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Published: November 7th 2006
A Guatemalan elder
I have to admit things are going pretty well. We have been walking probably close to 13 miles a day...we walk from sun up to sun down. and mom's a trooper. Mom has a really detailed description of our day at Chichi so I'll just hit some of the highlights. I was hoping to get mom on a chicken bus....something that everyone (especially an ex-bus driver) should experience in Central America. But alas she opted not too (which was a wise decision on her part). We still had a lot of the excitement - passing buses going 90K on a blind corner, barely dodging stray dogs, and of course the nascar like approach to the windy mountain passes. But in a shuttle bus you don't have to deal with the kids crawling on your lap and the live animals in the walkway. We got there without a hitch and met some pleasant other travellers on the bus ride.
The market was as intense (if not more so) than i remembered. It was really really packed - so packed that you couldnt turn around without bumping into someone or something....which always seems to make things more stressful. It was hard to
Traditional Guatemalan blankets
get away from all the hustle and bustle...but i guess that is part of it. Mom seemed to have tons of fun, but she just could not get the currency conversions down, or how to say number in Spanish, which lead to a lot of funny haggling conversations. I tried as much as possible not to get involved and to shoot her silent signals. She ended up with a number of nice souvenirs, and I (of course) bought another blanket (I just can't help myself). For the new readers....i cannot turn down a blanket. Over the course of my travels I have collected over 10 blankets from different places around the world. First it was like "ohh this would be a great picnic blanket", and then it was like "or a nice bed spread", but I have finally given up on making excuses. Dad I'm going to need a blanket rack when I get home so I can display them.
Back to the market. I think the most memorable part was the lunch that we had. We ate at one of the most basic "restaurants" that i have ever been too. Its hard to describe without you being there.
The ninas wanted me to purchase something from there shop if I wanted to take a pic..we worked something out
but it was great and mom handled it really well. Antigua is not too difficult a place to travel, but i keep trying to push the envelope with mom to see how things go....and she is handling it all really well.
The rest of the day at the market was much of the same...haggling and haggling, and the shuttle ride back wasn't too bad...i managed to get a good amount of sleep which always makes long rides shorter (imagine that!).
The next day (today) we had a relaxing day around town...we opted not to do the volcano, instead we explored some more of the city, churches, museums, and some of the local restuerants. We each planned an activity for the day. Mom picked a relaxing day at a local spa, and I chose an horseback riding adventure through the local country side (mountains). I love horseback riding and managed to hire a guide to take me alone, which was a real treat. We went all over the area, through the city (side note - normally I feel like i stick out a little because of my height and the fact that i am a whitey...but on top of
a horse...going through the middle of town...that was a whole other experience..haha) to the tops of some nearby mountains/hills, through the woods (to grandmothers house we go...). It was pretty amazing, and actually really exciting. Apparently my house was afraid of cars, and motorcycles. So anytime one would pass (which happened a lot) he would jump...which if you know me....I thought was excellent. Not quite the Roy Roger parting shot jump...but the horses front legs definitely got off the ground!! I felt like a true Gaucho!
After it was all done, I met up with mom. She was just finishing her spa day, and boy did she look relaxed....I was still walking kind of funny and she was relaxed and ready to go!
Funny side note: On the morning of our first day here, mom and I were walking around town. A man selling nuts came up to her and asked her if she wanted to buy any. This was the first vendor that tried to engage mom into a purchase, and she quickly said NO gracias...a typical, if not somewhat automatic responce, anytime someone is bugging you to buy something. As we walk away mom mentioned that
Grumpy old lady
No we don't want any more blankets lady!
she really would have like some mac. nutz. She would randomly bring that up, throughout the rest of the trip anytime that we walked by that area. I think that she was so excited to say NO that she didnt really take time to realize that she might want something. Well tonight, we ran into the nut guy! and boy did moms eye's light up when he approached us. I highly doubt he remembered us...but the way mom was smiling basically said she was a SUCKER a mile away. She practically jumped out of her shoes to purchase some nutz, and to avenge the mistake she had previously made....I was cracking up the whole time.
Another side story - apparently mom wakes up really early in the morning and can't get back to sleep. so she lets her mind wander..yesterday morning she was going over the 50 US States in alphabetical order but this morning...she decided to memorize her conversion table! She really sucked at it yesterday but was an absolute pro today...it was really a remarkable change...and really funny for me to picture her laying in bed working on her 8's tables (conversion rate is 8 to 1)
I usually love getting a shave a the barber shop...but this old timer really butchered me...I was worried that I was going to be his Santa Semana sacrifice
Well thats about it. We are heading back to the states tomorrow. I will see everyone then.
Adios Amigos, until next time.
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