Elyse Y. Robinson

Black American Woman in Mexico

I Have Arrived in Guatemala | Elyse Y. Robinson

I Have Arrived in Guatemala

August 06, 2018


Let me preface this with August 5th being an important date for me. It was the day I walked off my job and said I’d never have another job again. I have worked a few contracts here and there, but I have not been an employee. I can’t believe I’ve been on this journey of self-employment and self-expression for two years! Now I’m in Guatemala learning the hell out of Spanish which was long overdue but I’m not complaining. Everything happens for a reason.

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Guatemala City and Antigua are BEAUTIFUL! Greenery everywhere and very different from Mexico City.

I flew Volaris which is a Mexican airline and got up SO early this morning. My neighbors were not happy with me dragging three luggage down the stairs. One even opened the door and told me to shhh. Nothing I can do sir! Volaris was the cheapest direct flight at 6am. Never again. I probably had two hours of sleep before having to wake back up at 3:15am to leave at 3:45am. I’m glad I left a little bit early as the line to check bags was long and I might not have made the cut off time to check bags. The airport was ridiculously busy on an early Sunday morning.

I arrived to the airport and forgot I didn’t have any pesos on me. Mexico City airport has people to help you with your bags. I’m trying to tell the guy that I need to go to the bank really quickly to grab some money to pay him. El banco, no pesos! He said it was fine…ummm ok…you’re not getting paid. He stood by while I was in line and waiting to get checked in. I was in line for at least 30 minutes. When I was through he asked for a tip and I asked him again where is the bank? He started talking to another customer so I slid off.

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I went to Starbucks to grab some breakfast. I got grapefruit which I LOVE, a blueberry muffin which I didn’t even get a chance to eat, and a water to add my alka seltzer to. I have learned that I will get a serious nose and ear infection so stop it before it happens with allergy medicine plus it also has a pain reliever so I’m not hurting too bad carrying all this extra weight.

My flight was smooth and it’s only an hour from Mexico City to Guatemala City. Volaris is a cheap airline and charges you for every little thing. I wasn’t about to pay to pick my seat so I sat in the aisle. My head nodded the whole way and I didn’t get great sleep.

Landed and went through customs and immigration easy enough. Received my third passport stamp (Mexico, China, Guatemala). Their carts are not free here like in Mexico City and I had to get money from an exchange place to pay for it. Retrieved my bags and headed outside to look for someone to pick me up. No one was there so I got on my phone.

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Of course, my phone worked but didn’t work. I couldn’t get a signal and my phone service from Mexico should have worked just fine. There was, of course, a hustler outside that let me hook up to his wifi on his phone. I was able to call the school and get someone to pick me up within 20 minutes. The hustler asked for a tip and I gave him 1 quetzal which is about 13 cents. I don’t know how the exchange rate works and the price of things yet so he better take what he can get. Nothing is really open on a Sunday so I’ll get a sim card tomorrow.

Antigua was about a 45-minute drive and my driver told me good thing I came early as traffic would start in a little while. It was a smooth, straight shot to my host family’s house. You can see the volcano in the distance and it is so beautiful with all the greenery everywhere. I finally arrive to my host family’s house and they help me with my bags.

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My host family takes me up to my room. I’m on the third floor and I felt sorry for them carrying my bags up three flights of stairs. One of my luggage is destroyed and I hope I have everything in it because the zipper busted open on it. I plan on leaving with one luggage and not two so it’s fine. I REALLY need to learn how to get down to one bag, a carry on, and a backpack. Easier said than done. One suitcase is nothing but books and stuff for my body.

My host family introduces themselves and we have a conversation about breakfast, lunch, dinner, the school, what I like to eat, laundry, where I can find something to eat as they don’t feed me on Sundays only, the usual things you need to know. My host’s names are Suheidy and Edwin. I have my own room and a private bathroom so I’m happy. I can’t wait for breakfast tomorrow!

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I’m starving so I decided to go out and explore before my 5-hour nap. I figured nothing would really be open on a Sunday except a few stores and grocery stores. I asked people in the street where I can get food. An older woman told me there is a little store right up the street to get chile rellenos. I think I’m lost so I ask another person and she tells me NO…you can only go to the grocery store to get food on Sundays. I start walking back all defeated. Then the first lady asks me where I’m going and what happened. I told her another woman told me there is nothing open over there. Then the two ladies meet and start arguing. They both agreed there is a little store I can get chile rellenos from so I start walking back.

I find the little store a block up the street that sold chile rellenos and bought a few. They were delicious but cold and I didn’t feel like going back downstairs to warm them up. I had a whole conversation in Spanish and I’m so proud of myself. I have spoken more Spanish today than I ever have in Mexico City. Ridiculous!

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I eat and call up a few people to talk to then lay it down for a really good nap. Wake up starving again and don’t want the chile rellenos. I decide pizza is always available anywhere you go and try to order but they only accept cash. I have enough for some hot wings but they won’t take my order. I even tried tweeting Pizza Guatemala to accept my order with no luck. :lol:

I eventually find this hotel restaurant and they speak English! I put in an order and give the man my card. I order Thai curry chicken and a greek salad. He calls me back and says my card was declined. Ugh! Damn you Schwab Bank…I put in a travel notice that I would be here. Maybe because he typed in the number instead of swiping it? The man was so nice and said I could pay what I have (61.50 quetzales) and pay the rest tomorrow. I told him THANK YOU! I can go after school and pay since it’s on the same street. I’m loving Guatemala already!

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As of now I’m waiting on my food and just chilling. After I eat and get my food I will try out this shower and hope it gets hot enough for me to withstand it. Breakfast is at 7:20 and I can’t wait. Then off to school for my first Spanish lesson. I’m so excited to start learning!

Elyse Y. Robinson @ BeAForeigner Inc.
Elyse Y. Robinson

Without a plan, Elyse Y. Robinson moved to México City after her mother passed away from blood cancer on November 11, 2016. She never heard of México City nor even visited México before. She just knew she had to escape America to mourn. She had quit her whole life to help her family anyway. She had nothing more to lose. She is going into her fourth year in México and she is there to stay!

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