A Travellerspoint blog

Espanglish

How to relax once your travels begin as well as the rules of the modern traveller.

rain 23 °C

Hi - am midway through my second week of Spanish courses and I would have to say that I am more confused now than when I started. If they are updating the Spanish dictionary and need to know what is masculine or feminine then all they need to do is ask me and then put the opposite. I had virtually a 100% record yesterday. Apparently it is quite easy but the simplicity of it has eluded me so far. Have met a bunch of interesting people - most of them seem weird or wonderful in some way or another. Played poker on Sunday night - the impressive buy-in being 20 Q each time - thats about 3 US. I won almost 14 dollars from my initial investment at which point I realised that the friendly folks who invited me to play actually work here on local wages and that most of them had to go home immediately as a result of running out of drinking funds. Unlikely to go back to that specific bar anytime soon. Note to self winners are not always popular.

In other news this place is virtually flooded every day from 2.30pm to about 3 am. It is sunny and warm in the morning but by the time I leave the school I am dodging frogs (amphibious kind) and avoiding the watefalls from each of the buildings high-tech drainage systems - I planned to take a picture for you to fully experience the wonder of my "street" on the way home yesterday but it was raining too hard so I didn't bother.

I am slowly becoming accustomed to the ways of the eternal traveller. There are some fairly simple rules I have observed so far and have decided to record them for posterity - apologies to those offended.

Rule 1: Whatever the weather and wherever you are you must at all times wear a garment weaved by locals on a traditional machine with maximum effort hence minimum automation and preferably woven at altitude, if possible with the hair from the underside of a yak. Said garment must be the wrong size, preferably falling apart and if it looks like it has a collection of food stains on it then all the merrier.

I honestly think it most noble to support traditional workers maintaining their age old methods of textile fabrication. However - if I had seen any (and I mean any) of the locals wearing any of the locally produced weaved goods I may have been tempted - however they - like me - are wearing nikes and berghaus jackets. Sandals and some multicolour hemp weave atrocity you bought for 8 bucks from a market are foolish attire in the tropics during the rainy season. I'm going local and staying dry.

More to follow in the coming weeks. Beads and bangles sure to follow as well as the trade off between price and quality of guate rum cocktails.

Take care and I hope you are all in super form.

Posted by lidster 20:11 Archived in Guatemala Comments (2)

Panajachel and San Pedro

Lunch and then Spanish lessons.

all seasons in one day 25 °C
View South America - out of Sorts on lidster's travel map.

Spent a night in Pana - as we locals call it - and it is nice enough. More of a staging post for the relentless procession of hippies and cheapskates which use it to take a boat from. Aldous Huxley once wrote that this is the most beautiful lake in the world. Not sure if he saw many lakes or was even considered an officianado of such things but for me he definitely knows his oats when it comes to mountain lakes. San Pedro itself used to be a coffee town but the prices crashed (not sure fair trade coffee has benefited any of these locals as yet) and they diversified into growing a multitude of different toxic and non-toxic plants. The former being the reason that most of the other tourists seem to be in San Pedro. Each evening I fall asleep to the sound of copious insect life, waves lapping against the lake shore and the low hum of giggling stoners cashing in a few quetzales at the gates of lucidity.

Below you may get an idea of what Mr Huxley was thinking:

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Spanish lessons are fun. Have 2 local blokes as teachers who seem to delight in making dirty jokes in Spanish (of which I understand nothing) and drinking lots of coffee while ogling the female spanish students. Their understanding of things either preterite or imperfect far exceed mine however, which is as it should be.

The locals are the friendliest I have met so far. Although that may be explained by the relative remoteness of the location (or potentially the weed plantations over the back of the San Pedro volcano), I prefer to think they are just nice people round here. With most of the people stoned and me enjoing an easy life with a dictionary and some verb tables I think I will stay for a while.

Oh - and each morning I get woken up by this view from my balcony in the hostel.

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Which, for now, is quite sufficient to be going along with.

Take care. Be good.
Lid

Posted by lidster 17:40 Archived in Guatemala Comments (2)

Antigua

The old capital of Guatemala

semi-overcast 23 °C
View South America - out of Sorts on lidster's travel map.

Hey - stopped off in Guatemala city for a nights sleep in what looked like a prison compound. Then took a bus to Antigua. Very cute town which is amazingly easy to get lost in due to the fact that the town council have limited the amount of streetlights and there are only roadsigns on the main square and major roads (of which there are few). Independance day was on the Saturday but after Friday's festivities I decided to head off to Atitlan. More about that in a moment.

Here is a picture of Anigua at night - figured I would get a little arty....

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Also worth checking out is the following which was part of the pre-celebration celebrations.

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The glockenspiel (a much underestimated instrument in my opinion) seems to maintain some of its appeal locally. Very cheerful stuff but limit yourselves to 15 minutes each exposure as it can become somewhat repetitive.

Also a local tradition worth checking out is the small children with whistles and TNT running through the streets blowing up stuff (and each other). Enormous explosions on each street corner followed by kids running past at high speed blowing whistles for all they are worth.

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It may not be my type of party but when in Rome you have to get into the swing of things. So I went to the pub and had an early night.

Antigua is really nice town, lots and lots of churches, surrounded by volcanoes and the people (as they appear to be in all of Guatemala) are super friendly and alway smiling.

Recommended stopover should you ever get down this way.

Posted by lidster 11:53 Archived in Guatemala Comments (1)

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