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Published: April 15th 2013
So I haven't kept up with my blog at all this trip so I am going to try and catch it up. I apologize this is going to be all over the place and probably the worst grammar I'm just writing things as I remember them.
Mom and dad drive me to Hoboken to have dinner at an awesome cuban restaurant and then crash at Terry and Katie lennons house for the night. Well we didnt really sleep though we staying up drinking and hanging out. I took about a 45 min nap then caught my taxi to the airport. When I landed in Guate city I was greeted by a guy that had a sign with my name on it as well as a few others. So we had to wait. On the way to Antigua I found out I was the only one in the minivan headed to my school, little odd. I got dropped off and walked by the drivers girlfriend to a house where Margarita my guate mother met me and gave me the rules and tour of the house and my room. Shortly afterwards I met Magnus a young Norwegian kid that was going to be taking classes as well. Since it was Sunday dinner
wasn't included so he and I walked around and found a traditional restaurant, which was hard to do because Antigua is super super touristy. The prices are close to what they are in the states it's crazy. I really didn't like the scene there of that many gringos walking around. It wasnt going to help my spanish much. Especially talking with Magnus all the time although we tried talking in spanish it was just easier an faster to speak in English. First week of school went pretty well. I had 5 hours of classes in the am then 2 in the afternoon. My morning teacher was a nice girl with many years experience. She was friendly and fun I wound up having here the next 3 weeks. My afternoon teacher was pretty quite and reserved we just talked and didnt do much grammar work so I changed her for another one in the afternoons. The school had activities most days from spanish movies to city tours or ruin tours. The first week I didn't do anything because I had classes in the afternoons and tried just studying and whatnot. I felt pretty comfortable last year when I left Honduras but I was struggling when I got back; 2 steps forward one step back. Anyway that weekend Magnus and I walked around and hit the local market for a meal. Well we both paid for that the following days though. I rarely get sick from street food or market food even to the point I didn't have dad renew my cypro prescription. My morning teacher and I walked to a pharmacy early in the week and got me sorted. The next week I learned I could do the activities and have my class before and after the activity. One day we went to some local ruins. I should explain the ruins are of buildings built by the spanish when they were conquering here which were later destroyed by earthquakes and or war. One day we went to a jade factor where the workers were hand making jewelry and sculptures apparently certain types of jade are worth millions. I bought a cool little necklace that has a Mayan symbol on it which means "the ending of an era and the begins of a new one" Let see one of the other tours was of a nut farm I think it was macadamia it was pretty interesting rather than sell the nuts as food the guy could extract the oil and use it to make beauty products and make heaps more money. We all got quick facial massages with the oil. I remember when we were leaving we had to wait for a bus to get back into town. I tried hitch hiking with the group and Magnus and I were poking fun at each other, everyone had a good laugh. I recall later meeting an older couple at one of the Thursday night
dinners, we got to talking and the big "why spanish" I explained I wanted to own a hostel or be a tour guide and they both said I would be a great tour guide. They were really sold on it. At first I didn't think I even met them before but later realized they were on the trip and saw me joking around with Magnus and my teachers and I guess how I carried myself in school as well. It was nice to hear from them since I hadn't really spent time with them or anything. It's one thing if good friends or others travelers say it but an older couple who just observed it was pretty neat. I also did a coffee tour where I learned that espresso because its roasted longer had less caffeine and it is acidity, don't know why people drink it. I can't wait to have a normal cup of coffee in the states. I cant remember any other tours right now if any. But Magnus and i did meet a guy named mike who I later caught up with in nicaragua when Christopher was here. We also went to watch Le miseras one night because we were trying to hit on these 2 Aussie girls but sadly the girls didn't even go to the movie. We also tried getting them to climb a volcano one weekend but that failed as well. Haha. As for the volcano though it was a decent time. It was a massive group and a super slow pace but still very pretty views. We were told if we were lucky we could see magma at night. It was a beautifully day leading up to it but as we neared the highest point we were allowed to go the peak got socked in. We did however, get to cook some marshmallows in thermal vents and some German guys even cooked some steaks. I didn't even know there was going to be active vents. We hiked down after sunset luckily I brought my head lamp, as I lead the pack back down to the bus. The other super important part about this trip was I met a Canadian girl who told me about the tour she was doing. 40 days over land from Nicaragua to Costa to Panama learning to surf and cultural site seeing. Sounds like a great company for me to work for. I have been emailing them but they won't hire me without going on a tour. They want to see how I interact with other travelers and the tour leader. I totally should have gotten the Canadian girls info to follow up with her about the trip plus she was super cute but I failed there. Haha The Aussie girls did finally agree to drinks their last night in town so we couldn't have repulsed them that much. HahaLets see my last Saturday class my teacher and I hit a bunch of ruins and sites I had missed in town and we also hiked up to the big mirador Jesus statue. It was a great way to spend my last class and day in Antigua. The next day I was suppose to be picked up by 5am
