Despues la enfermadad

Trip Start Feb 24, 2006
Trip End Mar 26, 2006

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Flag of Guatemala  ,
Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Hola Yaīll,
sorry for not updating everyone for a few days, been fairly busy. On Thursday I was feeling much better. Wendesday night I felt like crap again so I did not go dancing with anyone. Just did my tarea and went to sleep. Thursday I went to a small market with a girl named Laura from Ireland and Bethany from the Rhode Island (she works on a lobster boat). We went to a market on the other side of town on a small microbus, with craploads of people. We got there close to 5pm and most of the stores were closing. Laura wanted to by a futball jersey for her brother. I really didnīt see much. I need hints from family and friends what want they want me to compro... I bought potatoes for the dinner on Friday with the school, the other girls also bought produce for Friday. Afterwards I went and played futbol with the other students in what was a soccer field that looked like an innercity basketball court. No grass and pretty small (thank god). I ran so much, and I am NOT very good at the futbol. It was fun though, this week it will be estudiantes vs. los maestros. I went home and finally had a shower after about 4 days. I know gross, pero, it is way to freakin cold in the morning to take a shower. Also I end up washing my hair like once a week. These shower contraptions are muy loco! The only way the scary heater will work is if the water comes out in a very, very small stream. Not good for those of us with long hair! Later I met Laura and we went to eat at restaurant that was called the Blue Angel Video and Cafe. They show movies in the back. I had a veggie burrito with queso (an slice of american cheese-very strange). Later we met some other students at a bar for a beer, we were going to go salsa dancing at a place called Kokolocoīs, but it was empty. We all talked about our home stays. There were two other American chicks there (I decided to name them Ļthe pissed off American GirlsĻ). These chicks bitched about their teachers, their homestay, everything. It was quite ridiculous.

The next day on Friday was the weekly graduacion party at the school. This week the students had to make typical food from the home countries. I had no clue what to make, I donīt eat typical food from the U.S. what is that? hamburgers and fried chicken? I decided after speaking with Mildred (mi maestra) to make french fries. We went to a small grocery store by the parque central and I bought oil and ketchup. After class I went with Laura and walked around to different book stores, and to a scarve shop where I bought a clothing item that looks like a poncho/scarve/blanket. Very warm, since I have been freezing my ass off. Then I went home to make my papas fritas. Oh I also bought some chocolate pura for Yoli since she was nice to me when I was sick. She also ended up helping me peel and cut the potatoes, and cook them. I guess I had not cooked for a lot of people in a while and I thought when you dumped a whole bowl full of potatoes in oil they would cook quickly. 30 minutes later we seperated the fries into about 3 different pans. Yoli probably thought I was the worst cook ever, since I apparently did not even know how to cook fries! I took the fries to the school. I think most of the North American students cooked things from the U.S.-pasta, grilled cheese. But the students from Denmark and Switzerland made tacos, queso, guacamole, and one bought pizza! It was really fun, the teachers were all singing. There was a huge long tables set up with soda and liters of gallo beer. It was great. I went and sat down by Laura and her sister (who came to visit before Laura left to Mexico tomorrow, her sister works in a neighboring village). I decided tomorrow I was going to climb another volcano. This is called Chicobal, and is no longer an active volcano as there is a lake now in itīs mouth. The point of this is I had to get up early again and be ready to leave by 6:30a.m. Laura and her sister wanted to go get a beer somewhere else after the little fiesta at the school. Now we all know what happened after the last beer and volcano mix. I decided to go for only a couple, and had to say goodbye around 11:30pm. They were great chicks, I think my humour is right along side the Irish! Very blunt and funny.

