This week has been completely, utterly, and absolutely covered in rain! And for those of you who really know me, you know that rain and I do not get along. It’s not so much the being wet thing(which I don’t particularly like) as it is the fact that the entire sky is gray and the sun is hiding… and has been hiding for about a week now. No bueno. And beyond my petty, insignificant hatred of rain is the fact that many locals here have lost their homes and businesses due to the rising of the lake. Also, more than a dozen people around Guatemala and around Central America have died as a result of the rain – which obviously causes landslides, flooding, and sink holes… The people come together really well to help each other out, but without government aid, the roads can never be substantially rebuilt, nor can people’s homes. And the money that does come in from other countries is corruptly spent on god knows what – raising the salaries of the congress, etc.
It’s interesting – every few days I seem to play a subconscious pros and cons game between the U.S. and Guatemala. Healthcare and community-oriented environment – both seem a bit better here… but corrupt politicians really seem to seal the deal on never letting this country progress. The presidential elections are coming up which could mean a slight change, but according to my teacher, both candidates are a bit more of the same. Neither of the candidates are very focused on education(the country spends slightly over 3% compared with the U.S. approximately 5%) and with 30% of the population not able to read or write, that’s kind of a problem. Anyway, enough doom and gloom, but it’s really interesting (and sad sometimes) to learn about how a country works.
So, due to the rain, we spent a lot of time inside playing on the computer, reading, playing ukulele and eating. And when the rain would calm down for a bit, we would run around town, buying things we needed or just wandering around to keep us from going stir-crazy in the apartment. Of course, we still have our Spanish lessons as well! I finally feel like I am getting better at actually forming sentences myself. I usually have little to no problem understanding what my teacher says, but have a hard time responding back in complete and accurate Spanish sentences. On Wednesday of last week, my lessons were canceled as my teacher(who has 2 sons) had to watch her sons during our lessons because there was no school due to the storms. I took that opportunity to lay around, study Spanish a bit and make a carrot, potato, zucchini, garlic and onion soup – mostly from scratch(all except the soup stock)!
That night, we went to trivia night at El Barrio and met a local very energetic African American man with white dreadlocks and a kid from New Zealand, who joined our team. Thursday and Friday nights we didn’t and couldn’t do much, as the rain kept pouring down, but Saturday night, we had to get out!!! We went to Clover, where I had an amazing Thai soup(with tofu!!!) and Lex had some mixed Irish-style veggies and rice. We chatted with the server there, Tara, about the rain and the town, then headed to El Barrio. At El Barrio, we ended up chatting with pretty much everyone in the bar while drinking Brahva’s(beer) and cuba libres. We met the couple that owns the local Buddha Bar and they invited us to come to their place overlooking the lake(they were drunk so don’t know if it stands) and they even bought us a shot of very smooth tequila. We also talked to both the bartenders, Eric and Les about their backgrounds – Les was from Chicago but had spent time in Tempe working at Zia records – such a small world it is! Then we met another guy from Seattle who we chatted with for a while and eventually headed home a bit tipsy.
I’m reading a new book that I’m quickly going through – A Confederacy of Dunces, if anyone has read it. It’s always nice to find a book that you don’t want to put down! Lex and I also discovered a new show called “Bored to Death” that we’ve been watching episodes of when it’s raining too hard… Other than that, not much else is new. We’re looking at being here through next week and then (depending on road and rain conditions) heading to Antigua, to then make a stop in Sumpango(amazing Day of the Dead kite festival), then to Copan, Honduras, then to El Salvador to see Alexi’s grandparents! We’ll keep you updated! 🙂 Hope everyone is doing well!!! (The pics aren’t as exciting this week, as it was constantly wet and I didn’t bring my camera along too much, but I did take some pics of the rising water levels and the wet town!)