Originally published in Santa Cruz Waves Magazine.
Maybe I should bring a gun. The thought crashed through my mind without warning, dropping uncomfortably into the pit of my stomach. I glanced at my blue backpack and the fake yellow daisy tied to its strap. The idea of packing a gun into it, or more importantly, pulling a gun out of it, seemed ludicrous.
Since the swell was forecast to be meager for another week, I decided to head to Guatemala for something different. Though there is surf in Guatemala, I hadn’t heard about any standout waves. I had, however, heard about volcanoes, colonial towns, mountain lakes, and Mayan ruins. Excited to do some hiking and let my poor ravaged lips heal from all that time in the water and sun, I set off. Casey dropped me off at a bus stop outside of El Tunco, and I proceeded to wait. With a long trip ahead of me, I knew I needed something to eat, and the only food in sight was a roadside stand selling tortas, or sandwiches for $1. The vendor told me that the meat was res, or beef, but as she pulled a mottled gray strip of meat off of a stack, I had serious concerns that it might come with a side of diarrhea. Lacking other options, I choked it down, and surprisingly, I survived. Ultimately, it was a tuna sandwich that set me off.