An Example of Serendipity in Guatemala

I met a traveler in Flores who said that her friend who sent her to Guatemala told her that it was “full of magic”. She wasn’t the only one who told me this. And it’s true. Coincidences seem to pile up there. On the way between Flores and Livingston with the San Franciscans I met in Tikal while lost, we listened to “Hotel California” on my Iphone. Juliet exclaimed: “I haven’t heard this song in ages! I love it!”. Later that evening, after having joined an optimistic local band in a jam session on the pier, the guitarist started strumming a familiar tune. You guessed right. It was Hotel California. Even better, he had the lyrics in a binder and we all had a sing along. The next day, while walking down the street, we passed a bar playing a reggae version of that same song. Serendipity is defined as: “The aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.” I define it as happy coincidences.

Let me tell you of another such coincidence. I’ve already spoken briefly about my trip to Monterico, but let me go into greater depth for a moment. Sunday morning that first weekend in Antigua, I was relaxing once again at the Banana Azul. I went back initially to retrieve the backpack I had left there in my friend Chato’s room for safe keeping. I stayed for the cerveza preparada and the company. I was watching Avengers with the hostel owner when the Spaniard from the night before approached to ask for where to go next in his travels. Christian, owner and host, immediately responded by saying, “You should go to Monterico”. Upon hearing this, I whipped out my notebook, where I had written directions by bus to Monterico the day before. As I described the route to take to the Spaniard, he interrupted me to ask if I wanted to go with him. I had befriended the Spaniard the night before outside of a locals bar. We spoke of the three different types of people: sheep, goats, and wolves.
I said Yes and grabbed my stuff. When the girls got to the hostel, I told them what was up and left them equanimously to travel back to Comalapa without me.
Christian offered to drive us halfway there in his car, and ultimately dropped us at a mall in Puerto where we bought provisions for the next few hours. The Spaniard also discovered that his debit card didn’t work, and after several minutes of argument, where I offered to pay for his trip in order to join me and he refused and decided to go back to Antigua, he got in a taxi and left.
We made vague plans to meet up in Monterico sometime later, but I was pissed and had no real plan to call him and we failed to exchange numbers, anyway.

Over the next few weeks, we exchanged a couple of very strange emails. He avoided questions about where he was, and made strange jokes about my friends (tee-hee). Whatever the case, I certainly did not expect to see him my first morning in Flores. But…I did. Awkwardness aside, it was good to see him again. He was most definitely doing his own thing, and seemingly enjoying himself. We shared a conversation over breakfast, we passed each other with a wave a few times over the next couple of days and then he disappeared again. Who knows, maybe I’ll see him when I go to Spain?

Of course I understand that the likelihood of meeting up with one of the several travelers that I connected with in Guatemala, I’d meet on the traveler circuit in Guatemala is pretty high, but I call pleasant coincidences serendipity, whatever the dictionary says.


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