“The journey? What journey?”
Yochi spoke to his grandfather and then looked back at Sam.
“It is the reason you are here. You are ready to take the journey.” Sensing that Sam was doubtful he put on a serious look. “It is a great honour, what you are being offered.”
Sam acknowledged the trepidation he was feeling but stiffened his spine and bowed to the old man. The old man smiled and reached out his hand. With a quizzical look at Yochi he held out his own hand toward the old man. Yochi nodded.
Taking Sam’s hand in his own the old man leaned forward and peered closely at it. He touched the lines on Sam’s hand and muttered under his breath. At last he let go and spoke to Yochi again.
“My grandfather says you must prepare before we can go on the journey. You will need to go to a temescal for cleansing before we can proceed further. There is one not far from here, in Panajachel. We shall go today.”
“Okay…I guess…um, what’s a temescal?”
Yochi frowned. “I don’t know the word in English. It is a place of purification. Your body must be prepared for the journey. We will go soon.”
Wondering what sort of purification he was supposed to undergo Sam fought the urge to ask more questions. He sensed it would be best to go along with his host’s wishes for the time being. The old man stood up and left the room and Yochi studied Sam for a moment and then told him they should go out to the porch and enjoy the morning.
Settling into a couple of old wooden chairs Yochi favoured Sam with a smile.
“There’s nothing to fear Sam. You will like the temescal, I feel sure of this.”
“Okay Yochi. I like you and I’m going to trust you. You did save my life after all.”
Suppressing a laugh Yochi smiled and leaned back in his chair and took a deep breath. He seemed contented and at ease and Sam decided he should strive for the same. They watched the animals milling about the yard for a while. Sam noticed a large ornamental tree with fruit hanging from it that resembled pears.
“Hey Yochi, what kind of tree is that?”
“Those are cashews?”
“Yes, see the nut at the bottom of the fruit?”
Sam looked closer. “Well I’ll be damned. Cashews. I learned something new today.”
Yochi smiled. “You will learn much more soon Sam. Come, its time to get ready, Grandfather will be prepared now. We go to Panajachel.”
They went inside and the old man was waiting for them. He had prepared a pack for himself and Yochi went to his room and got his own. They headed for the van and Yochi got in the back and let his grandfather ride up front. They set out for Panajachel with Yochi giving directions.
Half and hour later they arrived at a beautiful lake front resort. The scenery was breathtaking. Sam drove down a winding dirt road to a property near the lakefront where a stone igloo-shaped building with a low entrance sat. The grandfather got out and went to speak to a man in a nearby building. He came back a few minutes later and spoke with Yochi.
“Grandfather says we go now into the temescal. We must take off our clothes before we enter.”
Sam’s eyes went wide and Yochi laughed. “We will do much sweating. It is best to be naked.”
The old man was smiling at Sam as he disrobed. Yochi followed suit. Sam shrugged and took his clothes off. What the hell, he was going on an adventure.
Part 6 Tomorrow