As predicted in my last post, I decided to ditch Xela and find someplace else to study for the next two weeks. Because I liked Lake Atitlan so much, and because I am trying to meet up with Ben from Planet Online to explore the possibility of working for them for a few months, I decided to plan myself in San Pedro a little village on lake Atitlan. I have not been there yet but it seems to be much more like San AndrÃ©s, which I liked so much, so I’m hopeful.
On Friday morning I said goodbye to the family in Xela. I’d left a gift with my family in San AndrÃ©s after staying there two weeks, a book of pictures of California. I wanted to give my family in Xela a gift too, but I wanted to save the other book I had for the family I stayed with two weeks. So I went out and bought a ball for the little girl in the family. It was really sweet when I gave it to her. I showed it to her and told her it was a gift for her. Her eyes got really big and she immediately said a big thank you. We took it in to show her grandma and she told little Miscelita to thank me. I said, “She already thanked me, she’s a good girl.” Well, it probably didn’t sound like that with my pronounciation and hit or miss conjugations, but no matter how broken the Spanish, a compliment always makes a grandmother happy.
I tried to meet up with the Seed of Hope people at a fundraiser, but it turned out it was sold out! That’s good for them, but bad for me. I hit a pizza place instead and ran into a girl I met in San AndrÃ©s there. She was part of a group called LEAP Now, which is mostly for people between high school and college. She was the one I liked the most from her tour group, so it was lucky she’s the one I ran into. We chatted all through dinner. Sounds like the group is undergoing some problems right now… maybe by the time you read this someone will have been voted off the island! Hope not, even the bozos were all pretty good kids. But boy did they make me feel old and wise. Jeeze.
So Friday was taken up by travel all the way to the southernmost city on the Pacific coast (at least on my Lonely Planet map). Monterico is a vacation hotspot for Guatemaltans and backpackers alike. I stayed in a great new hotel that is not in any of the books, Hotel Brisa del Mar. It is one block off the black sand beach, and being brand new is really clean and pretty. If anyone is reading this and planning on visiting Monterico, I heartily recommend it. The hotel’s restaurant, however, is a different story. The service there was a bit spotty, and the food wasn’t anything to really crave. It was clean, and the portions were good, but I’d recommend looking around for food other places.
The hotel is built in little bungalos with three rooms and three doors per bungalo. It turns out both my neighbors in the other two rooms in my bungalo were heading to the same language school in Xela. What’s even crazier is that one of them had just come from my next school in San Pedro! So we turned into a little group to travel today. I went with them north as far as Escuintla, then took a different bus onwards. The girl who had been at my school warned me of some problems she had, and given her experience I know what to watch out for and speak up about. It would have been nice for her to say, “My week there was perfect!”, but it is helpful to hear the other side of things too. Even if my week turns out like hers, I’d probably stay. She moved on partly for her own reasons.
Right now I am in Panajachel taking a little break from traveling to get money and do Internet stuff. I suspect San Pedro will be off the net like San AndrÃ©s, so I need to check in now. Ok, I just got around to reading the book and it turns out San Pablo has a bank and Internet access afterall. No harm stopping here, it is on the way anyway; there are water taxis to San Pedro from here. I need to be in San Pedro tonight at 6 pm to meet my family.
Look forward to a second language on this website (and in these emails) this week, as I plan to assign myself a new homework assignment: write an entry in Spanish every day for the next two weeks. Here is a teaser and a reminder to myself of things I want to write about: fincas en la camino a Panajachel, y el mar Pacifico del Guatemala. Nesecitar otre topics, etonces ellos deben pregundar!
Off I go to prove another of Jeff’s travel tips once again: any trip which is possible in a boat or a bus is better taken in the boat!