A Travellerspoint blog

Festival fun in the park!

Yesterday was a holiday (honoring St. James - I think). There was a parade in the park that lasted ALL day. Music groups playing, fire crackers going off randomly (and LOUD), just a spectacle everywhere you looked. Baylie and I went in the morning with our teachers. I'm sure they had very good intentions of explaining everything to us about the festivities, but it was so loud and crowded that really couldn't happen so we all just watched the parade. After class Baylie and I ate lunch at a little stall with some plastic tables outside that finally seemed to be the most local food we have eaten so far. No menu - just a couple of choices from what they were cooking at the outside kitchen. We had a dish called pepian and some very thick tortillas we watched the lady make. Very good! Like we have encountered in other places where tourists are found...you can get italian food, pizza, sandwiches, thai food, chinese, "continental" cuisine...but good luck finding a restaurant that serves a truly local menu.

We finally managed to all eat together for dinner. Shawn has been off exploring every day so we end up doing our own thing, but yesterday we all were home in the afternoon so we went back to the park and watched more of the festival. The greased pole climbing contest was especially entertaining! After some sandwiches and the one local thing that is easy to find - Guacamole (YUM!), we grabbed some desserts and sat in the park for a while. Some of the most amazing boysenberries grow on the hillsides around here and Shawn and Baylie made the best dessert choices, mine was ok but I should have gone for berries.
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Posted by Pelham Family 05:35 Archived in Guatemala Comments (4)

Extreme Brain Drain

So I sit for four hours a day across a small table from a very nice woman named Paulina and for the entire four hours I concentrate harder than I have ever concentrated before. Every bit of the very involved and complicated conversation is in Spanish. When she goes over rules of grammar or some new expression, the explanation is in Spanish. When I'm done for the day I discover that I can't think successfully in EITHER language. I really can't identify any one specific new thing that I have learned. I have definitely practiced every scrap of what I already knew, but I think this total immersion thing is for those people with some sort of natural knack for picking up languages. I need books, lists, organized lessons, Mrs. Charlesworth's verb conjugation worksheets from my high school Spanish class would be a welcome relief...this method of just magically absorbing knowledge simply because I am drowning in it is killing me!
On the other hand, Baylie sits on the beautiful rooftop with her nice young teacher and plays games...she's having a lovely time :)

Posted by Pelham Family 05:30 Archived in Guatemala Comments (2)

Rookie mistake...again!

Well we found the grocery store. It was extremely crowded and kind of chaotic on Sunday evening and it is pretty far from our place so I knew we would need to take a taxi back with our groceries. When we finally tumbled out from the mob of people at the checkout with our overloaded box full of stuff we grabbed the closest tuk tuk. I guess that’s how we know we are traveling again – we’re back in a tuk tuk bouncing along bad roads! Anyway, everyone knows you negotiate the price up front. When we got to the apartment, the 15 quetzales that it should have cost turned into 15 EACH. At this point I could stand there and argue over the principal of the extra $4, or just accept that this was my dumb mistake for not making the price clear before getting in. There are now tuk tuk drivers in four countries happily remembering the stupid American woman who just paid whatever exorbitant price they told her.

By the way, there are new pictures in the photo gallery.

Posted by Pelham Family 06:12 Archived in Guatemala Comments (2)

Finally Traveling Again!

Buenos dias Guatemala

Baylie will be taking Spanish this year and has had no introduction at all and I have always wanted to take some language classes in a foreign country, so I started looking at programs for studying Spanish for a few weeks. Antigua, Guatemala has become quite a hub of Spanish language schools and we hadn't been here yet so I just picked it sort of at random. I guess it's not a typical summer vacation destination - more than one person has asked what there is to do here - but I wasn't looking for a week on a beach this time.

I booked us three weeks in a one bedroom apartment four blocks south of the main town square. The pictures looked great, but you really never know. When I arranged the rental through email I also paid for pick-up at the airport. Well, we walked out of the airport in Guatemala City...no nice pre-arranged ride to be seen...hmmm. Kind of a letdown to search the crowd for your name on a little sign and not find it. I wondered if the apartment might not exist after all. We waited about 30 minutes then just hired a cab to Antigua. There was another moment of slight concern when the cab driver said the address didn't exist - but I figured out the address was meant to be 4th Ave. NOT 4th Street (a big mistake since there is one of each in town). When we finally found the little apartment complex they knew my name and were expecting us, hooray - homlessness averted! The apartment is outstanding, I can most definitely live here for three weeks.

Tomorrow we report to class at the Ixchel Language school a couple blocks away (Not Shawn, of course. He will be off in search of a bicycle and a volcano to summit.) Now we just need to sleep off the effects of the overnight flight and then find a market. More soon (with pictures!).

Posted by Pelham Family 10:30 Archived in Guatemala Comments (6)

The Mermaid of Cozumel

So from my last entry you could definitely get the impression that we didn't have a good trip. But as I was making comments on the photos I realized that this is not true! There were a lot of great moments. We finally did get some beach and snorkeling time and Baylie got to fulfill her one main goal. Here's the link to my beautiful kid...

http://youtu.be/mjIFLjR_PM4

Not sure why it won't post as a clickable link. But if you copy and paste it really will take you to the video!

Posted by Pelham Family 10:32 Comments (1)

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