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He only went out for some milk A blurb of monstrous proportions - it was only supposed to be a couple of lines and the odd photo.

Quelzaltenango (Xela) part 1

GUATEMALA | Thursday, 8 May 2008 | Views [2223]

she looks so sweet, the young girl is cute too...

she looks so sweet, the young girl is cute too...

Xela is an interesting city, although i didn't think so at first.  I Arrived late at night by a bus with some locals, a long journey and a long, slightly painful lesson in how little Spanish i actually do know.  Xela's dark and seemingly dingy alleyways were not a welcoming sight.  I'd come here to climb Volcan Tajumulco - Central Americas highest point at 4220m.  Instead i end up staying (so far) for over 2 weeks, taking Spanish lessons, getting to know the city and some of its people, and blowing up ovens.

I like Xela, Guatemalas 2nd city.  It has what i can only describe as a feeling of realness.  I don't feel like a wallet here, i can usually go into a shop or a market and pay the same price as the locals. It's an interesting place too - a mixing pot of cultures.  I've spent a lot of time just walking the streets.  The cobbled, often steep and badly kept roads are hardly conducive for it, but the interesting vistas and the variety of people make it worth while. 

In my sandled, stand out a mile as a tourist feet, i walk past old men, standing tall at 5 feet nothing-but-a-10-gallon-hat.  The hat is some how dwarfed by the enormous bundle balanced on their wives head.  A bundle of brightly coloured cloths, that are complimentary to the 6m (20 feet) of it that is wrapped around her for a skirt.  There are literally hundreds of different and interesting faces, traditional 'costumes' and styles.  My photos do not, do this place justice.  I have so few photos that manage to capture the character of the city and its people.  I think this is from a combination of factors; people tend to take a lot less photos of places and people of where they actually live, and I'm moving around a lot less.  Also there isn't the usual language barrier, and although i register the different people and places, i feel very much at home - I don't want to intrude by pointing a camera at someone.  Most likely it's because I'm losing whatever little talent i ever had.

I have a feeling here that i rarely had in Asia - acceptance.  I could be kidding myself, but it feels genuine.  People have been really nice here, and it seems to be for nothing more than my company.  Michelle, the boss lady of my casa invited me and another guest out with her and her son to a town with a locally very famous market.  It was a fun and interesting day - lots of indigenous people, a thriving market and good company.  I've had the opportunity to play Scrabble with her family, and later tonight I'm going out with a local.  The day before yesterday i was being taught salsa by Kim (another guest) in the kitchen of our house, and earlier i had to turn down Daniel (yet another guest) who invited me to a nightclub with him.  Combined with my long discussions of a million topics with my teacher and i feel like I've been here awhile - I'm pretty comfortable at the moment.


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one ruined t-shirt and one ruined pair of trousers.  cool.

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