I write this lazily swinging in a hammock – beer bottle in hand – that overlooks a lush green valley with an equally enchanting river. And I feel miserable. Well not miserable, more like a soulless vortex of negativity. I write this just to showcase the other side of long-term travel, the kind that people seem to forget about as they blissfully look at travel photos on facebook.
It isn’t the setting that is unsettling, or the gang of unemployed English lads on tour dipshits lazying about touting about how great their latest “getting pissed” fest was – no I am in dire misery from the trifecta of terror that has graced my doorstep. Travelers diarrhea that is making me want to run to the toilet every two minutes praying that the bathroom in the “jungle oasis”, aka no electricity-ville, doesn’t give out, or that the frumpy backpacker girls wearing bikinis that don’t compliment them (or anyone) don’t go passing my way and hear sounds more terrifying than the howler monkeys at Tikal. I would love it if that was my only despair, blowing out bowel movements would be most welcome if they were unaccompanied with my second outbreak of bed bugs bites, boiling my body making it look like thing that you keep chained up in your basement or that horrific monster found under bridges. Bed bugs, incase you have been fortunate enough to not encounter them whilst traveling, are like mini-cockroaches that live inside mattresses of seedy sleeping establishments and are near impossible to kill or even get rid of. They are the American military of the pest world – once they set up shop – they never leave. They will bleed you and annoy you for decades. They can jump from bed to bed with ease and if they are present in an environment with people that are less hygienic than wandering gypsies that never shower– ie hippies, Australians, then you got a real problem on your hands. I had a pulverizing by some of these critters a month ago and the bites took 10 days to go away. Yesterday, I got the lucky bed next to the incredibly thick headed English girl who thought those “pesky things on her bed in that seedy guest house that hurt” were just ants and didn’t bother to do anything when she saw them go into her backpack – so she hit up the late night bar instead and let her new compadres party in the whole room while she drank herself into a coma like the rest of the lads on tour horde. So lucky for me, I got an up close and personal tour of Guatemala’s bug life. I got to wash my clothes and bag in the scotching sun with an explosive stomach for an hour as I prayed to Apollo, Zeus, Horis and any other god out there to strike me down with a lightening bolt or a barrage of dull spoons to end this mercifully. And the last in my trifecta tour of nightmares was the 8-hour (10 hours with car breakdown) car ride with no AC on the sun along the pothole highway. My good Israeli friend says when “you smile at the world, it smiles back at you” – well, in that case – let me put on my fake waiter shit eating grin and hope the next bug bite attack comes from cyanide bugs.
In conclusion, save yourself the bites, the 10-hour bus rides on roads that look like Iraqi mine fields, and the endless line of assholes – and get the discovery channel in HD. Oh and one last thing, just in case you weren’t sold on selling everything you have a sailing off into your imaginary dream vacation with ease and painless comfort – here is my hostel/jungle guest hostel in Guatemala last night.