Ordering Fondue in Antigua, Guatemala

Antigua, Guatemala

Antigua, Guatemala

Back in early summer of 2006, my friends Ryan and Lisa were getting married in Antigua, Guatemala. We traveled through and around Guatemala City, San Lucas, Panajachel, Lago de Atitlan, and Antigua on a school bus, and we had enough adventurous, brash, and impertinent people in our group to ensure all kinds of hilarity. After the wedding, I would accomplish a superhuman feat by falling asleep on a chicken bus.

David, one of the groomsmen and a high school tennis teammate, started writing down all of the absurd, profane, or witty remarks worth remembering.

One of my favorite scenes unfolded in Antigua a few days before the wedding. Antigua is a colonial town of stone and stucco buildings with red barrel-tiled roofs, cobbled streets, and peeling paint. A motley mix of locals, gringos, and people from all over the world taking Spanish immersion courses fill these streets in the day, and after we put down our luggage at the “pensione” where we were staying, we rambled all over the city.

Everything is inexpensive, except McDonald’s, so we stopped in a local restaurant for lunch. The bride and groom had eaten there before.

Guatemalan cuisine is much more eclectic than Mexican, and at this particular restaurant, one of the guys ordered the local equivalent of fondue.

He set off a maelstrom of sarcasm.

“Ordering a Swiss entree at a Guatemalan restaurant? Good call.”

“Yeah, I’d really recommend the fish sandwich at Chik-fil-A.”

He stood his ground and ignored the criticism.

When his fondue arrived, Nick stuck a tortilla chip in his queso. When he pulled out his chip, a large, bowl-shaped hunk of cheese came with it.

The cheese wasn’t what you’d call “liquid” or “viscous.”

With perfect comic timing, Aaron delivered his death blow:

“Fondue? More like fon-don’t.”

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