Blogs from Western Highlands, Guatemala, Central America Caribbean - page 102


Exciting news today: I received a message from the school I will be studying at, and now know who I am staying with. The name of the mother (don't know if there is a father there) is Martha Nimatuj, and there are four kids: boys 15, 13 & 10, and a girl who is 2 years old. They live at 9 Calle 5-34, Zona 1, Xela. "Calle" is Spanish for "street". I also learned that there is a b&b who offer a transfer service from the airport to the bus depot for a very reasonable price, so I will probably use them for that purpose, and stay there on my way home because I have a plane leaving at 7:30 in the morning. "Dos Lunas" has a webpage on the Xelapages website. They also help people ... read more

It's now just two weeks until I will be on my way to Guatemala.Some people fast in lent, and while I hope to lose some weight by eating less food, that won't be the biggest part of my experience. Lent is traditionally for mainline churches a time to focus on world developemnt issues, and Guatemala is very much a part of the "third world" - a place where extreme poverty exists alongside of much wealth. "To what extent might we as Canadians be contributing to that reality?" is one of the questions I plan to pursue. The temperature in Xela today is 82°F with a predicted low of around 40°F, with predicted highs in the extended forecast of about 79° - about what I can expect when I get there, though the nights can get cooler ... read more

greetings to all the posee out there.... hopefully everyone ejoyed their valentine´s day... it was impissible not to be touched by cupid here... yes because of the incredible scenery... yes because i spent it with amanda... but also because the guatemalans have an infatuation with cheesy and i mean CHEESY 80´s music... since i´ve been in the internet lab I´ve heard milli vanilli, phil collins, and a ton of wham and george micheals.... after nearly puking on my slef, i feel very sentimental! I can gladly say that i amj back on my feet again, and have learned one thing from my ordeal with what i call malaria of the underpants the past few days... wherever and whenever you are in this country, always have TP... they don´t have it anywhere... and toiletr seats are a ... read more

A few days ago I had two interesting discussions, both, coincedentally, with Dutch Girls about voluntary work and development projects. I explained how I was trying to get going an English school with the idea of passing on the reins once it had got going and eventually trying to move the idea onwards and upwards. I have encountered more problems than I had anticipated, mainly a mixture of the Mañana culture of the people and unreliability of my partner in business. The first Dutch girl saw the benefit of what I was trying to do, but generally had a negative attitude towards development seeing it as a no-win situation with regards to setting up workable schemes. In her view, on one side you have western people running things for locals leathered with difficulties because of cultural ... read more

Our adventure thus far HAD been a relatively healthy one. At the moment, 8 out of 10 people are sick in one form or another. About 2 days ago people began dropping like flies, there are 2 people building stoves today and Jeff and I are not those two. We were told by the project that everyone gets sick in Xela, there is no way around it, but Jeff and I are getting back on our feet and will hopefully be fine by tomorrow. Yesterday we went to the market in Chichicastenango. There were so many people and busses. It was interesting to see all the weavings and carvings, but neither of us enjoy bartering at all. The road there is a killer! Up and down and around the mountains for over 2 hrs, we made ... read more

Several weeks ago on what appeared my last night in San Pedro, I took what seemed my last walk around the place. The hippy pathways leading to all sorts of weird and wonderful bars, the kids cloaked in traditional Mayan dress selling "pan de banan, pan de chocalate....", the semi-permenant gringo residents selling jewellery in the street, old men in full traditional dress armed with machetes etc etc. Seeing the same faces in the street, gives a sense of being in the town, a part of it, not just like looking through unintentially superficial and misleading tourist eyes. As it turned out it wasn't my last night as a met a girl later than evening and subsquently my plans changed to focusing on some more Spanish and now, teaching English in San Pedro. Anyway, pushing on ... read more

In just over two weeks, I'll be heading for Guatemala City, and then immediately to Xela (known to Europeans as Quetzaltenango "the place of the quetzal" for a six week experience. I'll be studying Spanish 5 hours a day for the first five weeks (excluding weekends). I have some church contacts there and expect to attend a small Presbyterian church just out of Xela. I also have Scout contacts there and hope to do lots of Scouting things. Unfortunately, the Scout jamboree around which I planned the trip has been postphoned for six months due to the mudslides and devastation from Hurrican Stan. I will have internet access there and hope to add comments at least twice a week. And I plan to upload pics to this site: (do NOT insert "www" in the address). ... read more

Well, I spent another hellacious night listening to wild dogs and demon possessed roosters carrying on outside of my room. From this point forward, I'll be wearing my headset or some ear plugs. Oh yeah, if my spelling is off it's because there's no spell check's all in español. Sleep deprived and now with a cold coming on, I bartered a boat ride to Santa Cruz La Laguna for 20 quetzals. On the ride over I met a man (James) who was an acupuncturist in Pana, and he just so happened to be good friends with the owner of La Iguana Perdida. Upon arrival, James introduced me to Dave, the owner of the hostel, and wouldn't you know it, I got the last available bed. I shared a room with a guy from Quebec named ... read more
The Party Barge
Those Crazy Europeans
Nade´, Me, Bex, Ben, & Mel

We arrived at Lago Atitlan last Sunday after a few hours in a packed van drinking water and eating trail mix. After taking a boat across the lake we were greeted by lots of kids on the dock in San Marcos. The smallest of all decided to carry my big backpack up the hill and around the corner to our sleeping quaters, the pack was basically the size of the child! We stayed in San Marcos and travelled to 2 small villages nearby to begin our stove building adventure. The first day I helped build a stove in a house that was smaller than my room at home. We were mixing cement, breaking cement blocks and bricks with machettes, and buliding the stove alongside 5 people in one tiny house. The Mayan people we are building ... read more
The Littlest Hobo
Jeff hard at work...seriously.

Hola. I haven't had a lot of time to keep people updated because I've been working my ass off in Xela. I'm living in a tiny room with a large family on outskirts of Guatemala's second largest country. Atfirst I was having a lot of trouble sleeping due the rooster (gallo) right outside my window but we ate it two days ago and now I'm fine. I had to rent a bike to get around because its a fairly spreadout city. I'm pretty burnt out with school right now so I might travel for a little and then do more school in Honduras or Nicaragua. I'm getting out the city and heading to the lake for a little rest and maybe a few drinks. The adventure continues... ... read more

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