Monday, February 15, 2010
guaty - mi nueva casa
Well... I am officially in Guatemala and I absolutely LOVE IT! It is sooo beautiful here and the people are so welcoming and so nice. I am living in a volunteer house with people from all over the world - it makes our meal conversations very interesting! My flights were pretty uneventful... I sat next to some French people on my last flight who were busy celebrating their Valentines day with a lot of PDA... but I just turned on my music and ignored them (it's not like I would've known enough french to ask them politely to cut it out anyway...). I met some really cool people in the airport - Leslie a Guatemalan chica who just got engaged in Vegas, Orian who was coming out to Guatemala to study spanish, crazy people in the Guatemalan airport... my shuttle driver Erwin - oh he was so adorable! So I managed my way through customs and security... found my bags (after stealing someone else's for a few minutes - an accident! I promise!) and then I went outside to find my ride. Now this was an interesting moment. I am the only white person in sight and I walked out of the glass doors to a MOB of taxi and shuttle drivers. Luckily amongst all the shouting and pricing offers I located my man. He had a little handwritten sign with my name on it (spelled wrong of course) and I just had to trust that he was legit and he went and got his bus - pronounced "boos." I was SO grateful that I could speak spanish because this man didn't speak a word of english. We had a lovely chat for the 45 minute drive up and over the volcanos.... he told me that you can always tell when you get into Antigua because the streets turn from pavement to cobblestone - and it's true! ALL of the roads are made out of stone here! Interestingly enough all of the cars are low-riders. I imagine that the bottoms are all scraped off of all the cars. There are people walking everywhere but the vehicles don't yield to pedestrians. If you get in their way I am pretty sure that they will just run over you. So... "look both ways before you cross" has even more significance now.
Anyway... so I actually got into Antigua at about 10:00 where a very worried "mom" of the house told me that somethings had happened and my room arrangements weren't going to be ideal for the night. Apparently somebody got sick and had to stay longer and blah blah blah... end of story I had to share a room with a guy for the night because there really wasn't anywhere else to go at 10 o'clock. Don't worry... it was a very laaaarge room and there were 2 beds. But, he is very nice and respectable and we had a good chat. I didn't feel threatened or weird or anything. It was actually kind of nice because even though I am moving out today I now have a built-in bodyguard for at least the next 3 weeks!
I have met some really awesome people - including 2 girls that are going to be here just as long as I am... yay!
Food notes: For breakfast I had fruit and pancakes (who would've thought?) and milk. Well, if you can call it milk. I think it was once something else but I'm not too sure. Lunch we had chicken, rice, tortillas, and enselada. Rica! Who knows what's going down for dinner - probably something along the same lines.
I am doing LOTS of walking - my feetsies aren't used to sandals! I got a phone today and I have 70 minutes for the month. It was super cheap - 150 quetzals... divide that by 8 and you have the price - including the minutes. When I went to the bank to exchange my money today I felt very safe. Want to know why? Well, because there was a man holding a GIGANTIC rifle guarding the line. That thing was huge. So, as long as I wasn't trying to rob the bank, I was ok.
I also took a picture of this man. At first I thought he had crashed his bike and that he was dead... but then he moved and I felt better. I was thinking it was pretty rude that people just left him there on the sidewalk... but I guess that was his napping place of choice. Maybe I should try it out.
Well... I gotta go have some more adventures - hasta luego!
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