Guatemala City

Published: October 13th 2007
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Our tour finished today! One month of sharing a room with a stranger with crazy habits is finally over. I've been ready for this tour to finish for about a week. Four weeks of ruin after ruin is heavy stuff. A change of scene in Honduras is just what I need.

After saying goodbye to the people I've spent most of my time with for the past four weeks, I took a shuttle to Guatemala City. It's labelled as a dangerous city but driving through it, it looks like any other Latin American capital city. I'm happy to be back in a hostel environment -- I miss doing my own laundry! -- and the hostel I'm at is wonderful (Hostel los Lagos). It's close to the airport but when I asked the owner (an older couple) to call me a taxi for 4am tomorrow they insisted they drive me. They didn't charge me to use their laundry plus I have WIFI in my room. You have no idea how I've missed these simple things. One thing I enjoy is watching Latin American music television. I'm recognising the sound of artists like Belanova, Emmanual Del Real, Mana, Playa Limbo and Belinda. Enrique Iglesius is huge down here, contrary to Matt's belief that I am the only person who bought his recent album. Although I laugh whenever Alejandro Fernandez comes on TV -- what a poser. There's even a program called Entona Karaoke where you can sing along to Latin American pop music. It's lots of fun.

Another thing I've missed is practising my Spanish with locals. Being on a tour with English speakers made me lazy. I've been lugging around 4kg of souvenirs (well, not really, they were stored on the bus) since Mexico so today my mission was to find a UPS (even the locals don't trust their mail service) to send them back home. Erring on the side of caution, I caught a taxi to the UPS outlet in Guatemala City. The driver didn't speak much English so it allowed me to practise Spanish again. When we got to UPS he didn't have change for 100Q (USD13) so I asked him to wait. Thirty minutes later the metre wasn't even at 100Q and because I wasn't sure what the food situation would be come dinner time, I asked him if we could go via a McDonalds and whether he wanted some too. He agreed so I bought us some McDonalds and we ate and chatted -- all in Spanish. It's reaffirmed my belief in myself -- I can do this. But can I do this with orphans for six weeks???

Speaking of which, I start at the orphanage on Thursday. The most recent volunteer warned me that internet in town is inconsistent so I won't be able to stay in touch with family like I have been. I'm also going to donate my laptop to the kids when I'm done. Its memory is shot and I don't want to invest in an upgrade. So that means this travel blog will probably fall by the wayside. And that's goodbye to online photo updates.


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