Ahhhhh...green and moisture

Published: August 10th 2007
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Martes early morning and Raul put me on a bus for my trip to Coban. Couldn´t take a shower or go to bathroom cause the water had not been turned on yet. I need to catch an 8:30 express bus in order to get to Coban in one day. Got to bus terminal earlier than expected because the chicken bus team of driver and assistant were amazing as we zoomed around the mountains and small villages. The assistant literally hung way outside of the door to spot for incoming traffic and obstructions in town. All stops for passengers to get on and off were rolling stops and the kids swung back into the bus from throwing baggage off the roof, after the bus was already going a good 20kmph. Went to get my ticket so I could relax and get una taza de cafe, and the guy says the 8:30am had been canceled, next 12:30....no way!! It´s 7:50 and after moaning and groaning I headed for another terminal of second class buses. Now realizing I should have left even more of my stuff with Libardo´s folks, I walked as quickly as possible and sure enoughthere was a bus just closing the cargo doors...they saw me coming and they usually don´t miss a paying passenger. Lucky for me because this 8:00am departure was not on their schedule when I check last week for options. Turned out second class is still only two passengers to the seat, but they stop often enough to only keep the bus filled. First class doesn´t stop and chicken bus will take as many as can until someone is hanging out the door ...literally.

5 hours to Guat City and 4.5 hours to Coban. I don´t think I´ve had that much time to think in 30 years. Even on vacation I usually drive. Thinking can be dangerous and now understand why corporate america discourages. Anyway I put on my earphones and listened to the amazing collection Matt put together for my Ipod shuffle.

The trip was amazing and just what I needed green trees and lots of moisture. My sinuses were thanking me. Didn´t debate where to stay as some friends said Casa de Acuna had great hot showers. A little sstange that this place is the best place to eat in town and as bunk bed dormitory style sleeping. Only a few people so I got a room by myself and headed for the shower....heaven. HOT water and lots of pressure. Went out and talked to receptionist in a version of spanish and body language and figured out they had a two day trip to Semuc Champey so I signed up...leaves at 7:00am. Had a hot cup of chocolate and couldn´t resist what looked like carrot cake....the beat goes on...very good day.

It´s two hours to Semuc through the mountains I can only describe in terms of the Grand Canyon as they are vast. We descend into the river valley and flowers everywhere...we stop at a really funky place where we will spend the night. We drop off our stuff and head for the parque. I signed up for the tour and ends up everyone else on the minibus signed up for the night stay and transportation only. The guide was great and I turned it into a day of spanish class. He enjoyed helping me begin to string together the collection of nouns and verbs I learned in Xela.

I´ll let pictures speak, but this place is amazing. Matt, may not compare to your trip, but lots of begonias, etc. Semuc is a limestone bridge with ponds over the river below..river goes under at top of photo and reappears at right side.

The little hostel was truly enjoyable to eat and drink a few beers sharing stories with people all over creation, again I regret not knowing how to dance...the music was fun.

Took a trip through a cave that could never happen in the developed world. We went 2 km back into the mountain in a large cave where the only light was the candle each of the six of us carried. Most of it is wading waist deep in water, but a dozen places where we had to swim what seemed like a good distance, since we caryy teh candle in one hand. There was a small waterfall that we had to pull ourselves up with a rope and another where we had to drop through a very small hole with the water falling thru the same hole. After the cave adventure we grabbed inner tubes and floated down the river to calm back down. We couldn´t take pictures, so the ones you see is ones from a more traditional cave tour.

Got back to hotel pretty late and again wanted to get into that wonderful shower. While standing at the desk I heard a STEVE from behind me and there was Michele from ICA. She´s from Canada and traveling for approx 6 months. She decide to skip the school and head for Coban also. One of the young guys I really go to like emailed her that he decided to leave Xela also and would be in Coban Friday...I sorry to miss him. She was about to go out to eat, so said she would wait for me to shower...I think she could smell me as everything I had was wet. After the shower I suggested the restaurantat the hotel, but she said it was too pricey. I played the big spender and suggested it would be my treate.

Got up early for another shower, as I suspect it´s the last good shower for another 10 days when we´ll be back in ATL. I walked the small town and headed for the Orchid nursery. Nov, Dec, Jan are when they bloom so not mush luck but did see some. The son of the owner was great and realized I showed a passion different from most
Our greenbriar on steroids
tourists so we had a great time and he worked with my spanish. Didn´t want to waste time as I want to stop at a Biotopo de Quetzal on way to G.City, so I waved down a small pick up and hopped in the back. Got to town and they wouldn´t take any money. Seriously, you can get anywhere from anywhere for so cheap. The 5 hour buses were about $5-$6 each.

Well, best plans...it´s raining so I skipped the Biotopo and now I´m in G. City early so I´ve got some time before I try to hook up with Caitlin and her Tia Nory.

Next entry will include the rest of the family....can´t wait

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1st April 2007

English as a second language
Hey amigo: The place looks great, the memories I am sure are priceless, the language..........I do hope your spanish is improving by leaps and bounds. The concrete jungle has not change, fast pace 2 steps forward one step back, 10 balls in the air, running through airports all the time and as usual hurry up and wait. The pollen is the worst is ever been, everything is yellow and it has not rained (maybe tomorrow). I do have to hand it to you, 9 1/2 hours on a chicken bus....NO WAY MAN. I am sure you will have fun at the wedding party with all the family. Saludes.
2nd April 2007

Great Pics! I will be moving to Guatemala soon, and your pictures of Semuc Champey are beautiful!

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