My people are coastal people. They are from the Caribbean side of Guatemala, out by Puerto Barrios, so close to the border with Belize that the saunter is equally slow and unyielding. I tell people in Antigua I was born by the coast because I identify with the blanket of heat, sun and salty air that makes coastal people a little more extroverted, easy going and more open like the flip-flops they wear to embrace the elements.
Today we headed south to Monterrico, where the ocean floor drops off very steeply after only 20- 40 feet, and the endless stretch of black volcanic beach is like moon rock that causes your feet to melt with the heat. The sun blared, the Pacific swelled and the shade was the crook in your arm as you lay your head on your towel. Raw and intense and in many ways it also reminded me of Key West and that 7-mile bridge that lifts you up above water and suddenly plops you back into small stretches of land and marsh. We lasted about an hour and then headed over to Johnny’s for cold batidos, fish tacos and ceviche and watched the ATVs speed by with four or five people sprawled over every inch of it. As the sun set we made our way back drinking a chilled coconut, driving through numerous fires from garbage being burned, car accidents, flares and finally pitch darkness where the outline of Pacaya was a reminder that we were headed inland again.