Monday, March 30, 2009

¿What is there to do in Quetzaltenango?

I have been in Quetzaltenango (Xela) for over a week and had some pretty crazy adventures. What is there to do in Xela you may ask. It is a mighty good question. I´ll give you a glimps into life over the last week.
We eat dinner with our family. They are so awesome!!

I go to school every day. Always a good experience, except if you are not loving your teacher. Then it is a fine experience, but not a wonderful experience.

I got a new teacher this week.

I study. Everyday Sasha and I head to some cafe and utilize their table for hours, paying only $0.75 for a coke...and one time $2.00 for the best cake ever!! (notice, this is Sasha studying, not me...but I study too)

We go to McDonalds, because why not??

We´ve gone to a local bakery run by menanites. It is only open Tuesdays and Fridays, and it is AWESOME!!

This week we went to the hot springs. They were awesome. But a bit hot. Check out the guys face behind me. Sasha had perfect timing.

We participated in turn off your lights hour with our family, and played Scrabble in Spanish by candle light. I was a dream come true!!

I have also gone to yoga, the coolest cafe ever, been attacked for my purse, been to the local market where I had my wallet stolen with my ATM card (yes boston roommates, I am ready to laugh about it now), and gone to a movie.
I am stoked for next week.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Tribute

After a long bumpy and grumpy ride, Sasha and I finally made it to Quetzaltenango (Xela). We are planning to stay here and study for four more weeks. The city is beautiful, quaint, lacks too many tourist and has great character. The family we are staying with could not be more perfect.

Being here is fantastic, but I´ve had a bit of a harsh introduction to Xela. When I left the states in January, I had hoped the weather here would be warm. I had hoped that one shirt a day would be sufficient...instead of 5. In San Andres, the temperature was perfect (for me), but I am afraid for the next four weeks I will be wearing my leggings and smartwool socks every day.

Now that I have embarked on a new adventure, I´d like to make a tribute to San Andres, and all the things I will miss (In no particular order).

Games after dinner

Tuk Tuks

Snacks from the nearby tienda

Choco Bananas for $0.15

The neighborhood kids


The wildlife

The random festivities (Hi sasha)

The crazy bus rides (Hello, again Sasha)

The beautiful family we stayed with (not all pictured here)


Friday, March 20, 2009

Semuc Champey 2

This week on our way to Xela for more school, Sasha and I took a detour to Semuc Champey. I had gone three weeks earlier with Todd and had such a good weekend. Since Sasha wanted to see it as well, I was up for round two.

At Semuc we mostly studied. On the first day we took a 3 hour cave which required quite a bit of swimming. It was beautiful, but freezing cold. By the time I got out, I couldnt feel my hands.

On the second day we continued our habit of studying, but we decided to spice it up a bit and study by the pools.



Little fish eating my feet

Swimming in the pools

Worth all 670 Pennies

This whole trip I have missed my fuzzy blanket. On Tuesday I found a new one.

Monday, March 16, 2009

El Mirador

Sasha and I had the most amazing week! We spent 5 days hiking in the jungle to a largly undiscovered Mayan city. It was Sasha, our guide, Adonis, his son, Alan and another guy...I can´t remember his name.

I was a little nervous when the trip started out. We started at 3 am down the bumpy road to Carmelita, the last town before the road ends and the hiking begins. I had been really sick the days before and still had lingering nausea, which made for a fun ride. The truck we road in, would have never passed inspections in any state in the US. It was awesome, except the door clicked opened while we were driving, while sasha was leaning against it. Thankfully it didn´t open all the way.

Finally we reached Carmelita, and we were served breakfast. It was NASTINCA! Sasha swallowed hers down, but I gagged with every bite. I don´t know what it was, but there was no way in hell I was going to finish it, especially with my stomach. I claimed the ¨I´m not hungry¨ card and ate a whole bunch of Werthers candies to rid the taste from my mouth...mmmm werthers


Adonis explaining some of the plants

After hours of walking, we arrived at Tintal, a city close to El Mirador. We relaxed, studied, and slept. That evening we hiking the highest temple to watch the sunset and the moon rise. It was beautiful!

Sasha and Adonis climbing the temple

view from the top of the next largest temple

Alan looking up a word in Spanish for us

Sasha at sunset

The moon
Look how awesome my hair is

A group of new friends

The following morning we woke early and headed to Tikal, after serveral hours of hiking we arrived at the boarder of El Mirador. There we explored a Mayan prison.

Sasha practicing juggling in front of a Mayan prison
Snake skin

Taking a break

Alan taking Sasha to prison

I always wanted to be an archeologist

We arrived at El Mirador. The first day all we wanted to do was relax. So we read our dictionaries, played flash cards, and watched the spider monkeys above us.

That was later our bath water

Sasha´s new favorite book...the Spanish dictionary

The following day we spent exploring the ruins. It was amazing to be in the middle of all of it.

On top of Templo mono

We didnt see the monos there, but we did listen to Toucans
(the toucans sound like frogs, and if you listen really hard you can hear howler monkeys in the background...right before Sasha laughs)

Climbing down from Temple Mono
Climbing up Templo Danta

Alan explaining this face to us

Sasha and Adonis standing at the end of a Mayan Clock

I am not sure what it is, but I know it´s cool

Mayan pottery

My guide and I were both thinking ¨Damn that is high¨

Standing in front of Templo Danta

A mayan house--Suckers didnt have a bathroom

Alan showing us a recently discovery...Laynie, dont tell your dad!!

On top of Templo Tigre for the sunset

A recent discovery

This monkey had the right idea

We did not have the right idea...really all those stairs??

That night we watched the sunset from the top of Templo Tigre.

Sasha talking to a new friend

Alan and co. playing ¨damas¨ (Checkers)

Sasha and the sunset
Sasha and me

The sun is only this big in Guatemala

You know, just haging out on top of Mayan temple

The hike back was beautiful and full of studying. The trip was well worth it!

Sasha looking up another word in Spanish

This is what our hike looked like

Studying and hiking at the same time, that is what I call talent


The trip home was an adventure of its own. Not only did we have to travel down a bumpy road for three hours, we also ran out of gas in the middle of the blazing heat. Alan was a good sport and walked to the next town.

What a trip!!

The End!