The greenhouse thing is not mere capriciousness, though. I have visited several in Guatemala--garden and plant shops are ubiquitous, to say the least--and I had finally settled on that one because it was lovely, set in the midst of a forested land, it had great plants and cheap prices, and they accepted my USA debit card. The latter is sort of a requirement, as I hate to go around with wads of cash.
So my son returned to the US yesterday and the search for a new greenhouse begins today. I am also quoting prices for new linens, trying to get the whole place painted all over again, etc. It does get busy. And providers here are quite inefficient and slow, so that doesn't help.
The picture above is of Don Valerio, our gardener and in-house tyrant. Most people who meet him believe he is a sweetheart and are further moved by the fact that he has a twisted leg and some scoliosis of the spine. He smiles a lot and has a warm manner.
Until he is crossed; at which point, he'll start stomping his (good) foot, waving his arms aggressively, and yelling and spitting out all sorts of profanity. And I do mean Profanity, with a capital P. If he were on TV, it would be all one long beep.
The man has a green thumb equaled by none (none!) and he has made a barren little garden flourish lushly more than once--I guess all his physical ailments cause him lots of pain, as well, which may account for the catankerous mood--but the fact is that I would trade Don Valerio for nobody.
So the green roof project is on the go again. Under Don V's direction. It will be all potted plants, since preparing the roof for this old building for soil and water would be financially untenable and probably inefficient. In my dreams ...
... the green-roof-to-be will look like the picture immediately above.
Hence, this week I must come up with a new plant shop, quotes for hotel linens, bookkeeping, and going to the (in)famous police archives from the years of the dirty wars, which were recently opened to the public, previous an interview and screening, it seems. It will definitely be interesting.
The latter have police records dating back to 1880 and of many of the more than 20,000 disappeared during the years of the civil wars. The archive, with its reams of incriminating information, is protected by a court order and aided by human rights organizations.
I was inspired with the idea of going there thanks to Dr. L. Garland, a young historian who teaches at NYU and stayed with us last week. Her idea of having a good time was to make the trip to the archives. We went out for beers later on and she was telling us the whole story.
I swear, through this business, you meet the most interesting people.
By the way, some people are starting to get the impression that I go out often with guests to have beers. It's more like, well, we're going out to have beers, the guest was also going out to have a beer and next thing you know, we're all going out to have a beer.
Anyhow. We went with young Dr. Garland and some other friends to El Establo Bar, owned by Holgar the Swede, who has what is probably the best collection of classic rock LPs and CDs this side of the border. He is called Holgar the Swede because he is from Sweden, you know. In case you were wondering.
A photo of this really cool bar is right below. The man and his place are a Guatemalan institution. When I started going to bars ... back in the day ... in Guatemala, it was always to El Establo, and we were usually the youngest people at the place. I tended to prefer going to places like El Establo and O.K. Corral than to dance clubs. Though I did plenty of the latter too.
Because a nerd cannot live only from books, you know.
Not a very wholesome adolescence, all the books you can read (my mother believed in allowing me to read anything, so I was reading books like Lolita, You're Ok I'm Ok, and Story of O when I was like 13!). Top it all with these bars full of all sorts of characters when I was around 14 years of age, and you do get quite a good book and music education, I'll say that.
As for the police archives, I am endlessly curious and love digging through old stuff, so decided that I must make a trip to the place. I'll let you know how that ended up! Before I part, I will post below one of the views from our roof. See why I want a garden up there?
Hotel - Lofts - Parking
In the Historic Center of Guatemala
In the Historic Center of Guatemala