It comes into sight. The entrance is almost grand, surrounded by the white dust that coats everything.
Even the building itself has been faded into this same flat white, but the door is coated in a bright bronze, and the sign that whips back and forth in the wind off the lake boasts a colorful image of a mountain against a cheerful sky. Upon a closer look the mountain takes the form of a woman. Pachamama Hostel y Restaurante.
I pass Los Abrazos, with it’s Guatemalan food and Mayan Astrology readings. As I pass I whistle at the solemn blond dog that lays asleep in the road, the dark spot under its eye slowly and constantly oozing. Beside the narrow footpath are flyers taped and stapled to a few electrical poles and a piece of propped plywood, advertising meditation retreats. Over the bridge I look down. Beside the trickle of water weaving its way down to the lake, a mayan woman with a long braid down her back carries a basket and walks with a little boy.
The door is wide open when I enter the hostel. I see the prayer flags and the camping tents up above, the big brown and black dog called Rambo sleeping in the dust just inside. A scant piece of barbed wire at the top of the fence.
I’ve come to appreciate the chaotic use of space. The stone path gives out about halfway and becomes brown dirt, in which stands now the two year old wearing an oversized t-shirt, a can of peas between her hands. She looks at me and yells, “NO!” And runs away laughing. This is our game, a language of play we can both understand.
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