Crazy Adventures, Guatemala

A Volcano Erupted and Our House is Flooded

It’s been raining for three days straight now.  And when I say that it’s been raining, I mean pouring so hard that some people’s houses are now underwater.

I’m lucky that I live at the top of a hill, because our apartment has managed to escape most of the damage.  But even so, our living room and kitchen both have a pool of water ankle-deep.  And as I type this from the comfort of my (mostly) dry bedroom, I can see water trickling down the wall from the tiny holes in the ceiling.

The city I’m living in (Xela) is high in the mountains so it can be pretty cold, especially at night.  That’s not exactly the sort of weather you want to be sitting around soaking wet, which is what a lot of people are doing at the moment.  Our landlord called this morning to tell my roommates and I that they’ve shut all the roads leading into Xela and that they might be closed until Thursday.

As soon as we heard that, we headed straight to the only supermarket still open (most everything in this city is closed due to the rain).  But apparently we were too late.  It was jam-packed full of people whom I guess had the same thought that we did:  “Better stock up on supplies now while the supermarket still has them”  Because with the roads closed, there’s no way to get food into the city.

All the fruit and bread had sold-out already, but I managed get my hands on a bruised onion and two withered cucumbers.  That and a can of tomato sauce, a few packets of soup, some pancake mix and a bag of chips was about all I could find. The store had been cleaned out.  Luckily though, I already had half a loaf of bread and a half a jar of peanut butter at home.  That should be able to tide me over for the next few days.

Although the fact that I have bread and the other roommates don’t, has made me somewhat of a hot commodity in our house.  Already I’ve been offered some jam, an orange, a pancake and two dollars in exchange for a slice or two.  I might wait a few days to sell my bread, because if the stores continue to stay closed, then my bread could be worth quite a bit.

While in the supermarket, I ran into a couple of people from my Spanish school who were supposed to be flying back home today but are stuck here because the airport’s been shut down.  Yesterday, a volcano near the capital (the same one I hiked up last month) erupted and now the airport (and the surrounding cities) are covered in volcanic ash.  Ironically, one of those cities most effected is the one that I was living in up until about a week ago (Antigua).

I’ve also heard talk about how the government is going to shut the electricity off for the next three days (starting tonight).  Apparently, the rumor is that the government is trying to restore power to the villages that have been without it and the only way they can do so is by shutting the electricity off country-wide.  I have a hard time believing this is true, but if you don’t hear from me in the next few days, you’ll know why.

I’m not too worried though.  I figure that if I start to run out of food, I can always fry up some of the spiders that live in my ceiling.  And my roommate, who’s a dietician, said that if things get really bad, we can always eat the candles (apparently beeswax is edible).  While getting scurvy would definitely suck, being housebound sans TV, Internet or a working refrigerator, would be a lot worse.

I really hope the power stays on.

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