Headed out for another adventure over a week ago and my feet took me back to where my heart wanted to go - Guatemala. I began my trip at San Pedro La Laguna which is a town on a part of Lago Atitlan. I spent a day horsebackriding, exploring around, meeting good people, and hangin by the lake. Next headed onto to Antigua which has the biggest celebration for Semana Santa. Met PeaceCorps volunteer Grace from Boston there to help celebrate her birthday. Had a blast with her, all her friends, and new friends. Wandered next to Lanquin, back to El Retiro to volunteer work for a few days. Met the coolest kid ever from NE Minneapolis! What are the chances of that! Went back to Semuc Champey for a relaxing day in the sun and pools got some bites all over my feet but thought nothing of it. Guess I had an allergic reaction and two days later was heading on to the next destination. However, before leaving got stung by a scorpion and everyone advised me that my feet needed medical attention. So I headed to Coban and ended up at el hopital publico - what an experience. One doctor for many patients, very bare as far as supplies, and sanitary? I guess as much as it could be. But an experience non the less and I made it into as fun as experience as possible. Been laid up in Coban for a couple days and therefore changing speculated route of plans. And no camera - therefore, no pictures. Heading to Flores and from there we shall see. Until next time…
Intentando a chiflar como Mexicano con amigo Efrain
Met Efrain on la lancha back from La Laguna where myself and some compadres from school spent the day at the beach. We all needed a break from Xalapa and were happy to get away for a relaxing and more importantly the real education learning weekend. Our new friend, besides attempting to teach up to whistle - offered to show us around the local town and take us the the amazing waterfall pictured above. He showed us plants that shrink when you touch them, flowers filled with honey suckle, and the HUGE fish he caught while out fishing. We stayed in Catemaco at a wonderful place called La Casa Rosa - highly recommended to anyone who goes there. All in all, a wonderful weekend with some great friends.
I think I have fallen in love…with Guatemala, Guatemala, Guatemala, GUATE! (That would be a call for the ´chicken bus´ to Guatemala City by a guy with his shirt pulled up while rubbing his belly in circles - what a site). I left Veracruz after spending my birthday evening at Carnaval with nuevo amigo Octavio and headed south to start my adventure. Bused 9 hours into Chiapas, followed by another 4 to the border. Got to the Guate frontera by a taxi shared with two beautiful indigenous folk with bags full of sqwauking chickens. Crossed the border without much of any hesitation and ate a delicious, typical, Guatemala desayuno which consisted of huevos rezbalados, fijoles, platanos fritas, y tortillas calientes - y café por su puesto. My traveling companion - Ken (como el novio de Barbie -jeje) from Canada - and I were directed to the busing area to continue on our journey to Antigua. We boarded the ´chicken bus´which is just a regular school bus although, each are decorated differently and found ourself with plenty of open seats. Within 15 minutes of beginning out journey we were all three to a seat and still working on cramming people in - honestly, it was such a fun experience to see all the people coming and going. I was in awe for the next 4 hours with my eyes glued out the window watching the beautiful wonders of Guatemala pass by. Hand planted rows tucked into the hill side lusciously green and abundant, young women weaving on front porches, children crossing through mountain paths to get to school, herding of cattle and goats, and the woman dressed so beautifully in hand made clothing from head to toe. Met a PeaceCorps volunteer on the last leg of the journey and made it to Antigua after 23 hours of traveling. A lovely small town with cobblestone streets (and flat! not used to that…) and surrounded by three volcanoes. Spent the next day walking around the quaint town of Antigua and even met up with my cousin who is biking to Brazil from the US. Headed on to Guatemala City for a connection bus to Cobán and ended up meeting traveler Elise from San Diego on a bus corner in Guate. Spent a night in Cobán and then headed onto Lanquín where we ended up at ´backpacker´s paradise´ - El Retirador. We spent the day napping in hammocks, tubing down the river, and topped of the night with one of the funnest parties I have been to - due to the all the positive energy from all the wonderful, like minded, happy, wandering souls that were there. Played a oversized Jenja game, musical chairs and went for a late night swim in el rio. Woke the next morning for the amazing Semuc Champey! Started the day with a wet caving adventure by candle light - what an experience! Did another tubing trip down the river and then went for a hike up El Mirador where the above picture was taken by a lovely lady named Isa from Argentina. Climbed down to the pools where we spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the feeling of being in paradise. Headed onto Flores which is an island surrounded by lago Petén Itza. Went to Tikal to see the incredible Mayan ruins and pyramid high views which left us aboe the tropical tree tops and able to look distances away in all directions. Ended the day eating lakeside from las mesitas - street food vendors - with three wonderful chavos from Canada we had met traveling in Lanquín. Ate tostadas, un elote, y refritos which is like a desert filled with platano y frijoles - YUM! Now a week later I am back in Xalapa but happy to be somewhere that feels like home. Left a little bit of mi corazón in Guatemala but I know I will be back there again real soon.
Naranjíllo un pueblito cerca de Naolinco
Went on a gorgeous Sunday morning to watch mi hermano Javier play beisból. The drive from Xalapa had me on the edge of my seat. Although only located about forty-five minutes from the city, the scenery changed very quickly to lusciously green campos and hillsides covered in tropical foliage. Vacas to the left and plantas of sugar cane to the right - bonitisima. Above pictured are a couple campesinos who came to watch the main event in Naranjíllo on a beautiful domingo afternoon along with most of the other locals. Little kids were selling bolitas and the esposas of the other team members were there to cheer on their local equipo. I watched the game next to a town local who was greeted by everyone who walked by and all the children loved. Javier´s team didn´t win but I was filled with esperanza and happiness by being in such a breathtakingly beautiful place. ¡Ah, me encanta el campo!