I am not superstitious, but maybe I jinxed things when I was driving up the very steep and winding road from San Pedro la Laguna, and thinking that it was pretty miraculous that I hadn't had any car trouble in the last two weeks, not even a flat tire (my friend Jose Luis had a flat when he brought me the car but the car had been sitting in a garage for a while and who knows how long it had been flat). I made it up that road with no problems -- I had been nearly sleepless the night before with anxiety about that drive, since one very memorable time I had had to leave San Pedro LL at 4:30 in the morning to get to a meeting in Guatemala City and I was stuck behind a couple of buses and trucks, and my car does not do well if I have to come to a full stop on a steep sloping road with a lot of curves and then try to start it up again, or try to accelerate.
I made it to Quiché last night in good time, was able to fit in a meeting with Lolita Chávez, one of the leaders of the movement in Quiché and nationally, and then made it to my friends' home and parked the car. But this morning it wouldn't start. Not even a low growl. I didn't have much time to act. I had to go to Zacualpa this morning to meet with Sr. Ana María at the Catholic parish, to arrange things for a study trip to Guatemala next year. And then I had to somehow get to Santa Eulalia in Huehuetenango, since I was invited to accompany people from the movimiento social here on a trip to the Ixcan, and we are leaving at 2 a.m., AND the last bus to Santa Eulalia leaves Huehuetanango's bus terminal at 4.
So I walked into Chinique (about 2 km.), stopped by my old garage, explained the problem, left the key to the car with Willy, the garage owner, and told him where the car was, then took a bus to Zacualpa, had my meeting, took the bus back (the buses don't run that frequently, about once every half hour, so I needed not to miss one). I stopped in Chinique because I realized that I needed to get things out of the car and Willy had the key. So I got the key back from him, walked the 2 km. back to my friends' home, got what I needed from the car, packed, walked back up the path to wait for the bus to Quiché, just as Willy and one of his assistants drove up. That's the nice thing about a small town -- even two and a half years after I left, I still have a mechanic who knows my car, and who does house calls!
I just had time to tell them who had the key as a bus came down the road (no bus stops, for the most part: you just stand on the road and flag a bus down). Got to Quiché, where I waited for nearly an hour where everyone told me the buses to Huehuetanngo stopped, until finally a moto-taxi driver told me because of the feria patronal, the buses were only stopping at the terminal. So I hopped in and we got to the terminal in time -- the anxiety was because I didn't want to miss the last bus to Santa; that would have made the whole trip in vain. I had made a reservation on the 4:00 bus from Huehue to Santa, but as my bus from Quiché pulled in to the terminal, the 3:30 bus was getting ready to leave and there was space so I gave my suitcase to the assistant and asked if I had time to buy some water. He said yes, so I went to a stand right behind the bus... and then as I was about to pay I saw the bus pull off.. with my suitcase on it and without me. I ran like mad (I think I may have forgotten to pay the vendor for the water), and since the bus was going pretty slow (it was still in the parking lot that is called a bus terminal) I was able to grab it and jump on.
Enough drama for one day. Now to get a few hours' sleep before a LONG ride to Ixcán.