Quick, name the best dancer you know. If Brendan, my name, hasn’t popped up into your head, then you’re crazy. I know how to cut a rug and then knit it back together again. I know how to shake a leg and then skimmy. I’m the real Jimmy. Oh, you don’t know my name? What? You haven’t seen my moves. You don’t know my skills? I have around 129 views on my dance video (On Youtube).
Sometimes my life can be a little like my dance moves. I’ll be having fun, the toast of the party, feeling great, and then suddenly a migraine will twirl in and nock me out. It seems like at every dance party there is a jealous dancer who tries to outdo me, my migraines always try to do the same. They are aguafiestas (Spanish for party poopers). The aguafiestas I suffer from are Abdominal Migraines. They’re rare, but they do exist.
Before I spin my gruesome tale of migraines, let’s grind our way through all of the fun that was had celebrating Stephanie and Fernando’s joint bachelor parties at the lake. Lake Atitlan is about two hours away from Xela, but that’s as the bird flies. As the car drives it takes much, much longer. Especially with all of the tumulos (Guatemalan for speed bump, which in Spanish actually refer to the bumps made by burial mounds). As we drove through the first town off of the Pan-American Highway, located just off of km 148, Fernando’s car scraped bottom. The little town of San Marcos or Filepe or Lucas or Mateo (or whatever and I’m not sure how it got sainted) has more speed bumps than miracles. Anyway, Fernando’s car is a small red Nissan and didn’t have the clearance to climb over these pesky paved speed reducers. Especially not with five people in the car. Every 100 feet or so we were forced to evacuate the car in order for Fernando to ease the Nissan over the sizable bump.
A three-toed sloth would’ve moved quicker. We’d start to pick up speed, a blazing 10 miles an hour, and a tumulo would halt us in our way. So, we’d exit the car as the town’s people stared. I guess they’d never seen gringos (In Guatemala) practicing the Chinese fire-drill before. After the 5th speed bump in no less than 25 yards we decided to tell Fernando to drive ahead, leaving us to dance through the cold town. We passed a church gathering, whose people seemed to be more interested in our dilemma than praying, and several cows who mooed empathetically, knowing what it’s like to walk over all the speed bumps. The horses and chickens weren’t quite as friendly. They taunted us with their neighing and clucking. I was glad to climb back into the safety of that warm Nissan after we’d danced all the way through that little town.
Fortunately dancing through San Juan de los tumulos didn’t bring on a migraine. Neither did driving down a steep set of switchbacks with near 1,000 foot cliffs on either side of the road. Halfway down to the lake we had to stop, not for a speed bump, but to cool the brakes off. If we’d gone any farther the car might have ended under one of the many burial mounds we’d driven over along the way. As Fernando dumped a gallon or so of water onto the hot tires we danced around like guerrillas in the mist. I do a great guerrilla dance. Trust me.
If only the fun had continued into the next day. Unfortunately, like those fighting guerrillas, the migraine sprung on me like a leaping ballerina by late afternoon the next day. (If you don’t think ballerina’s are fierce just go watch Black Swan. That movie was disturbing.) Anyway, just like Natalie Portman’s character spun from good to bad so did my trip.
After a relaxing morning in San Pedro, we decided it was time to make our way back to Xela. Fernando and Stephanie were going to Antigua, so we didn’t have access to the car. We figured we’d take a chicken buss, sadly the busses stopped running at 11 a.m. and it was now 3. Our only option was the pay a guy to drive us all the way up to the highway in the back of his truck. All 11 of us (some had not been as fortunate to sloth through San Juan in the Nissan) jumped in the back of a beat up pick up and we putted off. It was already crowded and we had a long assent ahead of us, so we only stopped to pick up a few Guatemalans who only wanted a ride to the next town.
Pueblita after Pueblita we subired. The old truck climbed smoothly until we stalled out in a little town and were forced to watch a parade of tuc tucs. It was terrible, those slow tucs took tons of time to trek through town, but it didn’t give me a migraine. The migraine sprung after the truck stalled on a steep incline. I had been enjoying a magnificent view of the lake when we passed by our fifth hairpin turn and the truck stopped. We leapt from the truck like graceful guerrillas (ok the girls were just graceful). With the lighter load the truck roared to life and sped up the hill. I can run for miles, but dead sprints really kill me, especially when they are straight up hill. 30 yards in I knew I was done. Several of my friends gracefully leapt back into the truck bed, but I couldn’t do it. As I walked up to where the truck was waiting for me my heart danced madly in my chest (A typical indicator that an unwanted dancing partner was about to force its way next to me). 30 minutes later as we bounced through San Juan de los Tumulos I tossed my lunch out the back of the pick up. The migraine had set in.
I made it home with out throwing up again and I can say my weekend was a lot of fun, even though it ended with a migraine, which spun my weekend a direction I didn’t want it to go. I would have rather written a story about how great of a dancer I am, but I guess you’ll know now that, even though I am an extremely talented dancer, I suffer from migraines. I am human! All kidding aside, I might not be the first person you think of when it comes to dancing, but I guess that doesn’t matter. Life’s a dance and I’m going to keep on grooving, even if a migraine leaps in my way and splashes water all over the party.