A Travellerspoint blog

Guatemala

Last days in Xela

We're in Xela again after spending the weekend at the beautiful Lake Atitlan a few hours southeast of the city. We took a 'chicken bus' there on Saturday morning, arriving at the tourist Mecca of Panajachel around lunchtime. After a meal of grilled chicken and decidedly non-Guatemalan mac n cheese, we took the 45-minute boat ride to Santiago Atitlan. It's a far less touristy city on the lake with much more Mayan influence. We had a great time biking around the lake and visiting little Mayan towns where it was tough to find a Spanish speaker! We also had a chance to paddle on the lake in a canoe and take some nice photos, which I promise to post sometime soon. :)

This week has been filled with studying Spanish and checking out the sites in and around Xela, like the very interesting cemetery and bustling markets. Mariel also had the chance to spend some time doing exams on children and babies at the orphanage in town, which was a very good experience. We had our graduation dinner and received our mini diplomas from the school on Wednesday, and tomorrow we say goodbye to our great teachers and awesome fellow students. We've learned a lot that will make working in Honduras and the US easier. We also have our last dinner with our wonderful host family tonight, as we will be heading out of town tomorrow afternoon to Guatemala City. On Saturday, we bus from there to Copan, where we hope to get a little time to check out the amazing Mayan Copan ruins. On Sunday, we head from Copan to San Pedro Sula where we will meet up with someone from the hospital and ride with them to Balfate. We plan to start working on Monday.

Again, we will post photos as soon as we get time in between all these bus rides. Until then, hasta luego!

Love,
M&B

Posted by vagabundos 17:36 Archived in Guatemala Comments (0)

Eternal Students

Hello from Xela! We successfully made it here by bus on Monday morning and promptly started our studies that afternoon our respective teachers at Escuela Miguel Angel Asturias. We have classes in the morning for 5 hours each day, and in the afternoons typically the school puts on activities for us and the other five students here now. Yesterday we all went on a short walking tour (in Spanish) of the historic center of Xela, and today we all took a microbus to a beautiful park with natural hot springs in the mountains outside of town. It's actually pretty cold here, and nobody really has heating or truly hot water, so the hot springs were much appreciated.

The school is intense and the teachers are very good, but it's still very relaxed and self directed, which is ideal. We have definitely learned a lot already and hope to improve our spanish a lot more over the next week and a half, and hopefully in Honduras too!

Here in Xela, we live with a family who works with the school and has hosted many students over the past several years. It's been really fun getting to know them. Mostly we intact with our 'mom' Silvia, but we also live with her husband and their two daughters, age 18 and 21. We eat all of our meals there, and lucky for us Silvia is a great cook and they are all very nice and chat with us happily. It has been interesting to see firsthand what middle class looks like in a place like Guatemala, which is something we haven't been exposed to as much in the past. We have a warm bed, good food, and are very safe in the house, though it is small and they don't have many extraneous belongings.

Well, that's all for now - we have homework! Will post photos sometime soon.

Posted by vagabundos 16:32 Archived in Guatemala Comments (1)

Bienvenidos a Guatemala

Hola from Guatemala! Ben and I are here for 2 weeks to brush up on our medical Spanish at an immersion school before heading over to the Carribean coast of Honduras where we'll be working for 2 months at a small hospital.

We arrived in Guatemala City yesterday morning and have been relaxing here since then. We were going to try to head for our Spanish school in Quetzaltenango but it turned out that most of the town, buses included, was shut down today so we got a chance to relax. The zoo was very open and drew a ton of local people, so we followed along. It was a pretty good zoo and we had a lot of fun!

Hopefully we will update you tomorrow from Quetzaltenango once we settle in with our host family and maybe squeeze in a lesson. Happy new year to everyone!

Love,
Mariel & Ben

Posted by vagabundos 18:07 Archived in Guatemala Comments (0)

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