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The Paroissien Diaries

Its only words, and words are all i have, to take your heart with me...to Guati Guati Guati

GUATEMALA | Sunday, 20 September 2009 | Views [932] | Comments [2]

The current state of the blog site is thus:

It's the start of 3rd quater and we are down by about 50 points and going against the wind. The coach is a litte angry about the lack of committment that I have shown but is confident if not hopeful that all can be saved. We must play catch up footy! Play gutsy, dig in and we´ll run all over them in the final term. Thus, here I am, about to play gutsy, nothing too special, just going to get it down on paper what has happened recently.

The cries of the bus driver from across the border. Welcome to Guatamala.
ohhh high fives all round, or in the case of the Guatamalan people, relatively low fives as the average hieght reaches slightly over 5.4.

The first highlight of Guatemala was by far the money. We recieved our change from the bus driver in the form of huge gold coins. These gold coins are brilliant, the type of money that Captain Jack found in his treasure trunk. Although Jack was probably dissapointed to find out that the gold coin quetzal wasn´t worth very much. Also highly ammusing about the money was the name of the currency, the Quetzal, named after the national bird which happens to be the national bird for nearly all central American countries. Regardless of this can you imagine if in Australia we called our currency the Emu?

´Aghh yes mate thats gonna set ya back about 15 emus thanks.´

So across the border we hop and arrive in a bustling little town called Chiquimula. Highlights reel include:

-The first meal which included rice, beans, pasta (that came under the catagory of salad,) scrambled eggs, potatoes (salad) and tortilla. A note to anyone who is travelling in Guatemala and wants to go on the Atkins diet...no chance, absolutly no chance what so ever! If you want I can give you another Aussie Rules football metaphor to make it absolutly clear that no one could survive here with out Carbs.

- A cool market dinner where we watched the sunset being blurred by incredible clouds of dust and eating Guatemalan Pupusas. Which unfortunately dont make the cut against the El Salavadorian pups.


-The first ´rip off´ on tour. We paid 5 dollars more than we should have. Although it doesnt sound like much it left a bitter taste in the mouth and if anything highlighted hilariously how bad my Spanish was in times of emergency. 'Hey you, that's too much aghh no, come back , hey, muy caro, you are bad', later that was translated as 'you are hard'. As always though, a lesson was learnt and we were thankful that it was only 5 dollars. I really hope that this doesnt make me sound like a tight ass.

-A wicked hotel with cable t.v hehe
-Great street food where I trialed the flat style tacos styled out with cooked salty cabbage, spicy mince, great melted cheese and lovely tomato sauce with a kick to finsh. Super Rico!
- A morning market which specialised in incredibly ugly, warty turkeys. A lady in all seriousness asked if we wanted to buy her turkey for a cheap price. This allowed hilarious visions of ´Bandy and the Turkey´ tootling around Guatemala becoming the best of friends.

-The incredible bus journey from Salama to Coban where we were not surpirsed to find that in this part of the country they max out the amount of people they cant fit in a mini bus. Built to fit 12 people, at one stage I counted no less than 25 fricken people in a mini bus hahaha. Good luck getting two cheeks on the seat.

- It was at this early stage of the Guati experience that we realised that Guatemala was dedicated to the chicken/cock. Everthing is named or dedicated to the most beautiful of birds.
The Gym...El Gallo Mas Gallo- translated as The Cock More Cock
The electronics store ´Gallo Gallo´ simply Cock Cock

and of course the numerous chicken eateries which can all be found on the same street of a tiny town.

Pollo Campensino- Peasant/farmer chicken
Pollo Campero- peasant/farmer chicken
Pollo Frito- fried chicken
Pollolandia- chicken land

After your delicious meal of chicken with chicken, wash it all down with a delicious Cervesa Gallo- Cock Beer.

- Beth loses crib again and vows never to play another game ever again. A bitter sweet victory- Currently in the process of writing up the Treaty of Crib acknowledging forever my dominance.

