Almost on the dot of June 1st the rainy season has arrived in Panajachel. And one sure sign is that Guatemala’s weather site has gone all “stiff upper lipped” and is posting the same (inaccurate) pictographic forecast as last year. Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH) is a serious institute that also monitors volcanic eruptions and earthquake activity. It is inconceivable this weather service clones a sunny morning, a cloudy afternoon, and a rainy night and does not bother with forecasting any mañanas.
Meanwhile, NOAA is flashing a low 30% chance of hurricane – but this is an orange hatched weather bubble about three times the size of Guatemala and it is stalled between here, Hispaniola and Jamaica. So far, the system is disorganized but this bubble appears bigger than any that I saw all of last season. Thankfully, this storm is slow moving, for now.
Unlike the faux-cheery INSIVUMEH, NOAA references the current flooding, el Nino, and all but assures us of a very exciting season.
I have been at Chez Gringo since November and this is the first real storm I have experienced. The change of season is nice and the grown environment responds by being miraculous. The gardens are meticulously maintained with cobbled walkways canted like a pinball machine. The place seems designed to expedite citrus fruits and avocados from above to the lowest level where they can be scoped up by the landlady’s front door. The water is creatively drained from level to level and the effect is lush. I sit on my balcony and the rain does a slick Salsa on the corrugated awning; across the lake, the volcanoes first played peek-a-boo and, now, have a blanket over their heads. The clouds blow up our valley from the lake and slow down to caress tiered fields. When they slide apart, the waterfall appears to be gushing wide brown ribbons. The sevral falls are drooping like pulled caramel – discharging muddy streams from further upland. Sometimes a cloud will hang on to a hilltop just to fill the troughs and crannies.
Weather is always big news here at “Lake Woe-be-gone.” It is trumped only by bloodshed and there have been some revolting developments up in Peten — more than 27 people were brutally hacked by a displaced group of Mexican narco trafficantes. I heard they closed the park at Tikal.
Closer to home, there have been stirrings at the Muni. Someone over there put out a pamphlet and had it translated into English. This three page tabloid told you everything you ever wanted to know about why the vigilantes wear face masks (It really is so that the bad guys won’t see them and go rob their houses.) About what happened at the “NIHGT CLUB.” Yes, it was just as we had heard the bad guy was dunked in the black water and trotted to Solola, then, released but he is now back and the pamphlet called him “H—-K—. “ The Muni bulletin did include a handy place to donate money to support your local vigilante and that would be down at the Muni. Somehow, I think it is more politic to take them their coffee and donuts in person.
The rain has stopped and the landlord is out pacing around to see how his new flood control engineering is working.