while before getting up. Apparently I then stood in the doorway, blood pouring from my face, and said something like “uh, guys, I think I need some help”. (I don’t exactly remember, but it sounds like me.) Luckily, the Quetzaltrekkers always come with two guides who are qualified first-aiders – so a massive thank you to Jon and Brendan, who looked after me extremely well (and probably enjoyed getting to use the extra-large first aid kit they’d been carrying through the mountains for five days). They cleaned me up, bandaged me, gave me sweets and painkillers and asked all the right questions about concussion. Then they sat me down and I got to watch the second half of The Usual Suspects (I’d never seen it, shame on me) instead of doing the washing up.

Result from this week’s fall: one black eye (swelling rapidly), one gash on the cheek (not deep, apparently, but bleeding profusely), one hole in elbow, one painful swelling on said elbow, one massive bruise on my hip and a fair amount of skin taken off my ankle. Plus plenty of sympathy and being told that I’m a trooper.

Very early today I got rudely woken up at 4.30 by the abovementioned Jon and Brendan, who wanted to change my bandage before they left. Very good of them, in retrospect, less so at the time, especially as I ended up having their head torches shone in my face – we’ve been having a fair amount of power outages recently. I went back to bed for a while, all steri-stripped and padded up.

The first thing I did when I got up again was to make sure I knew all the words to explain what had happened – things like “to slip” and “metal railing”, for instance. My face looked like I’d have a lot of explaining to do. And it was true, although depending on the angle at which people looked at me (and the fact that my hair does cover a fair amount of the bandage) most people greeted me with “buenos dí . . . ah! ¿que pasó?”. I explained, I got my clean huipil from Clara’s washing line (the one I wore yesterday has blood on it) and I went to the health centre to have my bandage changed again. The nurse was very lovely, whether she believed my story about the stairs I’m not sure (domestic violence is very common here, though she must have considered my size relative to the local men). It was a little disconcerting that she was wearing jeans and a hoodie, but I suppose as long as she does her job properly it doesn’t really matter. The health centre itself is basic, but it does have a doctor, a nurse, posters about immunisations and it’s open late during the week, which is more than many of the communities nearby can offer. I’ll be going back there every day for more bandage changing.

Other “exciting” news today: I was pleased with Pakistan beating Sri Lanka. I got a comment published in the Guardian’s OBO (in fact, I told Gary Naylor that he was wrong). I worked on my second Vinnland sock. I ate left over chicken stew all day. I went up on the roof and back down again, just to prove that I could. Err . . . that was it, probably.

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