Happiness is our natural state. Happiness is the natural state of little children, to whom the kingdom belongs until they have been polluted and contaminated by the stupidity of society and culture. To acquire happiness you don’t have to do anything, because happiness cannot be acquired. Does anybody know why? Because we have it already. How can you acquire what you already have? Then why don’t you experience it? Because you’ve got to drop something. You’ve got to drop illusions. You don’t have to add anything in order to be happy; you’ve got to drop something De Mello Anthony

A new cat came in sight. A red one, I do not pay attention to the rest. I do not know why I pay special attention just to red cats, it’s hard to say. Maybe, because my grandfather was a redhead and I got a reddish beard from him? But, truly, he wasn’t quite a readhead, but my grandmother would call him that way. My grandfather also was like Snufkin, so to speak. He was rarely at home, but, in contrast to me, almost all his life he would move in a circle with a radius of not more than five miles. He knew its every corner, he would say that it was the whole universe. Although he passed away not such a long time ago, I do not remember the timbre of his voice. I wish I had talked to him more, when there still was time for that. Where has this redhead gone again! – my grandmother’s cry reverberated from above the cooking pots – Go, look for him and call him for dinner! So I ran into the woods to look for my grandfather, and didn’t come back until evening.

But I was supposed to be talking about cuddling! So, I met a new red-haired cat. Just in case, I was not too nice to him, hugged him just a little and not with such an affection as the previous one, because I could have tamed this one, too (as the Little Prince did with his rose) and I would only cause more trouble, though probably of different sorts, because it was a male cat.

I met a cat on my birthday, in a Salvadoran village called Mizapa, in a house of Vega family, whose one member invited me to dinner that night, fed, watered and sang Colombian songs of Oscar Agudelo. Frankly speaking, there was just one song, sung over and over again, a Colombian hit, La cama vacía.

Salvadorians were supposed to cut off my head, rape me, rob me, gut me, and in the best case – just to give gringo a decent thud, lest it occurred to him that he couldn’t ride so carelessly and freely, in his tight clothes, with a stupid smile and a red beard, on a far too conspicuous bike.

These warnings gave me people in Guatemala. In contrast, I heard similar stories in Mexico – but they were about Guatemalans and their sublime methods of tormenting gringos. We are good people, Mexicans would say, but when you get to Guatemala, no longer will you be able to ride your bike so carelessly, and to put up your tent wherever you meet the night.

The first impression after crossing the border between Mexico and Guatemala – there was more of everything: people, smells, fruits, comedores – roadside restaurants, but also there was far more noise and traffic on the road, holes in the asphalt, garbage. I liked the notes and the original name of the currency – Quetzal, attributed to the name of bird of paradise, which in the pre-Columbian mythology was a symbol of freedom and beauty.

The first night in Guatemala I spend in the yard of pastor Vilar, who, without batting an eyelid on my question, Do you know any good, safe place for camping?, responded: I’m inviting you to my house, the whole family will be delighted. A nice evening ended only when my knackered body almost fell out of the plastic chairs under the table. The next few days looked nearly the same. Such warmth, hospitality and willingness to help I haven’t experienced for a long time.

Andrzej Bobkowski, a Polish writer, spent his last days In Guatemala. This time I could not, or maybe I just did not want to look for traces left by him. I went to trace my own path.


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