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GUATEMALA | Saturday, 24 July 2010 | Views [1739]

From Guatemala City to Antigua:

We woke up in a fog on our first morning in Guatemala. After sleeping for 12 hours, we wandered out into the streets in our pj´s to find some breakfast. The menu at the cafe was only in Spanish and due to our lacking Spanish food vocabulary it was a mystery what we were actually going to get for breakfast. That´s part of the fun, though. It´s the same thing with picking hostels, you can do research and make your reservation, but you don´t know what it´s really like until you get there.

After breakfast, we took a cab ride from the hotel to the bus station that ended up costing more than the entire 2 hour bus ride to Antigua. I think it´s possible that we got ripped off by the cab driver. ;) The buses the locals use here are actually the retired school buses from the United States. The only difference is that they paint the buses in bright colors and install speakers so they can jam music during the entire ride. During the bus stops, random venders come onto the bus selling anything from fresh fruit to candy. One vender came onto the bus and handed out three candy bars to each person. I thought he was giving out free samples, but after a brief explanation that I didn´t understand, he came back and collected his candy bars from everyone. Good sales tactic if you ask me. A lot of the people ended up buying from him.


As soon as we arrived in Antigua, a local guide found us still sitting on the bus, unsure whether we were in Antigua yet. He asked us if we were interested in staying with a family and taking Spanish lessons. This was exactly what we were planning to do before hearing bad things about Antigua from a friend. After feeling the city out a bit, it didn´t seem to be anything that we´d been led to believe and so we took the man up on his offer. He hooked us up with a man named Marco who is the director of the school we attend and he got us signed up for school and with a family. Marco is an interesting man who seems to run everything in the city from Spanish school to shuttle rides... and Brett thinks possibly prostitution too. Lol.

Marco placed us with the family of Beatriz and her two kids. She is a wonderful lady who takes time to sit down with us during meals so we can practice our Spanish. Her home is very nice, as well. Brett and I have a big bedroom that opens up onto a big garden. She cooks three meals for us a day and most of the time they are good. Although, I´m not a big fan of the Corn Flakes she serves most days, which seems to be the only cereal sold in Guatemala. Overall she is a good cook, but doesn´t really hook it up and we usually have buy more food throughout the day.

Today was our last day of Spanish class. Woohoo! We went for 4 and a half hours for 4 days. This is a lot of class when you our getting 1 on 1 instruction like we were. No time for zoning out in this situation. I ended up with a really great teacher who has taught me more conversation skills than I´ve ever learned in all my Spanish classes combined. We basically just sat around and talked for the entire 4 and a half hours! Yesterday we went on a field trip to the cross on top of a hill at the very North end of the city. From the cross, you can see the entire city. Very amazing!... and a good break from class. ;)

Brett and I went for a hike at Volcan Picaya. This volcano errupted only a month and a half ago. At the volcano there was a place where the volcanic rock was so hot that our two tour guides could roast marshmellows on it. They were really tasty but because our guides were only kids so they ended up eating most of them. We did our hike during the day, but we heard that the view at night is awesome because you can see the glowing lava flowing down the volcano. On our hike, we met a couple of English travelers who had just come from Semuc Champey and told us that it was their favorite spot in Guatemala. We couldn´t pass it up, so we signed up for our bus ride today and head out first thing tomorrow morning for some caves, waterfalls and riverfloating in Semuc Champey! More updates to come!

I miss you all!

Much love,

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