So I didn’t intend on doing a blog for this trip but as laura has kindly elected me to head the communications committee I feel I should! I also think it would be a crying shame if our little world (or whoever reads this blog!) doesn’t get to hear about this beautiful country. We arrived in Guatemala city a week ago after a very long, but relatively smooth journey. When we rocked up to the hotel we had pre booked, at 1am it looked like it hadnt been open in 20+years! As we banged frantically at the door we noticed our lovely taxi driver was waiting at the end of the street watching us. It was a moment of he’s either going to rob us or help us here, lucky it was the latter! His manly bang worked a treat as we got into this grande yet shabby hotel! After a much needed shower and a few hours sleep we were off on the road to Monterrico which would be home for 10days and where we start our Spanish lessons eeek!! This small beautiful beach town has a real Caribbean atmosphere. People chilling in Hammocks, coconut trees, Latino music – its a great vibe and 1 I could definitely get used to! We were taken to our host home and welcomed into our lovely family, Anabella and her son Pablo, as well as the pig and chickens out the back! Anabella cant speak any English, Pablo a little so we start off with the universal sign language-acting everything out! If there was a video of us trying to communicate it would be hilarious to watch! Their casa is rustic, modest and comfortable. Theres two hammocks in the living room which me and laura have our eyes on from the beginning and make full use of when we’re there! The swinging creates a nice breeze to escape the heat.
The next day we start our Spanish lessons and carry on every morning 8-12. The setting is perfect under a purpose made tree like shelter in the garden of the language school. Both our teachers are very nice local people and extremely patient with our lack of Spanish! I never realised how difficult it is to get a language! I now know what my language teacher in school was on about when he said pay attention you’ll want to know this someday! There are times iv felt very overwhelmed but each day I remember a new word or phase its giving me a lift that maybe something is going in! Having one to one time with our teachers is also teaching me a lot about the culture, history and traditions of this wonderful country. My teacher has a very relaxed and positive outlook on life. He describes life in his village as simple but good. Meeting people like this makes me realise what is important in life. The people we have come across don’t seem to have any extravagant possessions, they work hard living manly from the produce of their animals and plants yet they are very happy people. Pablo, who turned 12 a few days ago, played cars with his friends for hours out the front yesterday. They made roads in the muck used the few car toys they had and made toy cars out of anything else they could find. I watched them have so much fun and thought about 12year olds at home and how much it sometimes takes to keep them occupied. Although the people here may be deemed to some as poor, in many ways I think they are richer than some in the western world will ever be.
15th September is Guatemala’s day of independence for which there are many activities of celebration. The kids have been making costumes to parade in shows, making kites, the neighbours let off these banger type fireworks at 5am then get the music pumping until we actually have to get up at 7 (im not a great fan of that particular one!) We have been keen to take part in as many of these activities as we can so have found ourselves at 2 beauty contests in the past week! One we didn’t actually see as the electricity went off just in time! This was due to the rainstorm which there have been a few! This seems to be an exciting time of the year, the local mayor has visited the town a few times this week already which the locals are very excited about, showing their town off with pride.
No gringos (white people) live in Monterrico, only few tourists visit so I think the local people are surprised to see us here everyday! Walking up and down the street we get hola, buenas dias from nearly everyone. A bit like the star treatment I was getting in Tajikistan but not as full on! Monterrico has given us a lovely introduction to our trip. We’ve met some lovely people, know a few Spanish words, have a base of tan/burn, many mosquito bites and are somewhat acclimatised to the extreme heat! We have already gotten into our own little routine of school in morning, home for lunch, bathing suits on for a swim in the local hotel pool who are very hospitable allowing us to use their wifi, pool and showers for just one lemonade each per day, bargain! One of the towns communal uncles took us on a lovely fishing trip in a little boat along the nearby canal with some stunning views and to the poor little fish we are so sorry. I think it has given us a good start to our journey!
In a few days we will leave here and head to Antigua, another part of Guatemala where we will join our tour through more central American countries. Yo me siento muchas emocionado!! Look it up!!