Published: June 26th 2006June 25th 2006
Always waiting!!!!! One of many waiting times......:)
Where do I begin? Maybe I should begin by saying that Guatemalan time makes my Aunt Janeen look early! And, yes, Dad, you would hate it! (We always tell my Aunt Janeen atleast 30 minutes before we actually expect her.) So, to start off our trip to Xela (nickname for Quetzaltenango pronounced Shay-la) the five of us, Henry, Stina, and two sisters, Abby and Lindsey, ages 16 and 18 (I know!) booked a direct tourist bus to Xela for $20 which is very expensive here. The driver arrived 45 minutes late. Guatemalan Time! After 4 hours, we arrived in Xela, found a hotel for $6 each a night and YES it had HOT water.
We then decided to visit las Fuentas Georginas, the hot springs. The process of getting there is extremely typical of Central American or at least Guatemalan travel. We took a chicken bus to Zunil (that stopped for over 10 minutes for no apparent reason to any of us) and once we got off our guide book told us to negotiate a price to ride in the back of a pickup up the 8km ride to the hot springs. Now when I say back
In the back of the Pickup
Henry, Me and Stina trying to stay in the back of the pickup on the way to Las Fuentas Georginas.
of a pickup, I mean back of a metal, dirty, uncomfortable pick up. And I have to admitt, that when we entered the pickup truck and the 5-6 locals who were in the pick up truck got out laughing, I was a little nervous. But, alas, as true and honorable as every Guatemalan I have met thus far, we arrived at our destination, with many bumps and bruises from the rockiest ride I have ever had. Add to that the incessant rain and you´ve got yourself a scene that is indescribable. I know I can not explain it so that someone who has not been on the same road in the same pickup has any idea the scene of hilarity that we all witnessed as we struggled to remain in the back of the pickup. We made plans with our driver to return at 4:45 (as now I have come to realize that you have to account for Guatemalan time and told him 15 minutes before we wanted him).
Upon arriving at the hot springs, we changed into our suits in the rain and went into the hot springs. There were about 20 tourists swimming with us and it
Las Fuentas Georginas
The Hot Springs near Xela. There was a constant drizzle and mist. It was magical!
was a lot less rustic than I had anticipated which in many ways was really nice! The rain didn´t stop at all during our 2 hour swim and the weather was much colder than in Antigua so getting out of the springs was frigid to say the least. Shivering, we changed into our clothes and went to take our bumpy pickup ride back to town. And again we waited. And waited. And waited. Now, many of you have seen my father seethe, and I have to say if I had had a mirror, I´m thinking I would´ve seen that look on my dad´s face that could scare a bear. Angry doesn´t begin to describe how I was feeling as I shivered in the rain waiting for our ride. After waiting 45 minutes, we begged some tourists to squeeze us in the back of their tour truck. As soon as we were all in, low and behold, that green pickup truck arrived. Guatemalan time! After riding for about 20 minutes and realizing we weren´t going the same route, I asked where we were going. Miracles do happen! It was a direct ride to Xela! Hallelujah! Our toes were frozen, but we
Xela in Parque Centro Americano
Part of the central park in Quetzaltenango (Xela).
were on a direct route to our hot showers! Xela is really cold at night typically and it didn´t really stop raining while we were there, so those hot showers were heaven! We went to dinner, reminisced, laughed often, and went to bed.
The next morning, we made arrangements to ride in 2 cars directly to Antigua, walked through the market, and found an internet cafe. Xela is not the most touristy of Guatemalan cities (though it does have traffic lights) and I think because it was a sunday, most everything was closed, so we were ready to head back. And again we waited. This seems to be a common theme in Guatemala. I came up wth a multitude of games to pass the time as the 5 of us giggled incessantly. We waited 90 minutes to get in those cars. And I had a few conversations with the overly polite manager which I´m proud to say resulted in all of us receiving free drinks in their restaurant and a refund of some of the price, which most of you know is hard for me to ask for in general, let alone in spanish. A conquest for me! The trip was not the smoothest trip I´ve been on, but it´s given memories and funny stories to last a lifetime! The five of us laughed throughout all of the waiting, the shivering and I can honestly say that I had a great time! It goes to show how much more important the company you surround yourself with is than the actual surroundings.
This afternoon (Monday 6/26) more volunteering and more salsa lessions! Sometime this week, I have a spanish test so wish me luck!!! Love and miss you alll!!!!! I have 5 more days until Adam comes and I CAN´T WAIT!!!!!!!!!! Hasta luego!!!! PS- Happy Belated Birthday, Uncle Jeff!!!!!!!