Sunday, August 14, 2011

Saturday, August 13th

My last day in San Pedro! I had class in the morning today and for part of the time Josefa and I went to the nearby town of San Jaun to check out the textile artisan shops there that use all natural plant dyes. We were going to take a pick-up, but we didn’t want to wait for more people to fill one, so we took a tuk-tuk (bummer – I really wanted to do a pick-up ride while I was here!) These textile stores were not your average side of the street vendors; they all had little shops that were in actual buildings and some of them were them very nice! We went into about 6 of these and I found a great scarf for Mom at one of them! Things were higher priced than in the regular markets, but that is because these are specialty items and more work goes into making them because of the dyes they use. The store in the photo below has a display that shows which plants and plant parts are used to make different dye colors...

Side note #1: I have no idea how tuk-tuk drivers can see where they are going. The whole windshield is tinted fairly dark, has decals and stickers all over it, and has one little circle of clear glass to see through!

Side note #2: In San Pedro, it is common for them to shut down and entire street, often times a fairly main thoroughfare, for little one-hour political rallies! We had to go up a huge steep hill to get around one on the way back from San Juan.

After finishing up my lessons on verbs, I showed Josefa a blog done by my course coordinator/teacher Stacey, that has pictures of San Pedro, and Josefa was even in one – she liked that! Then we said, “Adios.”

There was a sweet little old man sitting on some doorsteps on our street who greeted me at least twice a day when I passed by. I really wanted to get a photo of him , but in the end was too pressed for time and didn't get to. He wore typical traditional clothing for San Pedro (something which you see less and less of these days as modernization occurs in these little pueblos all around Guatemala), which included these really cool 3/4 length loose white pants with a whole bunch of bright colorful little animal designs from the bottom of the pants up to the hips.

I had just enough time to pack and walk down to my shuttle bus to Antigua.  I said good-bye to Alejandra, her mother, and Jia. Then Jia decided to walk with me down to my shuttle near the docks.

At first the standard sized van appeared to have plenty of free space, but that was before 45 minutes of squirming (yes a van CAN squirm!)around San Jaun and San Marcos to pick up a total of 15 passengers and all of our crap, which we tossed up to the roof. It wasn’t quite as sardine-ish as a “public” shuttle would have been, but it wasn’t too far shy of being maximum capacity by Guatemalan standards. I suppose one or two more people could have stood in the sliding door well for the nearly five hour ride. The lady next me was from Iceland. We stopped at one point to get the tires changed, and another time when the sky cracked open in about 20 seconds and went from sunny to a complete downpour. It turns out that besides risking your life daily on the steep (15% grade or more), winding, washed-out, mud slide covered roads, a shuttle drivers’ job description includes climbing onto the van roof in a downpour to strap a tarp over the luggage!
A rainbow greeted us as we arrived in Antigua!
After lugging my 80 lbs of belongings about 5 blocks in the wrong direction, and back again, I found CasaSito just as Silke was about to give up on me arriving. She welcomed me in to what had been Taylor and Hilary’s room (Arbol – which means tree), showed me around the house, and then took her two little kids (who had run out of patience after waiting for me) and went home.

After getting settled, I found one of Taylor’s favorite places, Rainbow CafĂ© (on Silke’s advice) and got some dinner. There was a fund-raising event for Los Patojos going on, so it was crowded with locals, especially people who Taylor knew when he was here. After I’d finished a yummy meal and chatting at the bar with the two musicians, a woman (Alice) walked up to me and said sort of hesitantly (in English even!), “ Are you…” and I finished for her, “Taylor’s mom?” She immediately gave me a huge hug, escorted me over to her table, and I became part of Taylor’s Antigua family! It was really heartwarming to hear so many people say so many great things about my Boy! While we all chatted, some of the older boys from Los Patojos did a bunch of really cool break-dancing (my photos just don’t do it justice), one of the guys from Los Patojos told a bit about the program, and caps were passed around to collect donations. Around 11:00, Alice and her husband gave me a ride back to Casasito; it was my first time in a normal car in three weeks and a welcome gift in the pouring rain!

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