Blogs from Western Highlands, Guatemala, Central America Caribbean - page 108


Over the course of the last couple nights, I was befriended by one of the longer term gringo inhabitants of Lago de Atitlan. We'll call him Joe. I think Joe liked me primarily because I was able to go head to head with him and not fall down, resulting in a couple of expensive nights and a couple of rough mornings. Nevertheless, as the Dirty Willies flowed (Dirty Willies - rum and ginger ale, known elsewhere as Quebec Libres), Joe told me a bit about himself and a few of the odder denizens of this navel of the world. Among the more sinister aspects of the lake of which he informed me, the revelation that there were many mercenaries and/or assassins living there surprised me. Perhaps it shouldn't have, Central America being the home of American ... read more this instead: Executive summary and if you have time: Full report ... read more

Went to see Maximon today. Actually, I've encountered him at least once before, near San Cristobal, Mexico. Turns out, the Maya of the village of Santiago de Atitlan, who worship Maximon (or San Simon, when giving lip service to the Catholic church), came to the area from Mexico. They are, however, not to be confused with the Maya in Santa Clara, on the other side of the lake, where we are staying, who speak a completely different language and came to the area at a different time. Nor are either to be confused with the Maya of San Marcos or San Pedro, each speaking their own language and with their own historical traditions as well. How on earth people living just kilometers from one another have maintained completely seperate languages through the years I don't know. ... read more
Sky and post

Lago de Atitlan is considered a very sacred and spiritual place by the Maya people, so I am told. In fact, they consider it "the navel of the world." This of course makes it one of four or five "navels of the world" I have visited or heard tell of, and I have no doubt that there are as many more as there are ancient indigenous cultures, making the world a many-naveled thing, and conjuring images of countless umbilici waving like tentacles into the reaches of space. Nonetheless, there is no denying the spectacular setting the lake provides, nor, for lack of a better term, the positive energy that seems to envelop the place. Stretching perhaps 10-15 kilometers from east to west, and seven or so from north to south at its widest point, the lake ... read more
Under the Volcano
Over the lake

Mijn project verloopt geweldig! Inmiddels heb ik nu twee klassen gehad. Ze gaan nu al vanuit zichzelf tandenpoetsen als ze de school binnen komen en dat was mijn doel, dus ik ben erg tevreden. Ik werk in kleine groepjes zodat ik meer aandacht aan de kids kan besteden en het hierdoor voor mij ook wat makkelijker is. Na het poetsen vraag ik altijd even of ik in hun mond mag kijken, om te controleren of ze het goed hebben gedaan. Ach ja ben en blijf een controlefriek hahaha! In ieder geval heel veel kindjes wilden niet dat ik in hun mond keek. Echter tijdens de pauze kwam er een meisje naar me toe die zij dat ze erg veel pijn had in haar mond, aangezien ze een aantal verrotte tanden had. Ik vervolgens nauwkeurig in haar ... read more

I can't believe it's my last day in Xela!! I have been here for three weeks, it doesn't seem possible. I had my last Spanish class today, and a test over everything I've learned. I got a certificate for completing my classes... too cute. Afterwords, I went for a celebratory beer and taco with my teacher and others from the school. I'm going to miss this place, and so many people here. It really has felt like home for a while... But, I'm also so excited to go and travel!! I leave tomorrow for Antigua, then I'm meeting up with some chicas from my school in Guatemala City, where we will travel on to Tikal, Rio Dulce and Livingston. After that, I think I'm on my own and off to the Bay Islands in Honduras, but ... read more

Just got back to Xela.... Never thought I'd say it, but it feels like home. I visited Lake Atitlan for the weekend and it was awesome. It's a huge lake surrounded by volcanos and tiny villages. We visited three of the villages and of course, the necessary, touristy part too. That part is called Panajachel and it's the main hub, from which boats leave to take you to the other towns around the lake. The streets of Pana, as people call it, are filled with stall after stall of Guatemaltecos selling similar and some beautiful things. We stayed one night in Pana, in a little place called "Mario's Rooms." Of course we had to visit the local bars, where we ran into the funniest Guatemalan woman with THE BEST laugh on the planet. She insisted on ... read more

Wow.. what else can I say?! Today some friends from school and I visited this tiny town called Zunil, home of the smoking, drinking deity of miracles - also known as San Semon. You have to ask the locals where San Semon resides - currently it´s a tiny house filled with candles and flowers. San Semon resembles a cowboy in an electric chair, complete with vest and cowboy hat, sunglasses, a hankerchief covering his mouth, red gloves and an american flag over his shoulders. It´s completely laughable, but apparently we shouldn´t have.... From what I can gather, San Semon is a serious thing to the Mayans who live in the region. They created him years ago, but now they truly believe that he performs miracles. We were lucky enough to witness a Mayan woman conducting what ... read more

Hoi allemaal, ik vond het weer tijd voor mijn update! Dit keer zal ik niet weer zo'n triest verhaal schrijven. Het gaat goed met me, ondanks dat er hier rare dingen blijven gebeuren, heb ik mijn weg hier aardig gevonden. Ik woon inmiddels in een soort hostel. Ik heb een kleine kamer waar een bed in staat en een klein kastje waar ik mijn kleren een beetje op kwijt kan. Ik heb geen ramen, maar ach alles went. In het hostel hebben we een gezamenlijke keuken en een gezamenlijke tuin waar wat tafels en stoelen staan, prima vertoefen hier! In het hostel wonen meer mensen die vrijwilligers werk doen voor een langere periode, dus dat is wel erg leuk! Wat het weeshuis betreft waar ik de vorige keer over heb geschreven. Ik heb een gesprek gehad ... read more
twee ondeugende knaapjes die ik probeer te leren hun handen te wassen
lerares Letty en ik
De kids die leren tandenpoetsen

Hola amigos!! Hope this finds everyone doing well. I haven´t written in a bit, mostly cause I´ve been so busy!! Who would have thought - in Guatemala? After a week and a half here, it´s starting to feel like home. It´s so strange! I run into people I know on the streets... it really is a small world. So much has happened and I don´t want to bore you with a play-by-play, so here are the highlights.... I´m hoping to add photos soon. Love and hugs to all!! - I´m remembering and learning a lot of Spanish in classes and otherwise... Hardly anyone here speaks English, except some students, so it´s great for practicing. The school offers activities and I participated in three of them last week. The first was a social project the school does ... read more

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