I’ve been in Guatemala for about 30 hours now and the experiences I’ve had so far have been more than amazing! Antigua is about a 1-hour drive from Guatemala City and is known to be the safest city in all of Guatemala. The roads here are made of very, very uneven cobble stones and the city almost has a European feel to it. Antigua is in the mountains and surrounded by 3 volcanoes: agua, fuego and acatenanga. From my understanding, fuego and acatenanga are active volocanoes.
The home I am staying at is about a 15-minute walk from the center of the city which is marked by Central Park. I have my own room and a semi-private bath. The family I am staying with is more than welcoming. Senora Irma does all the cooking for us – each meal is different and much tastier than I was expecting! Senora Cornelia is the lady of the house, she is 85 years old and sells wooden characters at the central market. Senora Cornelia’s son, Senor Sergio, stops by sometimes to see how we are doing. I practice my Spanish with him mostly because he is “borado”…which means a funny, loud person (which he definitely is!). I have one roommate right now. Her name is Manon and she is from Holland. She’s very warm and friendly and I’m enjoying having her as a housemate very much! I also have a furry roommate, a small dog whose name I can’t remember. He isn’t allowed in the house…but for some reason he is very fond of hanging out on the roof! The roof has an aluminum topping so when he runs it can be very noisy, especially in the mornings when I am sleeping and I jolt because I think the ceiling is about to cave in!
What I’ve seen so far…
As soon as I got to Antigua, I unpacked a few of my things and head out to explore the city. I walked around and absorbed everything my senses could take in. After purchasing a cellphone ($25 for the phone and 100 minutes with free incoming SMS and calls!), I bought myself a bolsa (purse) since the one I had broke at the airport, I people-watched and head back home for a quick nap. In the evening, Manon had plans to meet up with a girl from our Spanish school, Marie. Marie is Canadian and she is traveling solo as well, but for 8-months! I was invited to come along so we went out from some cervezas and margaritas. After a few drinks, listening to some of Gustalvo’s beautiful music (a musician we met at the bar) and fighting off the Presidentes secretary (or so he said), we head over for some salsa dancing at a local bar. We shook our rumps with some Guates who turned out to be leading a project for an NGO (Ninos de Guatemala…children of Guatemala). They are opening up a school for families who can’t afford to send their kids to school. It turns out that it costs $260 a month per child for kindergarten here! SO – on Monday I will start volunteering after my clase de espanol! I might be able to provide some occupational therapy based interventions for the kids. Charly and his amigo said the kids are having trouble with playing. I can’t believe the exciting start to my trip. I can only imagine how the rest is going to unfold!