Saturday, July 30, 2011

Monday, July 7th

My alarm at 7am felt too early even after 11 hours of sleep! Breakfast was fruit, French toast, and an orange drink like Tang. The other house guests all of have classes in the morning, some at CSA (my school) and some at others. There are seemingly endless Spanish schools here. I don’t know how Taylor managed to contact all of them and keep straight which ones he’d been to or not.
After a bit more sleep and some studying, I ventured out into the streets to get my bearings a bit. I didn’t go too far because I had to leave myself time to do homework before lunch and my next class. I found the central park, which was buzzing with people: tourists, ladies selling textiles, locals asking tourists if they want to take Spanish lessons or a tour around Antigua, people of all ages sitting and chatting on benches all around the plaza. The fountains at the corners and in the center were all decked out with beautiful arrangements of tropical flowers left over from La Festival de Antigua. I went into a few stores selling artisan goods, mostly textiles. One place was actually a string of about 8 different shops, all connected with doorways that kept going back farther and farther, all with similar goods, but each slightly different in its own way, and each with a lady or two who would greet me and ask immediately if I was looking for anything in particular (all in Spanish though). Another parade went by me, but this one was led by an ambulance whose siren was going full-blast. It had about 20 small decorated pick-ups carrying 3-5 teenagers in the cabs and 5-10 in the back, who were dressed up to various degrees, and were waving. Some were throwing candy or roses to people watching. The streets all look the same to me, so I walked right past the alley to my house! I found it again without too much difficulty though.

When I got back to my house, I visited with the mother, Ana, the lady hired to help, Pasquala, and her young daughter (about 5 years old), Cecilia while they prepared lunch. I gave a rose from the parade to Anna and we became instant friends! It’s difficult for me to understand her though.
I really like my teacher, Katia. She has two boys, 3 and 6 years old. In the context of my lessons, we discuss everything from our families to local and global politics. I think we may solve all of the world’s problems before the end of the week!
I learned to take my rain jacket to class even if it is hot and sunny when I go. The rooftops hang over the sidewalks about a foot or two though, so I didn’t get too wet on my way home! Dinner was a sort of slightly creamy mix of vegetables like squash and carrots with rice and fried plantain bananas, which are quickly becoming one of my favorite dishes here. They served this amazing light green colored hot sauce that Pasquala called “chile” that is made of jalapenos, cilantro, lime, vinegar, and a little mayonnaise with both lunch and dinner.  My teacher Katia said that many people in Guatemala don’t really eat breakfast or dinner, just lunch.
Interesting observations: 1-grasses & shrubs growing on rooftops (not intended to be a “green-roof”), 2-crazy amounts of electrical wires all joining together in a tangled mass at a junction box on a corner pole.
Buenas noches!

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