A Travellerspoint blog

Back to school back to school

After spending 4 days splashing in the warm ocean waves we decided to began to be a bit more productive. We took a week of intensive Spanish lessons daily however, it would be very foolish to allow class to cut into our drinking, beach lounging and body surfing (we learned something in college). We also began to "teach English" to the children of Candelaria, a nearby town. Daily we went to Candelaria to teach los ninos the English language. I am happy to say I feel we learned much more Spanish than they did English. Although, playing duck duck goose and hide and seek with these children was great fun, the real fun began with the hallowed out eggs stuffed with colored confetti for smashing on other's heads. After a week of intense Spanish lessons and teaching English, we explored where the magroved river met the ocean. The next stop was cowboy ville for some homemade rum, cigars and cheese. After 6 buses, 4 vans, 1 truck and 1 ferry we finally made our way to Zacapa but sadly found no rum, no cigars and no cheese, just an abundance of the guatemalan staples: fried chicken and french fries. After many breif stops we made it to the Caribbean coast, home to Garifuna culture and lots of wild animals in restaurants, hotels and roads. Tonight we are hoping to hear live Garifuna music played on drums and turtle shells while drinking the spicy local liquor.

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Posted by paigejohn 13:48 Archived in Guatemala Comments (2)

Retirement

We decided to spend our last few days at the lake back where we started, on the property of an old Mayan man named Don Pedro, a.k.a. Donny P. The language barrier was somewhat serious because, just like us, Spanish was his second language. We still greatly enjoyed our time with him, and found that a little corn liquor is great for taking down barriers of all sorts, including the language ones. We ate and cooked with their family, and went on fuelwood collecting missions in the steep, dusty hills that ring the town. Our time wasn't completely authentic, we found time to eat chilidogs and drink bad beer by the buckets while watching the superbowl.
From there, our mission was to make it out to the coast of Guatemala, a more difficult feat than it first appeared. Depending on who you talked to, there were either no more buses for the day, there was going to be a bus in 2 or 4 hours but it would have to make so many stops we couldn't make it all the way in one day, or they had no idea. There was only one man we could trust, the taxi driver who told us the only way to get out to the coast was by taxi. Anyhow, we ended up taking two days to get out to Monterrico, and are counting our blessings that we chose this to be the setting for our language school and our next two or so weeks.
The only thing that doesn't move slow here are the waves, which are some seriously BIG water. A strong undertow and a near vertical crest-to-trough gradient make it hard to swim, but sometimes it can make you feel like you are walking on the moon (source needed). This works in our favor because the black sand beach is, for all intents and purposes, vacant, and lined with royal palms. The beach spills into the bar at our hotel, and from there it is a quick walk past the pool into town, which seems to exist solely to sell coconuts, fruit, ceviche, and cheap beer.
We are not restricted to lounging and beach life, because Monterrico is right next door to a few National Protected Areas which are great for exploring. We started off today by touring mangroves by moonlight in a small row boat. The wake up call at our hotel (from a one-eyed Spanish speaking parrot named Pirata) helped get us out of bed at 4:30. The mangroves we toured were filled with cows, four-eyed jumping fish, pelicans, caimans, turtles, iguanas, and seemed equal parts Wyoming, the PNW coast, Vietnam, and The Land Before Time.

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Posted by paigejohn 09:48 Archived in Guatemala Comments (3)

Pressure Drop

We came to Guatemala with no concrete plans in mind, except for a hospital visit in Central America's largest city. After some spanglish was exchanged at knife point (the doctor's knife), we set out for a lake formed some 80 thousand years ago by the eruption of a supervolcano. The main forms of transportation around the lake (boat rides and hanging off the back of pickup trucks stuffed with 10+ people) are suprisingly entertaining, which is great because we have called three different places home in the last 5 days. We don't yet have plans for tomorrow, but our next main move is to head to the coast to work on our spanish. Also, we know we will be in Belize City on March 23rd...or something like that... to pick up Molly and Kevin Schoenvogel!!

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Posted by paigejohn 17:24 Archived in Guatemala Comments (3)

P.S.

After 82 days, 7 countries, and a near-technical circumnavigation of the globe, we have decided Japan is the place for us. We put in a quick pic of our new abode. Sayonara.
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Posted by paigejohn 20:36 Comments (0)

Tour Stories

Heliophilia

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Posted by paigejohn 08:01 Comments (1)

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