Travel notesIssue 09 | May 2010

How to Lose Ten Pounds in Ten Days or Less

by E.S. Fletcher

If the pants that never lie to you are groaning about your weight, there’s a fast, fail-proof way to make nice. For little more than the price of a plane ticket, you’ll shed some pounds and strengthen core muscles. The patented solution is The Guatemala Diet.

You begin by simply entering the country. Suddenly, your body is besieged by new bacteria that begin battling for dominance in your GI tract like maras feuding for turf on the streets of Guatemala City.

Despite your desire for immediate success, try to hold off the rapid-results phase of the diet until you’re booked into a clean, comfortable room where you won’t mind hunkering down. In the meantime, follow food safety recommendations put out by the Centers for Disease Control: unless you can cook it, boil it or peel it, forget it. Drink bottled water. Avoid ice altogether. Make hand washing your new religion.

Next, eat huevos y frijoles, doctored and disguised in salsa or queso, but still huevos y frijoles until eating becomes the biggest chore of your day. You’ll stop eating for pleasure. Instead you’ll put food in your mouth because you know your body needs sustenance in the thinned air. You can’t keep walking in circles on cobblestone streets or hauling your backpack each dusty kilometer to the next posada without additional calories.

If your pants still complain, it’s time to grow daring. Buy orange slices with chili powder from the fruit vendor on the corner who wipes her sticky sweet hands on her huipil blouse. Patronize the restaurant whose sign boasts serving cak’ik, the local turkey stew, alongside sushi. Drink mosh from the vendor set up next to the canary yellow church, ready for customers since the dawn Mass. If she ladles the sweet milky drink into a Styrofoam cup and not even a hint of steam escapes, that’s a good sign.

Remarkable progress is right around the corner when you start to grow cold even though it’s 26° Celsius and humid. You suddenly feel seasick standing on dry land. You try to ignore it, tough it out, be brave. You use every mind-over-matter trick you’ve ever learned until the only thing you can do is run to clutch the toilet while your body contorts with set after set of abdominal crunches.

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About the author

E.S. Fletcher has been carrying on a torrid love affair with Guatemala for five years. She recently cheated on her beloved by visiting Panama, and she plans to cheat again by visiting Paris in the springtime. She will return to Guatemala, contrite, later this year. Despite her two-timing ways, E.S. is completing a book-length love letter to Guatemala. She earned her MFA in Writing at Hamline University in 2007.

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Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

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