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Friday, May 05, 2006

Guatemala, Larry King Style

I don't know if it is the heat of this place. Maybe it dries up my brain but for some reason writing these travel stories are getting to be quite the obstacle. Or it may be the slow culture I find myself in. Everything, and I mean everything runs at a much slower rate in Latin America. So, that is the pit of laziness that I have fallen into. And those of you who know me know that the plateau that I fell into this pit from was not all that high either.
So as laborious it is for me to pick up a pen and write of my experiences, I strive to cut these stories short to make them easier for me and easier for you. So I decided to place this as an interview in which an inquistive person asks me about Guatemala. Let's use our imagination and pretend that it is none other than Larry King in his bright red suspenders interviewing me on his beloved Larry King Live show. For those of you who read this and think "Man, this guy must be really bored", I can only comment that "Yes, I am remarkably bored and the below gave me great amusement, you're just jealous that I have so much free time on my hands." (I highlighted Larry's comments in black not to say he's anything like Jesus in the way that we highlight his words, but more or so to divide his questions from my answers).
Larry King: So what was the most curious impression you received while in Guatemala?

Brian Harrison: Why, Larry, none other than San Simon.

LK: Saint Simon? I'm not familiar with him. Please, do tell.
(I really don't know how Larry King actually talks; I don't think I've ever watched a full show of his. But this will have to suffice.)

BH:Yes, of course, you've never heard of him because this particular saint of Guatemala is not legitimately canonized by the Vatican. San Simon is the saint of drunkeness. Worshippers come and place bottles of liquor and cigarrettes as a sacrifice before him. He has other names and he is a mixture of ancient Mayan gods, as well as the spirit of Guatemala's old Spanish conquistador, Alvarado...and get this...he is even claimed to be the very spirit of Judas the Betrayer. The Protestants in that area claim that it is a real evil spirit that has immense power in their village of Zunil. Mayan priests will come and offer sacrifices to it, particularly of a sinister kind. If you want someone dead...the Mayan priest will go on your behalf and perform his ancient rituals to San Simon...and the frightful thing is that the evil wishes are actually fulfilled.

LK: This San Simon, have you seen him? What does he look like? Where does he stay?

BH: Every October 28th, his festival day, he is moved to a different house. The house being the home of a member of a secret society that still holds Mayan pagan beliefs. You can approach San Simon for a small entrance fee, for a little extra you can even take pictures. It's sort of a business for the holders of San Simon to prosper by. Jeremy and I didn't pay the fee. Didn't care to contribute to this evil saint, but we did get a quick view of the saint himself. He sat enthroned in a chair lifeless but erect. Around him scattered on the ground were numerous candles lit. The lights were very dim in this room but you could see plainly and clearly San Simon and he looked no different than an outlaw of the American West. He had a cowboy hat on and had this bandana tied around his neck concealing his mouth and nose just like he was going to rob a train. He was all dressed in black with a pair of polished cowboy boots. My first thoughts were, "So this is where Billy the Kid ran off to." Standing before him, I thought I should bow my legs while squinting and tell him to meet me at sundown. Without paying anything we couldn't stare at him too long, so we walked out and sat down both contemplating about the whole thing and concluded that was one of the weirdest things both of us had ever seen.

LK: Well then, I'll make a point to see San Simon the next time I'm passing through the Guatemalan Highlands. What would you say was the most thrilling point of your visit?

BH: It would have to be the time I almost fell off my horse riding back from this mountain that we rode up. The horses wanted to get back to their stables. So with little encouragement the horses bolted down the mountain. Now to be honest, I love it when a horse gallops. I love that particular feel of the wind that I think can only be found on a galloping horse. I love that majestic power that is an innate characteristic of a horse and I love when there is something wild and fierce when a horse gallops that you suddenly become part of. But what I don't like is when a horse is running full speed on pavement. You could hear the "clip-clop" echo and ring down the path. For some reason my white horse had to be an absurd amount of distance ahead. And for a still stranger reason, I was very light especially with the increasing bounce of the back of the horse, I went higher and higher. At times pulling on the reigns didn't help. My legs, no matter which way I held them in the stirrup, could not position me from bouncing. Luckily the horse had long mane hair for when I was on the brink of a pain-filled nose-dive, dropping his reigns, I would grab this hunk of hair to keep myself balanced from toppling to the asphalt below. This happened 3 or 4 times and one of those times we were galloping thru this village and there was a split in the road. Each side had a clear path but I wanted to go one way, but the horse wanted to go the other way. Because of this disagreement on directions, both the horse and I were heading straight for the middle of the two paths where stood a building made out of pure concrete. Through wincing eyes, I gave into the horse's insistent selection on which way to take and we brushed by one bruising, tooth-losing incident by almost, literally, a horse's hair. This whole ordeal was witnessed by several Guatemalan villagers who probably thought the spectacle was the most entertaining event since last harvest time's cock fight. I heard laughter break out everywhere behind me. I think even their roosters were crowing in amusement.

LK:If there was a point in these travels where you were struck by the fact that you were doing exactly what you were doing and wished someone back home who wasn't doing what you were doing could only see you doing that exact thing that you were doing, what would that thing you would be doing be?

BH: Ummm.....when I was learning how to salsa dance, or maybe swimming in a huge lake that had 3 volcanoes around it. I think that would be the answer to your question.

LK: Were there many interesting people that you met?

BH: Oh tons of them. There was Santiago, this christian from a small village who had recorded his own christian album with songs that he himself had written. There was this insane American old man that claimed that George W. Bush was involved in drug-trafficking down in Mexico. There was this group that we met on a bus and that we would hang out with alot. It was made up of this girl from Scotland, Kurstie. This other girl from Bermuda. This guy from California. And these two guys from Israel. There were Isrealis everywhere. There was this Methodist missionary lady from the states. This list goes on and on. You meet so many different people when traveling.

LK: What would you say if I was to tell you that I don't have any pants on?

BH: W..what does that have to do with anything?

LK: Well, I always sit here behind this desk. No one ever knows. The camera angle never captures anything below my waist. I just wonder what you were to say if I told you that I don't have any pants on?

BH: You're a sick old man! I'm finished with this interview.
(rustling of microphone. I get up and walk out.)



Anonymous j-dog said...

That's interesting because I once did a phone interview in my underwear. I won't tell you the name of the company, but suffice it to say that I didn't get the job.

11:18 AM  
Blogger Brian Harrison said...

Well you certainly didn't inform the interviewee that you were in your underwear, or did you? If so...then my hats off to you.

6:43 PM  
Blogger Rizzle said...

I'm in my underwear.

11:19 AM  

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