RW Guatemala: Meeting Felisha the Flamingo

Paul Veiga, Class of 2019

Paul Veiga, Class of 2019

¿Por qué el gallo cruzó la carretera?

Stepping out of the airport in Guatemala City, we were intrigued when we saw an interesting looking man holding a Chicago Booth sign. Juan Galich, or Juancho as he preferred, strode towards us in his flip flops and capri jeans, long hair flowing in the light breeze. Little did we know that our tour guide would soon prove himself also a local celebrity, live performer, and renowned hot sauce maker. Juancho’s cousin, Fernando aka El Mono, also accompanied us and the energy Juancho and Fernando brought was contagious! We are eternally grateful for their presence.

Group picture at Tikal National Park

Group picture at Tikal National Park

We spent our first full day in the Tikal National Park outside of Flores, an archaeological dream world filled with ancient Mayan ruins, temples, and fun little animals called coatis. Normally a place of reflection, where one could stare out into the jungle as far as the eye could see, we were surprised by one group in particular. We stared as they circled around an individual gazing up at the sky with a Darth Vader looking mask. Was this some type of ritual? An ancient custom perhaps? No, we quickly learned, just a good spot for a quick glimpse of a solar eclipse.

The adventures continued as we journeyed to Antigua to spend time at the Pacaya National Park, an active volcano. After a few hours of hiking we took a break to become one with nature. Some danced in the rain like niños and a few toasted marshmallows over the natural hot steam. The day ended at the hot springs of Santa Teresita, where an hour of pool volleyball served as a warning for the level of competition to be expected at Fall Frolics.

Though we started off the trip with fifteen members, a sixteenth was introduced prior to our “I’m on a boat” themed evening in Antigua. Felisha, an inflatable flamingo pool float, came with us everywhere for the rest of the trip, from dinner to the club. In fact, we all got along so well, that Felisha will likely make an appearance at a Booth event later this year.

Felisha the Flamingo - RW Guatemala participant #16

Felisha the Flamingo - RW Guatemala participant #16

The last portion of the trip was spent on the beautiful Lake Atitlan, where relaxation reached its pinnacle. The landscapes and activities I’ve described were amazing. But what made this random walk truly unforgettable, like all others I assume, is the downtime spent together. Telling stories of when public transportation went awry, doing the crab walk down a mountain, and listing out facts about bananas late into the evening. These are the memories that will withstand time.

Tina, Jessie, Misha, and Alex – thank you for everything.