The next day I climbed Chicobal. Now I decided to do this only because I was told it was a lot shorter and easier than Pacaya. It was shorter. Oh my freaking God it was steep. There was no rest, and it was extra hard because the dirt was loose. Fell once on the way up there and once on the way down (I actually thought that I was going to tumble down head over heels). When we got to the top the lake view was beautiful, and on the other side were two more beautiful volcanoes. Now the really, really scary part was the descent down to the lake. Since it was lower than the top of this old volcano we had to descend oh, about 600 steps. Steep, Scary steps. I wish I had a picture, my legs were shaking so bad from the descent and I was trying to hang on to the rail with a death like grip the whole way down. At the bottom was the lake. It was very beautiful and cold. We had lunch and our guide with the school, Ronaldo, spoke of the Mayan rituals that used to and still take place there. Swimming is not allowed. He then talked about the time he was a guerrilla in the mountains and of the animals they would eat. One being armadillo, and somehow I was able to communicate about the disease this animal carries. I couldnīt remeber if it was leprosy or lime disease. I explained leprosy as little parts of your body die (en espaņol). The maestra who went with us was pretty grossed out. Afterwards we went through a different route to the bottom, thank god we did not have to go up those steps, there is no freakin way I would have made it up them. I have some really pretty pictures of the descent. On the way back I was talkin with a couple of other students about starving and not wanting to eat the food at home. So we decided to go to a bar/restraunt. They had pizza and I had a huge cheese baguette with lettuce and tomatoes(which I really am not supposed to eat the raw vegetables, but it was really good-Iīm not sick yet and that was Saturday). I ate the whole damn sandwich, it was awesome. The people who I ate with are Becca (who is building a boat with her boyfriend and some friends and are going to sail from Washington to Alaska, and David who is an older pastor, from Seattle who is currently not preaching. I am always amazed by the people I meet.
Before I went out Francisco and Yoli asked me a question I was not very clear on. They asked me if on Sunday if I wanted to get up at 5 in the morning to go ??? I thought the were saying ĻacostarĻ which means to cost. So I asked are we going to a small market? They said it was similar. I told them they could knock on my door at 5 in the morning and I would say si' or no, and they were fine with that. I tried asking other people what they were talking about, but nobody could figure it out. They all told me to go, and I should sleep later, but 5:00am??!! I donīt know about that. Later that night me and Becca met about 14 other students (half who are apperently all from Denmark)for dinner and a fiesta at an organizacion called Entre Mundos (they run a free political newspaper in Xela). We had a lot of fun I spent most of the dinner talking to this crazy gay Australian guy. We had paella and apparently we had to wait two hours for the dinner, although we were the only ones in the restaurant. At the party I danced with Patrick, the Australian, and some otros hombres-Cubano(donīt tell Prez. Bush) and some Guatemaltecos. It was fun.

So the next day is Sunday and 5am rolls around, and perhaps I had a little too much to drink because I could not find the light when Yoli knocked on the door. At that point I had to say no to her. I asked her if they were still going to go and she said no. I was really confused. I slept in, it was nice not having to get up before 7am. At lunch she had made Chinese! food. I met the middle son of Fransico, named Walter heīs about 40 and divorced for a couple of years. He is an artist and asked me if I wanted to go see his paintings at his apartment later, and I said sure. I hung out with him for about 3 hours. (And just in case anyone has forgotten these conversations that take place with nonstudents are solo en espaņol!) He showed me some of his smaller paintings and then two of his larger murals. Very cool, one was of the crucifixion, and the other the story of Abraham when he was going to sacrifice his son, and the angel stopped him. These murals are for one of the processions in April for Easter. I asked him about where his Dad and Yoli may have wanted to take me and it seems it was a place near the coast. Unbeknownst to me I am like only a couple of hours away from the coast. I feel bad now, it probably would have been neat to go. Afterwards I went back to the house to study a little bit, and decided I needed more small index cards. I didnīt know what stores would be open on Sunday, so I asked Yoli and Walter and he said he would show me, this was around 6 or so. After we bought the cards he showed me around to a lot of the buildings. He seems to really enjoy the architecure of Xela. Earlier he was telling me that a lot of the big buildings are Greek inspired along with the statues. I mean the big market is called Minerva, and there is a huge structure that resembles the parthenon. We happened upon one of the religious processions. These processions are going on every sunday from churches preparing for Semana Santa (Easter) in April. Their were really only men in black robes in the procession, and holding up the huge float with Jesus carrying the cross.

