Although the Hotel Leddie in Livingston Guatemala is not the Ritz.

Angela of Livingston – Part 3

Although the Hotel Leddie in Livingston Guatemala is not the Ritz, it’s more than comfortable, offering modestly priced accommodation to budget conscious families as well as backpackers and wandering couples.

The Hotel Leddie in Livingston Guatemala Rooms are set around a funky garden patio, featuring a lot of whimsy making up for a general absence of luxury.  For example there is: a fuchsia birdbath in lieu of flowing fountain; a map of the Rio Dulce painted on the slightly buckled garden wall instead of a real and high-end view of the beach or nearby river; bougainvillea and birds of paradise flowers prevail.  

The jewel in the crown is Angela, the mocha Venus who runs from pillar to post all day, taking out the garbage, making beds, clearing dishes and stealing the hearts of all men who lay eyes on her.  Her father walks her home every night after work.  Exactly.

In our last chapter, our heroine had locked Hotel Leddie keys in the bathroom off the central patio.  The 40-degree heat before noon has heightened her color and brought a light mustache of moisture over her upper lip and put a sheen on her long neck where damp curls are flowering at the nape.

Veronica of New Port Road Island has just walked past the vacant front desk and into the patio looking for someone who can rent a room to her and John, boyfriend and Rio Dulce sailing companion. He calls her Ronnie, which she dislikes but hasn’t protested yet.  At the sight of Angela, Veronica is acutely reminded that her long blond hair has taken on a greasy pumpkin color given the halting shower facilities on the two-man sloop. Veronica is a woman of quality and so feels mint-colored envy rather than the black jealousy a lesser female might take up at first glimpse of Angela.

John is back at the dock having found a berth for The Back Talk, his sprightly and beloved Topper Hermanson 34.   He hasn’t walked two paces away from her when he’s approached by local Garifuna tour guide, Daniel.  Daniel has a Rasta hat and dreads and the demeanor and language cadences more typical of the Caribbean islands than Guatemala. There are many of his ancestry here.  Garifuna are descended from slaves who long ago escaped their French, Dutch and English masters.

John is getting a quick overview of local points of interest and a Cliff Note insight into life in Livingston Guatemala. Daniel agrees to meet him in the morning for a tour of the town and general environs. John senses that Daniel is an old soul, though likely still in his early 40s.  There’s a depth to this man, John is certain.  ”Ya mahn. I see you den,” Daniel lilts in good-bye.  They shake hands and John starts to make his way up the surprising hill grade that climaxes at the top of the main street, location of the Hotel Leddie.

“Do you have a room for two for a couple of nights?” Veronica is asking, setting down her Louis Vuitton duffle bag.  Angela doesn’t speak English but understands what’s being asked.  ”Si pero …”

She’s having trouble conveying that all the keys are in a very safe place though not currently available. Cellini, one of the backpacker guests explains. “Like, the keys are like all locked in the bathroom,” he offers scratching his Celtic-themed temple tattoo.  

John trails in, saturated in sweat from dragging himself and his pack up the Lausanne-scale hill. He’s looking for Veronica and hoping that a comfortable room with a real shower is in his immediate future.  Finding no on at the front desk he penetrates the dark hallway to the brighter light.

He takes in the scene:  a charming higgle of a patio; abandoned cleaning gear in a gyre around a very attractive but distraught young woman; and Veronica standing on a chair, half of her lean trunk inside a small window, her saddle-hard butt perpendicular to the whole confounding process.

“Ronnie?”

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