What a week! It always seems that right before you leave a place, everything gets a bit crazier – you do more fun things, meet more cool new people and just kind of attack things because you know you won’t be there much longer. I’d say this week was like that! Sunday night we indeed went to Hummus-Ya where Alexi got to play drums with a band and I drank 2 glasses of wine, ate Italian-style cheese pizza and talked to the Hungarian violin player and a few other guys. After their set, I also convinced Lex to play a song that he wrote on guitar and I sang back-up vocals with him – it went over quite well! There were also some other really talented musicians from Guatemala, Belgium, and Hungary – it’s amazing to see how much talent there is all over the world.
We did our usual school routine, which has been going really well. I’m feeling pretty good about my Spanish – it’s not perfect, but I can hold a decent conversation with someone. I’m definitely ready to put it to use and to have a break from homework! Monday we walked around town, taking pictures of our little town and found a sweet spot by the water to sit and reflect for a bit. Lago de Atitlan is seriously one of the most(if not the most) beautiful lakes in the world. If you ever want to retire and live by a lake and spend a couple thousand for your land, come here! We also had possibly the best licuados(smoothies) in the world, right before class. I had a strawberry chocolate one and Lex had a banana peanut butter one – yum!
Tuesday we walked around some more, did some grocery shopping for the week and found a new, amazing restaurant right on the water where I had a veggie curry and a banana smoothie and Lex had a veggie burrito! The food in this town is amazing! Tuesday night I watched Motorcycle Diaries with some classmates – I always forget how beautiful and moving that movie is. Wednesday, after class they were giving free salsa lessons, so Lex and I went down and stumbled through some salsa. I don’t often do dances that require steps, but when I do, I remember that I’m pretty bad at them. We had to switch partners a lot, so we just about got it down and got to chat with a few other students at our school, while dancing! We then headed to quiz night at El Barrio where we teamed up with a young, rowdy girl and her friend Nick. Somehow, with 3 fairly drunk teammates(I stayed fairly sober), we won 2nd place(after a tie-breaker question for 2nd/3rd that I somehow guessed the answer to). Our win gave us a free boat ride around the lake on Friday with Captain Jack, an Australian that’s lived in Guatemalan for 8 years! I don’t think we did anything too noteworthy on Thursday… at least that I can remember.
Friday was a day! We woke up early, got ready and headed down to the Santiago dock with a bottle of rum, some soda and some chips for the boat ride! We met up with our other 2 teammates and managed to find Captain Jack. We got on board and went on a magical boat ride around Lago de Atitlan, sipping rum and cokes and talking about how beautiful Central America is. We cruised over to San Marcos and sat in the sun on rocks while the other 2 jumped off a high dive platform into the lake. We then cruised around the lake some more, got our feet wet, went swimming and sunbathed in the warm sun! We finally had to head back to get to class, so we said goodbye at the dock and made plans to go with Captain Jack to Sumpango(for the Day of the Dead kite festival) on Tuesday, as we wanted to head there anyway! We then went to our last 3 hours of Spanish class which were good but it was sad to say goodbye to our teachers.
After class, the teachers had asked us if we wanted to play in a teachers/students soccer game… I was stoked and a bit scared as it had been an extremely long time since I’d played, but I was excited nonetheless. When we got to the little field(went in the back of a pick-up truck with about 10 of us standing back there), it looked like I was the only girl that wanted to play and I was worried that they might not let me. However, I went onto the field and no one said a word. We played 5 against 5, with 3 teams, so when one team scored a goal, the losing team would switch out. Dang, was it exhausting! One team(of all teachers) was incredibly good and kept scoring every time. After about 45 minutes or so, though, our gringo team started making a comeback and doing really well. It’s amazing how good our teachers were at soccer, but I was also impressed by some of the students! It was fun, but after a day in the sun and playing soccer, I was pooped! We then went out to a restaurant called Ventana Blue, which is owned by, I believe a gay couple – a Guatemalan and an ex-pat from San Francisco! It was a bit pricey(about $5/plate) but we had delicious Asian food and a candlelit, lovely atmosphere! We then dragged our exhausted selves to meet up with a few of the other soccer players at a pub nearby, where we watched the last few minutes of the world series and drank Brahva beer. We went to bed very sleepy but content!
Yesterday(Friday) we slept in a bit, ate some cereal, then headed off to find someone that would take us on a horseback ride! When we walked past El Barrio, we saw Captain Jack from the boat ride and he recommended that we find his friend Pedro, as he is a good guy and has the best horses in town. After saying goodbye to Jack, we started walking along the road and along came Pedro – perfect timing! After a price negotiation, we hopped on the horses and a-riding we went! I was on Lolo, Alexi on Cinnamon and we rode through town and along a side road leading out of town. We then climbed up some hills(maybe even part of a mountain), seeing beautiful green countryside and an amazing view of the lake. When we got to the top, Pedro asked us(all in Spanish of course), if we wanted to get off the horses and hike down to a nearby beach. We definitely said yes and after about 10 minutes, we were staring at a beautiful beach(albeit small because of the rising lake) that apparently only locals knew about. We talked to Pedro about how the high unemployment rate in Guatemala is (according to him close to 50%!) and felt a bit Che Guevaraish in Motorcycle Diaries as he told us about the problems in Guatemala. We then hiked back up, got back on the horses and rode back home.
After that, we relaxed at home a bit and packed and then went to Clover one last time for their amazing veggie pizza. We then went to El Barrio where we had drinks and chatted with some other students. There were actually quite a few people dressed up for Halloween – mostly gringos, of course, but it was fun to see! This morning we woke up, hopped on a shuttle and kissed San Pedro goodbye as we headed to Antigua. It was a bumpy ride and I got a bit sick to my stomach but we are now in Antigua at the Yellow House Hostel! Weee!
Lots of pictures this time! They go relatively in order with the writing… Let me know if you want to hear stories behind any of them… the first few are around the school and the outside of our apartment(there is one pic of a 3 story building – our apartment is the one on top). Blog ya soon!