Dear Guatemala Airport Personnel,
There's a gaping hole in the wall behind the check-in counter. You may have missed it. And it may very well be that I am a spoiled American but I could not help but notice since I am accustomed to being inside when I am inside. Perhaps this is simply not your way, Guatemalan Airport Personnel. Although you looked pretty cold too, as you took my passport and breathed on your hands to thaw them so that you could type something into the computer. You, with your cute little scarf and your visible puffs of breath.
But maybe this shouldn't bother me (I am perhaps overly sensitive about many things - like nine-year-olds selling pineapples on the median separating six lanes of heavy traffic, for example) but, Guatemalan Airport Personnel...the carry-on bag checks? And the random carry-on bag checks? And lastly the check of every carry-on bag as it heads onto the actual aircraft, rendering the results of the previous two bag checks pointless? Oh, and also you took away my coffee.
I have some sympathy, however, because I suspect that this alarming excess of security is simply a result of the following thought process: What if she's trying to smuggle several greasy boxes of hot and delicious Pollo Campero fried chicken onto the plane and we somehow missed it the first two times we looked through her bag? What if someone threw them to her through the giant, gaping hole in the airport after she passed the security checkpoint? What a disaster that would be, as we are very hungry from trying to preserve our body heat with only these tiny white gloves.
Dear Miami Airport,
I'm not coming back until you at least get a damn TGIFridays.
I mean it.
Dear 4-year-old nephew Pedro,
Even if you lean very close to my ear and speak very loudly, I still do not understand Spanish. But you're very cute. I really liked that time we played Superman vs. a Fork at breakfast. But, you know, you don't have to play every game over and over until other people want to stick the fork in their ear and die. I'm just saying. Maybe if I say it LOUDER LIKE THIS.
God, you are so cute, though.
Dear Guatemalan Toilets,
Ummmm...I understand about the old ceramic pipes with the rough edges and everything? But as far as I'm concerned, it is your job to take toilet paper and cause it to go away. None of this "wastepaper baskets in every stall" business. No nothing with it other than flushing. We won't even talk about the other, even more important parts of your job that you're not always so reliable about.
Dear Raphael's Mom's Toilet,
And you! The high-pitched screechey noise you issue every time you are flushed, causing everyone within earshot to yell in Spanish, "The plane's taking off!"? No! No!
Dear Goat Man,
How cool is your job? Walking your little herd of muzzled goats around the neighborhood, squeezing fresh milk for those (like Raphael's mom) who like their morning cup of warm goat milk. And you even have an assistant to carry around the stack of styrofoam cups for you! Your job is way cooler than mine...or at least involves a whole lot more goats - and that's good enough for me.
Dear Guy Carrying Crates of Hundreds of Unprotected Eggs in the Back of a Pick-up Truck in Guatemala City Traffic,
You are the brave man I strive to be. God go with you, Egg Man. God go with you and your gentle huevos.
Dear Pollo Jocon,
You are my favorite Guatemalan dish - except for Raphael's sister Carolina, who is also quite a dish and who made you for us one night. You, with your pollo and your saucy green deliciousness, are the home-iest of foods, and I would eat you every night if Carolina lived with me. Someday maybe I will kidnap her and you will be mine forever.