But on August 25 1989 Surfer and I rolled into town, presented ourselves at the Mistral and were soon embroiled in a marathon drinking session with James Stewart — a retired engineer from Dundee and a true Scottish gent — and the nephew of Guatemala's most famous living ex-dictator. (One of Mr R's most memorably oblique contributions to the conversation that evening has now been immortalised as the title of this blog post. ) We then decamped to James's house near the Tanque de la Union, by which time only his parrot was talking any sense.
The next morning I woke up with a la gomota del infierno and the kooky premonition that this place was going to be very important in my life and that I had to return to spend more time here.
But first we had to be ejected from our hotel — ostensibly for all the laughing and babbling that had been going on into the small hours. The manager apologised profusely for our expulsion (she clearly had a soft spot for the pair of us) but there was no appeasing the trenchant American couple in the room next door. She introduced us to her delightful little niece Blanca, who escorted us to a replacement hospedaje around the corner.
Once Surfer had packed himself off back to St Andrew's, I made my way back down to Antigua from Placencia at the end of the following month. And the rest, as they say, is history!