I’m told about this amazing hidden gem to check out, it’s just off the main highway through Guatemala about five kilometers down a curvy gravel road past a number of small pepper and corn farms on the rivers edge.
Well I hate to break it to all of you who’ve been waiting your entire life with the hopes of “seeing heaven”, as far as I know it’s not someplace outside the solar system… It’s in N.E. Guatemala and with a little ambition you can go see it for yourself.
The countryside farm sits on a fresh water river that holds a number of cascading pools that flow into one another like a well mixed cocktail. At the base of some of the falls are pools you could dive into, others you could just sit and wade in and if you're like me you take advantage of the somewhat sketchy thou exciting zip lines and rope swings they have built on the banks.
The water is clear, the kind of clear that you need to wait for a ripple to see where it begins or you can just watch for one of the dozens of turtles that swim around the pools & rise to the top for a little breath of air. I even went fishing one day, caught nothing, and lost a hook on the river bottom. I could still see it, so I just peeled my clothes off and dove in, opened my eyes
and snagged it back.
Jose is the man who owns this heaven on earth and he is super chatty, he used to live in North America for a decade or so & his English certainly better than my Spanish. He comes and goes regularly to check on me and each time brings bits of food they've been cooking or some other surprises. One time it’s a vegetable soup of sorts, another time some weird fruits, the next time some mostly-cooked cow stomach, one time a cow hoof he’s been boiling, not the bone just the fatty bit and he sells me hard on the idea that “it’s better then beef”. It’s not too bad once he puts some salt and lime on it for me, however it’s a lot like fat flavoured bubble gum that takes me some time to chew my way through.
On one of his little visits he rocks up and slides a 9mm hand gun on the table and in his Pablo Escobar accent explains he's never ever had a problem here, not once, no ones come for the money or anything and if there ever was a problem he'd look out for me. Still thou he suggests I camp close to the house just to be sure...
So he's chatting about how he got the gun here from California from when he used to live there.
Says look, it's nice and puts it in my hand.
Then shows me the clip.
"See iz got 10 bullets, so there will be a warning and if they don't take it I'll take care of things".
This will mark the first time I've held a hand gun, my hearts beating a bit faster and I can see how these things get addicting. You’re basically holding a hard on that weighs 3lbs and gives me this false feeling like I run the world.
Jose explains he's also got a .22 hand gun and he's also friends with the military, so if shit really got outta hand he'd just call the military and they’d show up.
Sure as fuk, his army buds show up the next day for beers. The Colonel fully dressed in all his military gear, little flopsy hat and high laced boots. He comes strolling by my camp while I’m in my underwear eating breakfast, I say "Hola", he looks through me emotionless and walks past…
Seems like a nice guy.
That night before bed I read up in my lonely planet book about the history of Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador as I’m headed that way in the coming weeks. For the most part they have all had there share of civil war, government killing off the indigenous people atrocities and by 2012 Honduras had finally made global headlines as the “murder capital of the world”, this title was eventually lost to tiny El Salvador in 2105. Ahh sweet bedtime stories to set the mood for a relaxing sleep.
Well at some random hour of the night I hear these ducks and chickens going nuts in the yard about 100 yards from my tent and I wake up. However every night for about two months now I’ve woke up to some kind of animal making a fuss so I eventually fall back asleep.
Sometime later I wake up to the rapid fire sound of two handgun rounds going off in the jungle just outside my tent, BANG BANG, then hear someone in the river, then hear two voices talking low, then a flashlight going round and round that makes a few passes across my tent!
I don't move a fukin muscle, basically for 30 minutes I don't move, I just lie there shallow breathing with quite commotion goes on outside. By this point I really need to take a piss thou I’m not going outside. In the meantime I slide my wallet into my pants and my cell phone into my sleeping bag.
Eventually all is quite and the lights and voices outside my tent go away.
About an hour later I still need to piss and I haven’t heard any further commotions. I devise a plan to avoid going outside and I quietly and slowly unzip the tent just enough to stick my penis through and piss, hahaha ohh man what night!
Then I lay there for another hour wondering "WTF"?
Finally I fall back asleep and wake up the next morning.
Suns up, all seems fine so I stroll outside start making breakfast and I see Jose.
He's all smiley faced, coming over and in his Pablo Escobar accent with .22 pistol stuffed in his pants he says.
"Ah Kix, you hear doze shots last night"?
Umm yea, what the hell was that???
“You know dis sorta big brown thing kinda like a rat thou a bit bigger, they come to eat the chickens, so we find it in the trees and shoot it. And I got it! Thou it fell in the river so we couldn't get it to eat before it fell away.”
He's excited and here I think someone was coming to rob mine or his ass all night!
J-E-S-U-S! What a crazy night. Least he was excited :)
Jose was actually one of the happiest chappies I’ve ever met and at one point he asks me if I’m happy at his place because it’s his life and makes him happy and he wants everyone who comes to be happy there too. Before I left I interviewed him on camera about all this happiness. I’ll post that up one day when it’s all edited up.
G.P.S. coordinates to Las Pozas N 16.39392 W 89.49816