or so but the guys couldn't find my house luckily I have a local sim and called them, I had to walk a couple blocks to a big church because I couldn't describe where my house was. Feb 3rd I thinkI arrive in Xela or QuetzaltenangoThe school cels maya who Kirk (a guy i met kitesurfing in costa with bob s.) told me about. He recommended a house and a teacher. Sadly I didn't get either so the first week, I was a bit bummed. My family was pretty nice the father was friendly but the food was pretty terrible. I did however join a gym there and was hitting it every weekday at least once a day if not twice. I had to get in shape for Utah and surfing in Nica. My first week I had 5 hours of spanish in the am and 3 hours in the avo. My am teacher although pretty wasn't the best teacher and my pm teacher and I just talked or he managed to talk for the whole time. But at least I understood him. Haha. The following week I had Miriam the teacher Kirk told me about wow she was great. She teachers to DELE standards which is recognized by Spain you can take a test and get certified depending on the level you are. Sadly I was only able to have her for one week because she had people who had reserved her months in advance. So I got pawned off to ... Can't remember her name she also taught to DELE standards but I still liked Miriam a bit better. Actually I think I liked my afternoon teacher the best I don't think she was a DELE teacher but she was super strict and made me read little kids books and write summaries and things. Her name is Ingrid. The third week I finally asked if I could change my house luckily the house that Kirk recommended had an opening. It was a boarding house they call it a hospedaje which is house for students. She had a few travelers that went to the spanish school then she had a few kids that were from the country side that would stay with her for the week so yet could go to school in the city. It turned out to be the best home stay yet. Sandra the mother was so involved and interesting. She would always engage us in conversations. It was great. I even went on a trip with the family to the local "6flags" water park it was a really neat experience. Although 6flags isn't really my cup of tea it was nice to hang out with them. The son in law and I hung out the most because he wanted to go on bigger slides and his kids didn't want to. Lets see this school was one of the most professional and informative schools. The first Monday we had a meeting for about 30 mins to go over rules the home stays city info ect. It had some 70 students most were from colleges some were just travelers. It also offered tons of activities however it wasn't like the other school if you did the activities you missed class. So I didn't bother doing any of the activities even the weekend ones because normally it was the full weekend and I had class on Saturdays. I went to 2 of the night movies but they were super boring and terrible. I also went to one of the speakers who was also boring for me at least haha. My Saturday classes were pretty good though we would talk a bit, do a tiny bit of grammar then teachers would teach me how to make a local dish for lunch. They turned out amazing I can only hope I can recreate them at home. My first Saturday class I convinced my cute teacher to take me up to the mirador we had to drive across the city on her scooter then hike up for an hour or so. Obviously again it had a beautiful view the city, it was much bigger and spread out than I thought. So I just looked through my photos to see if I could find anything else I didn't remember or write about. Sadly no I think I used my photo to take some photos in Xela but new iPhone software kept coming out and I think I lost them. Oh well my time in Xela was mostly class and the gym anyway. I kept trying to get to the pool but the main office was closed every time I went and no one knew the actually open swim hours. I even went to Walmart to buy googles which I broke trying to make them into Sweds haha. I spent most weekends waking the city passing time in coffe shops studying or watching some of the shows Magnus gave me. I spent a lot of time in the second hand markets. They import tons of donated cloths from the states and possible Canada it's crazy. The open air dirt floor market was nuts. It's full of everything shirts, pants, skirts, shoes, crocs bags, ext. it was insane but it would take you years to go through it all. There were 2 actual stores called MegaPack. These stores had all second hand stuff but things were sorted and organized. I wound up buying some t shirts for around $1. I even bought a pair of fake uggs for less than 3 bucks, which I brought to Utah and later re donated there. Haha. Well lets see guess that pretty much brings me to Utah. I had to take a bus from Xela back to guate city where I spent the night at a guest house very near the airport in a heavily gated community. It was a nice place but nothing to do there as it was a neighborhood. But I was fortunate enough to leave my board there while I was gone. Utah was awesome, great time with the family it was a nice break from traveling life. I got to eat some buffalo wings and some other amazing food as well as go riding with the fam. It was pretty awesome thanks so much mom and dad. We could have used some more snow but ken and I managed to find some freshies in the trees. We also got to hit a wailers concert in park city which was a lot of fun. Mom and dad even held on till about 11 although they missed the much better second act. Haha My flight was hours later than everyone else's so I got to drive to check out the promenade and the actual salt lake. It was a pretty massive lake with a beautiful mountain range behind it. Anyway I finally caught my plane back to guate city where I picked up my board and had to transfer to another hostel more in the city because the guest house was booked. I ended up doing a city tour that day and was thoroughly impressed. You always hear terrible things about guate city but it was actually very pretty and tranquil. Of course there are neighborhoods you don't want to be in day or night but that's a city for you right. It was a Sunday and they close down one of the major lanes in the city so people can walk, bike or skate around. It was really neat idea. We did some other site seeing buildings and markets and what not. Then myself and the other 2 guys ended up going to Hard Rock Cafe for dinner since there wasn't anything else open. My burger was delicious it had some awesome BBQ sauce on it. After dinner I headed back to reorganize and get ready for my 20hr bus ride to Nicaragua.
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