Guatemala City's airport baked in the morning sun as we clamored aboard a doorless, ancient, twin-engined airplane for a flight to Tikal, in the northern rain forest not far from Belize.
Natives of all kinds also got aboard, some of them carrying chickens in flimsy crates, others leading small goats by ropes tied around their necks.
The six of us in our group of journalists tried to find seats together. Father Elmo Romagoso of New Orleans, one of two Catholic priests in the group, motioned me to a seat and I sat down on it; notice I wrote sat down on it, not sat in it. That's because there wasn't much to the seat. Just a flimsy, well-worn place to park my butt for the flight. After I sat, I noticed a woman struggling to get aboard. I got up and went over to help her. When I returned to "my" seat, there was a goat in it, his owned seated next to it.
"Uh, your goat is in my seat," I said.
I got a blank look and a shrug from the goat's owner.
I found another seat.