Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


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Like my brownhouse:
   deliberately puking in Xela
Thursday, March 23 2006

setting: Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

In the wee hours of the morning I lay in bed unable to sleep, my gut still feeling horrible from that last sip of Gallo. At first I didn't want to tell Gretchen that I was feeling ill because she hates it when I get sick while she's sick. She inevitably finds it a great injustice and suspects that it's just a pyscho-somatic reaction on my part to avoid nursing duties. But after awhile I couldn't avoid telling her. At her urging I went into the bathroom and made myself throw up. It was much easier to convince my body to purge this time than it had been after I'd swallowed gasoline back in November. This morning all I had to do was touch a tiny part of the back of my throat and I just exploded with multiple vomits, the last of which landed in the sink. (I had to force the chunks through the strainer with my fingers.)
By this morning I was feeling well enough to go to class, but only barely. I experienced an enormous setback when a traffic jam formed in Avenida 20 out in front of "our house" and our madre and her son Mario opened to door to see what was the matter. At that point a foul cloud of diesel fumes filled the house, leaving me wondering where I was going to find my next gasp of real oxygen. Interestingly, both our madre and Mario seemed completely oblivious about the air quality. To them it was nothing special at all. No wonder everyone is Xela is stunted!
I only made it through half of this morning's Spanish classes. By the end there, Alma had me conjugating future tenses of verbs on the fly, but I was having trouble pulling them down out of the fog.
I spent the rest of the morning in bed and then had enough strength to struggle down to the Celas Maya computer lab to work some cascading style sheet magic and actually do something of a redesign.

I met Gretchen there and together we decided to go check out Xela's museum on Parque Centroamérica. It's the building with the corinthian columns wound with rusty haywire to keep them from flexing too much in an earthquake. On the way we met up with Andrew, one of our fellow students, and he joined us for the museum excursion.
I have to say, I have never seen a sadder approximation of a museum in my life. The place had the look, feel, and smell of a cluttered antique store, one in the seedy part of town. The floors creaked and the paint peeled. After snapping a few pictures I was warned that photography was forbidden, whereupon I turned off my flash.
It wasn't that the museum didn't have some great things. It had a collection of exquisite Mayan and pre-Mayan artifacts, all of them much better than anything we'd seen the other day at Abaj Takalik. But the collections were junked up with lots of completely irrelevant things and poor presentation, such as one display called "Computers of the 80s" and many trophy cases that reminded me of my old high school's hallway.
The most appalling display of all was in the taxidermy room. Lions (displayed inside a cage) had huge eyes and ill-fitted prosthetic tongues that looked like things one might get out of a bubble gum machine. Most of the fur on the lumpily-stuffed critters suffered from a condition that resembles mange but which affects the pelts of dead animals. As I said to Andrew and Gretchen at the time, "I don't think I've ever seen taxidermy of this quality put on display." Still, there were oddities in the taxidermy room that I'd never seen in any other museum, the most disturbing of which was a calf with four eyes and two snouts. There was also a crazy-looking sea monster with the potential to induce nightmares.

Though tonight was our last in Xela, our madre prepared us nothing special. By now we'd decided that she must be either very lazy or else terribly affected by her new medication. As for me, I don't think I'll ever again be able to eat any form of refried black beans for the rest of my life.

A mysterious award at the Xela museum built around an ordinary can of Gallo beer.

These lions are actually on display at the Xela museum.

On the walk back "home" tonight, we saw that a familiar mom and dad pair of street dogs living near that "Nails and More" place were showing off their new puppy.

The puppy evidently spends much of its time in this storm sewer.

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