Hot Steam, Hot Chocolate, Icy Russians
Trip Start Jul 04, 2010
163Trip End May 10, 2011
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"10. IT TAKES ITS PRECAUTIONS WHEN LAWERING OF THE BUNKS
11. IT DEPOSITS THE SWEEPINGS IN ITS PLACE
13. TIME ON THE WATEH 1 HOUE, OPPOSITE CASE WILL RETURN SURPLUS TO HIM"
A visit to Doctor Julio: A crown popped off one of Michelle's teeth. She considered taking a quick flight back to the states to have it fixed but decided to consult with a local dentist first. Bonifacio highly recommended his dentist, Julio. Michelle scheduled a 'cleaning' just to get to know Julio and to judge if he seems capable. He has a receptionist but other than her, he is a one man show. The chair and other dental equipment in Julio's office is pretty modern which gives Michelle confidence. The lamp wasn't saran wrapped but Julio washed his hands and put on surgical gloves.....all good.....he then took a look and told Michelle, he doesn't see any damage and could just clean the crown and cement it back into place. He does it immediately. His bill is 100Q ($12.50) which Michelle gives him and Julio puts it in his wallet. She rescheduled the cleaning for another day.
Dave's Spanish teacher, Claudia, had recommended the Museo y Café Luna as a great place have hot chocolate. We finally went there one evening and discovered we had tried this place years ago..... It brings back memories. The 'Museo' in the Café's title must refer to the collection of antiques, and just plain ol' junk, decorating the place. Old radios, telephones, money, cameras, etc. What is really impressive, is that these items, hundreds and hundreds of them, are dust free!
The real treat is the hot chocolate... They have a wonderful selection and Michelle savors the one that is so thick, they serve it with a spoon.... Dave has one of the thinner varieties and it too is delicious. "Bar tender, how about another round?"
Lunch is the big meal of the day and Michelle offered to prepared a lunch for the family and us. She wanted to come up with something special and succeeded with Chicken a l'Orange, brown rice with ginger, toasted almonds, onion and celery. and snow peas.
Michelle loves to accompany Magali to the market and it is made better to be there for a purpose like getting the stuff for the special meal. Magali has her favorite stalls and picks only the best fruits and vegetables. She bargains hard. (snow peas 3Q per pound) She buys things for the restaurant, mostly in bulk and with very little packaging to throw away. After selecting mounds of vegetables, she left all the items at one of her stalls. When we were ready to go home, she paid a guy to cart the pile of purchases to her car parked on a narrow alley two streets off the market. Magali is one of few indigenous women with a car and a license. Magali mentioned she feels discriminated against on the road. Men cut her off or yell things like "women shouldn't be allowed on the roads", etc… Most cars parked on the streets of Xela have a ‘Club’ lock on the steering wheel for added security.
The special meal is a rousing success. It is their first time tasting the snow peas, orange marmalade, or brown rice. Magali prepared mojitos for Michelle and herself well Bonifacio cracked a beer for Dave and himself.
More interesting People in Xela: On Friday, Michelle went back to the Bake Shop to pick up goat yogurt. The Bake Shop is a Mennonite run store near La Democracia market in Xela. While enjoying a fig filled dough nut type pastry and delicious Guatemalan coffee (quite a treat), she struck up a conversation with Jose and Kim from Washington. Both are professors at a university there and are leading a group of students on a 3 month study tour. They are studying agricultural practices while working on farms. The students (mostly) have had bouts with traveler's diarrhea too. They mentioned that when sick, you can go to any lab in the city and have stool tested for 15Q. That way you can fight whatever you have with right medication.
The other ice breaker was a session of singing songs - in Spanish. Groups were formed to perform previously selected popular Spanish songs. Some groups upped the ante by adding dancing as well. It was all very bad but the students supported each other and seemed to have an embarrassingly good time. (We bailed early at 10:30)
Saturday, Bonifacio & Magali drove us over to her parent's house for lunch. A brother, his wife and new baby were down for the weekend from Guatemala City where he works for a Danish power plant company as an engineer. Her sister lives nearby and came over too. The parents are elderly but fit, energetic and hospitable. Their house is filled with plants and is cozy. The woman congregated in the large kitchen and served up the soup and hibiscus drink. For some reason Magaly had brought a stirfry dish for us and it felt a little odd to be eating a different meal than everybody else. The living room wall is covered with diplomas their kids have earned.They all have gone to the University and have good educations and jobs.
Our Blue Angel Video Cafe has two ‘video’ rooms where they show videos nightly for 10Q per person. Sunday afternoon, Dave watched the NFL playoffs on one of the nice TV's and hatched a plan for a Super Bowl party two weeks away. With all the Americans in Xela, he was sure we can fill the place up. Bonefacio and Magali like the idea and Dave put together a flier on the computer to advertise the event.
What did you do this week?