Well this blog thing is only gonna get better...I swear. Working on getting my photos and videos of Guatemala on here. Poco, poco, poco y mas. As my last spanish teacher Gato likes to say.
I´ve been here in Xela for 3 weeks taking language classes. It´s amazing how much one can learn in a short span of time. One on one classes with a teacher for 4 and a half hours Monday through Friday. It´s intense. The first week was overwelming. I had a headache every damn day and was physically exhausted. I think getting used to the altitude also contributed to this majorly. (Not sure if the mojitos by the jugs that we discovered and fell in love with at El Cuarlito helped either.) The second and third week were better and I started feeling more comfortabe talking to my host family and others in spanish after 3-4 days. The problem now is I´ve learned all the different tenses and keep getting them confused. I plan on doing lots of reviewing and practicing in the next few weeks. I´m giving myself 2 months to feel semi-competent in spanish...we´ll see. Xela is an amazing place to study. Friendly people, lots to see and do in the surrounding areas. My school is I.C.A (no clue what it stand for) very professional teachers. You get placed with a family, which is a little strange. Everyone I´ve talked to seems to like their family and everyone´s home is of course different. I´ve had the privelege of being in 2 different homes. They both had their positive and negative aspects but overall it´s been good.
Another great thing about the school is that you meet lots of other travellers that really want to learn and practice spanish. The school also has daily activities. My favorites were hiking Volcan Santa Maria. Pretty steep hike 3 1/2 to 4 hours up and 2-3 hours down. We took all day Saturday leaving at 6AM (I got up at 5:55, ran to the school convinced they would leave my butt behind. Thankfully they waited for me and everyone in the back of the truck thought it would be funny to take pictures of me brushing my teeth hanging out the back of the truck -- hey if anyone reading this has a picture of that PLEASE send me a copy, I wasn´t in the mood to be bothered that morning, but now I´d appreciate it) Lots of natural springs and saunas from the many volcanoes. Salsa lessons (that end in lots of drinks at the bar). Visting local towns, seeing how they make the beatiful crafts;textiles, clothing, bags. Amazing. The hand made pieces are gorgeous and lots of people come to the school to sell them. I feel bad because I want to help support these families directly, but many of the rugs and pieces are big and I don´t have much (any) room for extra stuff. My brother gave me a great idea. Buy small pieces from each contry I visit and make a quilt of all of them pieced together when I get home. BRILLANT! I´ve been sharing that one with other travellers.
One of the most fun night was going to a concert. OK we were told Buena Vista Socail Club was playing a show here because apparently a couple of the memebers live here in Guatemala. Actually it was just 2 members from the group, but still an awesome show. I danced my ass off, drank lots of rum and apparently was the life of the evening (couldn´t live that down all week at school). Good times.
Tomorrow I´m off to San Pedro and amking my way to Tikal. I´m VERY excited to check out tikal. Amazing ruins set in the rainforest with all kinds of wild life. Looking forward to bonding with howler monkeys! Freaking howler monkeys. Can´t wait, I wonder who will howler louder, me or them... I hear the spider monkeys are pretty freaking cool too. Diablo si! (My new phrase for hell´s yeah.)
Plans beyond that are very vague. Start heading south through Honduras and Nicaragua planning on being in Costa Rica buy December 15 or so. Pictures to come soon...stay posted.