It's 2 in the morning and I'm in the back of Mister Toad's Wild Taxi in the pouring rain, racing through the unlit, slick streets on the outskirts of a forgotten Guatemalan village, balancing a cup of street hooch between my knees while eating the local version of a very hard-shell street taco with a side of pickled cabbage. The driver is steering with his knee while flipping through photos on his iPhone, talking about his three-pony horse ranch and how taxi driving is just a part time job. "Miras," he says in the thick Mayan Spanish accent that's typical of the local dialect. "Miras, mis caballos!" He turns and hands me his iPhone just as the rear bumper of his rusted-out, seat-belt-deprived death mobile tags the guardrail of a 1,000 foot cliff. I took a long pulled from the large styrofoam cup of 190 proof hooch. I looked at the photo on the iPhone: it was a pair of horses in full mount, copulating like rabbits. "No tienes tres caballos," I said in my thick Southern California Spanish dialect. "Tienes quatro!" The taxi slid sideways around a curve as the driver laughed hysterically. I didn't want the last thing I saw in life to be a pair of copulating horses.
Earlier that day, I found it. Eureka. A micro lot of coffee from a Mayan-run finca in the hills west of Coban. Chicoj Numero 10. Now, my formidable task was to get 500 kilos of green, organically grown, incredible tasting coffee from the north-central rain forest, to the Port of La Aurora, on to a cargo ship heading north. I took a bite of my very hard shell street taco and washed it down with 190-proof street hooch.
To Be Continued.