Sunday, December 29, 2013

Lanquin, Guatemala- So, You Want a Job?

After the x-mas celebration and food coma we fell into, it was decided that we need just one more day in El Retiro Lodge in Lanquin.  We hadn't fully relaxed.  All our backpacker buddies took off and the Lodge was ours to kick back in some hammocks and tube down the river.  Not as much excitement as the caves, but the water moves quick on the river with all the new rain water so there were a few moments of paddling as hard as possible to avoid being tossed into a low hanging tree or rock. 

There was also the excitement of our lodging inside our room.  We had a cute little open air loft which means no doors and no windows, just a free invitation to any bug or cat that would like to join us for the night.  Once I started hearing people's stories of finding hairy spiders or a cockroach running around their bed I knew there had to be some drastic moves.  Michael, again being the most positive and flexible traveler out there, agreed to make me the happiest girl in the hostel and set up his tent on top of our bed.  Yes, a tent on top of our double beds, pushed together, inside our open air room.  I don't care if this makes me less of a rugged backpacker, I honestly think it was a genius idea.  

Michael modeling the latest craze in indoor camping

Just climb the ladder to get to our Oasis

The best part about staying an extra day was it let us get closer to the staff of the hostel.  Jill and Jose run El Retiro and we spent the entire last night splitting off and talking to each of them about everything from their lives in the middle of nowhere to the power of TripAdvisor and how travelers use it as a source of power.  It was fascinating to get a deeper view into running one of these hostels and the kind of issues they are up against.  Customer service in a foreign land is tough because how do you apologize for the spiders and roaches?  
By the end of the night, Jose had offered us jobs to stay and bartend over New Years.  I would be writing to you with the new title of El Retiro Bartender if Mike had not reminded me that we have other cities and countries to visit.  I was already picturing the badass bandana I was going to wear while flipping shots to Aussie backpackers during the countdown.  

Our almost bosses (the face on Jose is because we wouldnt stay with him to become part of the staff)

Thank you for having us, El Retiro. We loved the community dinners, the fast paced river, the roaches and the cats that somehow knew how to unzip tents so they could climb in and spend the night.  

Michael breaking down our tent on our final night.  We decided to sleep outside of our cabin and let the local wildlife take the indoors.  But seriously, it was an amazing place to be and we would go back in a heartbeat.

Our live in cat.  My favorite quote "Um, Jessie...the cat just unzipped the tent and is inside".  He was like a raptor from Jurassic Park learning to open doors for the first time. 

Next up, an 8 hour drive south to Antigua, Guatemala!  

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