Monday at school I met my new teacher Rosario. She is a Senora Grande, with 4 boys 24-15 years of age. She is absolutely adorable and she gives more homework than Mildred. After lunch I went back to the school to watch a documentarty on Guatemalans during the war from 3-4pm. Afterwards I went with Becca to a cafe called Luna cafe. It is so beautiful. I went there Sunday night but forgot my money so I just sat in there and wrote, pero it super sucked because they sell all types of chocolateī (hot chocolate)! I had no desire to walk all the way back home so... it sucked. But Monday I had some chocolate pura. Very sweet and awesome. I talked with Becca till about 6 and we both needed to go home and eat and do our homework.

Tuesday at the school was a confrence given by a Comadrona (a midwife), and yes Dawn they do workshops...:)! It was actually one of the most interesting conferences given. We got to see all the herbs they used to relieve pain. These women actually have the only birth center in all of Guatemala, which was built with donations from midwives from the U.S. The women get prenatal care from the beginning of their birth, every month till 40 days after they have given birth. The midwives use this time to educate the women on birth control practices. They are actually going to try to start sex education with the younger children, but it is hard with the huge presence of the Catholic and Angelican churches. The women in Guatemala prefer going to midwives because the hospitals still treat them poorly, especially the Mayan women who do not speak spanish, and the doctors do not speak their language. Women become midwives through family tradition, or they decide for themselves to learn through the workshops. Later that day I went on field trip to Salcajal. I got to ride my first chicken bus (1940īs school bus, painted in crazy colors, packed with crap loads of people). They have a weaving cooperative there, which I thought would have a lot of women, but I only saw men. We saw the beginning process of dyeing to the huge looms they use to weave. We also saw the oldest church in Guatemala (not sure if it is Central America). We also were able to buy ĻCaldo de FrutaĻ, which is very strong wine made of different fruits (Walter told me it is similiar in strength to whiskey!), so I bought two little bottles! Party time when I get back into town! On the way back on the bus I was sitting by myself and a man got up and moved next to me. He moved closer to let someone sit down, but no one did. Now I know these seats in America are only meant for 2 kids, and here in Guatemala they are use to three adults. Now the problem for me was there was no one sitting down and I could feel this manīs arm on my boob. I was like Jesus! this guy needs to freakin move over. Finally I said ĻPodria movir, graciasĻ (Could you move, thanks) Now I donīt know if I was being rude or not, but as far as I was concerned if no one is going to sit next to us, he didnīt have to be up on my ass! After the trip, and talking to Becca about pizza, all I wanted was pizza and I did not want to eat eggs and beans for dinner again. So I told Yoli not to make me dinner, and she assumed I was going to eat with friends, and I said sure(although I was planning on studying and eating by myself, not completely dishonest as I was meeting people later to watch a movie). The pizza was the best thing ever, especially after beans and eggs for dinner.

Wendesday was Dia de la mujer- day of the woman. We had some music, cake, and chocolate at the school. There was a march in the square and some events going on at this beautiful theater. It is all solid wood inside, three stories, and circular. Later that night I got to go dancing again, a little merengue, reggaton. Iīm debating on taking salsa classes, although I know how, I should probably learn how to let the man lead...

Today is Thursday, not much going on except futbol. Tomorrow I am taking a trip with the school in the morning to a place called San Francisco which apparently is the biggest mercado in all of central america, you can buy textiles, food, and even a goat if I wanted to. Afterwards, I plan on going to this apparently awesome Mennonite bakery, and we have another graduacion, this time I donīt have to cook. We get to eat typical Guatemalan food (I hope to God it is not beans and eggs). And I think I may go to Chichicastenago on Saturday which is a large mercado also to buy gifts for my peeps, (This one is supposed to be more touristy).
Well that should catch everyone up for now. I will download more pictures later, the stupid computer takes too long.
Paz y amor!
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