Uspantan- western Highlands

Anoither terrifically crammed and scarey bus ride thru the highlands of Guatemala. The dark and low clouds gave off a wicked effect on the mountains which would have been uplifting if it wasnt for the enourmous landslide in the distance.

This landslide was a real eyeopener, streching over 500 metres wide and carrying huge boulders. Of course we were a little shaky especially when we drove passed the road closed sign accomanied by another sign a few metres down the track of a warning ´rocks falling on your head´sign. No need for the translation underneath!

Rest assured we got through the avalanche risk area with only a bum that had lost all feeling, which I thought was a fair compromise. Unfortunatly the danger hadn't passed. After a short stop for some snacks and supplies that bus driver turned around and noted that ahead there may be bandits. We didn´t quite understand what he had said until the man next to us, or should I say on top of us started taking his life savings out of his pockets and stuffing them down his pants. haha very comical if you werent about to lose everything you own! Thus we flew into action, Beth taking camera chips and cash and hiding them in secret places that Bandits were never likely to look. I rued the decision of wearing loose fitting boxer shorts, not only because there were 50 people in the bloody car!

aghhhh no grip for the passports Beth...what are we going to do...maybe they wont make us stand up!?

Whoooo but a few stressful hours later and we arrived unscathed and holding everything except my stomach.

- Not much of a town, found a group of dispensars that issued the usual lollies, chocolates and peanuts haha peanuts in a coin dispensar, what will they think of next! A lovely steak dinner and a dissapointing pupusa. The Guati have a lot to learn from thier neighbours about the art of the pupusa.

The following day we headed to Quetzalango which is known locally as Xela, pronounced Shayla...(got you on my knees shayla) where in fact we  still are. Xela is the 2nd biggest gringo town behind Antigua and along with its neighbour the land of Spanish schools. By all accounts its the cheapest place in central America if not the world to have Spanish lessons.

Xela is a wicked little colonial town that has a real European feel to it. A big central park surrounded by a church, museum, theatre and a plethora of shit to swanky restaraunts scattered all over the cobbled stone roads gone wrong by too much rain.

Highlights up until we started Spainish and volunteering include.

Meeting a NZ family in out cute little hostel who defined the word courageous. They are two parents Tim and Phillipa are currently studying Spainish 5 hours a day in order to become fluent to pursue a volunteering projext in mexico in December. What makes this incredible is that in tow they have a 6 month old baby boy, a two year old boy who is definatly definining what they call terrible twos and a 5 year old who is kicking it at a local Guatemalan school. Brilliant. And this voluntereing in mexico is no walk in the park, moving to a slum in Mexico city for 5 years to help kickstart some infrastructure! Truly awesome!!!
Anyway living with the family was so much fun, loud, crazy, 6.00 am wake ups.

I fetl a little guilty when I made Hudson the 5 year old try a cooked chilli...Beth came to the rescue with a glass of milk... a narrow escape!

- What is now three weeks ago, we signed up for a months intense Spanish lessons with volunteering in thier school in the afternoons and living with a host family. I wont go into the details now but the last three weeks have been absolutly incredible which I will devote a long and hopefully detailed and ammusing account. SO SO SO much has happened. Rest assured I still cant speak Spanish haha but having the time of my life!

stay tuned.


Good times and Great classic Hits




Great to read that you're still safe/well/sound in both body and mind etc and if all of life's lesson only cost $5 then I'd be alot better off than I am at the moment! Enjoy your stay in Guati and we look forward to the next insallment/chapter (have you thought about writing a book - Beth could check your tenses and Babs could sort the spelling!?) Love and peas to you both, Steve/Padre x

  steve reeves Oct 3, 2009 8:25 PM


Sorry, after making that snide comment about the spelling I realise that there should be an 's' on the end 'lesson' and that I've missed the 't' out of 'insallment' and although the English spelling has only 1 'l' the American spelling does in fact have 2 so I'll hide behind that plus of course I'm not very good at tiepping! Love, me.ps you've just walloped (sp?) us again in the odi!

  Steve Oct 3, 2009 8:34 PM

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