Glad to get with the family!!!

Published: April 8th 2007
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After a great time in Coban, it was time to head to the GC airport to hook up with Ruth and the kids. I wanted to stop at the Biotopo to see if I could hike around and see the national bird, Quetal, but it started to rain so I will just get to GC a couple hours early. Caitlin and Libardo have arranged for us to stay with an aunt and uncle so we can hook up with Ruth and the kids midday Saturday for our trek to the Mayan ruins in Copan Honduras. Tried to call a couple of times with no answer, and was lucky enough to find an internet cafe next door ro allow time to sent my Coban blog.

Another uncle had a car, so he graciously offered to pick me up...good thing, I, nor any taxi, would have found this place high on a hill above the city. Otto and Nory have been working on this house for five years and moved in less than a year ago. Otto has a small workshop and made all the palladian steel windows himself..they are delightful. They walked up the hill early in the morning, so we had real fresh milk for breakfast.

Wanted to get to the airport early to make sure we got the car and could leave as soon as everyone arrived. BUDGET Rental had the best rate for a 7 passenger 4x4 online, so we headed to there booth...noone there. Looked around and saw a guy with a budget logo on his shirt and found out they had no cars!!! FYI the National guy had not come to work for two weeks since they had no cars to rent. Luckily we found a local company that had a car, ...they warned that foreign companies often leave people in the lerch. Anyway with that solved, we waited to the crew, who showed up on time so we were off to Copan. One travel guide said the border to Honduras closed at one time, the other another time, Caitlin heard yet another, and our hotel had said it does not close. There was also some question about needing to change we were going to play by the seat of our britches. FYI the border does not seem to close and there is no need to change money as Copan business will take any of our three currencies.

Copan Ruins is a neat little town and with a little of ?Donde este....? (don't have upside down ? mark so puncuation is not correct) we found the hotel, Casa de Cafe...really nice. Guy came down in early 80's as peace corps volunteer and never went back.

The ruins are a short walk from town so we took the hike....amazing!! Hope the pictures speak for themselves. We enjoyed just strolling around the ruins and couldn't image the number of people and days of labor to build everything.

The only night we had not arranged for accommodations was Sunday night, as we did not know how far we would get...traffic was pretty good so we were able to make it to the west side of GC, making a easy trip to Lake Atitlan. We kept driving and driving and luckily Ruth and Justin saw a sign for a hotel along the expressway, pulled in and Caitlin's spanish got us a nice place to stay and allowed for a quick trip into Antigua for dinner and a viewing of the holy week processions. The next morning we walked the town and Ruth remembered a ruins from our last trip and took the time to walk through them is really a special place just to roam around. The girls had wanted to get gifts for friends and although a little more expensive, Antigue has it all and usually good quality.

We then piled into the SUV and headed off to Lake Atitlan and San Pedro. This is one heck of a drive down to San Pedro, most people go to Panajachel and take a boat. The trip thru all the little towns made us wonder if we would ever find our way back, but it was fun. Finally got to San Pedro and found we needed to park our car and walk thru a series of footpaths to our Hotel, El Amancer Sak'cari. It is right on the lake and has a great view of the sunrises..hence it's name. While walking around in town I ran into Roger, the Canadian boat builder from my school, so he joined us for dinner and filled me in on the advenures of some of the other students we knew. Afte rbreakfast we took a boat ride on the lake to see villages and a better view of the several volcanoes.

The drive back up the hill was quite a bit more of a challange for me and working the 4x4. The inside turns were amazingly steep, and luckily didn't meet oncoming buses. We stopped at a tiny town only to find a surprising large market day so we walked around for a while....Off to Xela, and Zunil...

The trip to Zunil took us thru Xela so Caitlin and I were pretty familiar with the roads, and we stopped at one of the restaurants we both liked. Getting out of Xela was more of a challenge, but we figured it out and headed to Zunil. It started really raining so we tried to wait at bus stop for Caitlin's friends, guessing when they should arrive by bus. Of coure they came in at a different drop off than I knew and took a pick-up to the hotel. They were up for the adventure. Las Cumbres is a beautiful hotel built around some hotsprings and sits on the hillside over looking the village. Right after breakfast we headed to Fuentes Georginas for a swim in the hotsprings before starting our trip to San Marcos for the festivities.

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10th April 2007

saludos de Minnesota
Hola, Steve! Luckily, Larry sent me your blog link. How exciting! I haven't read it all but all your pictures are beautiful and bringing back wonderful memories. I esp. love Semuc Champay. We went there about 4 years ago- in and out of caves and falls. How long will you be there? Please stop by our school to introduce yourself. My in-laws would love to have you visit. They live in a canton of San Felipe, Reu. You'd love their life out in the "jungle" of the coastal area. Send me an email if you'd like: Enjoy and good luck with your Spanish. My next comment will only be in Spanish.

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