Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Nuestro Familia

Here's the family we lived with while we were in Antigua. Reina was the lady of the house who did all the cooking, cleaning etc. She took great care of us, especially when we were sick. It was good to have a Mama there for us. =) She is a great cook and very patient with kids and people who speak poor Spanish. Her daughter Claudia is in the red t-shirt. She watched Harold for us while we were at class each day. Diego is Claudia's son. He and Harold were quite the pair, a hand full to say the very least. Edwardo is not pictured. He is Reina's brother and Harold's amigo. They were a wonderful family and a perfect fit for us. We look forward to ringing their doorbell in the future and stopping by for a visit.
--AnnMarie

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Pacaya Videos

video

video

"Amigo, you need more marshmallows on that stick!"

video

Check out the guy lighting his cigarette on the lava rock.

--AnnMarie

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Lava Marshmallows

What is this man doing?


Roasting marshmallows on lava of course.


--AnnMarie

Friday, June 26, 2009

Volcan Pacaya

One of the most popular activities around Antigua is to hike up the Volcano, Pacaya. It's different from the other volcanoes nearby because the lava flows out of the mountainside day after day. Once in a while it'll be more active and start spewing smoke and lava, but for the most part it's a slow steady stream.

Tuesday evening we caught a shuttle to the base of the mountain, rented a horse for Harold to ride on and followed our guide to the top. By the end the horse owner was riding with Harold instead of C.O. and I. He was a great guy who spoke slowly so we'd understand him and had the ability to make Harold giggle like crazy. It was like we rented a horse, an entertainer and a babysitter . . . perfect.



Near the top, the ground was nothing but volcanic ash and rock.

Our first view of the lava.
The white spots just below the red lava are
people hiking up to the lava.

It was crazy. We were able to stand as close to the lava as we could stand
(it was pretty hot and you had to watch out for loose rocks
that would tumble out now and then).
Harold was pretty freaked out about the whole thing to be honest.
The rest of us really should have been more scared but were
having too much fun. We decided that Harold was
actually the only sensible one up there.






Is it cruel that we find Harold's scared faces so amusing? lol




Views from the top:









--AnnMarie

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tuk-Tuks



These are about the cutest little taxis I've seen. They are somewhere between a motorcycle and a car. They cost Q15 (less than $2) to get all the way across town and are a blast to ride in.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Monterrico

We spent last weekend in Monterrico, Guatemala on the Pacific Coast.
We stayed at the Hotel Atelie del Mar and had a very relaxing weekend.

We did some of this:

video

Then a little of that:

video

And a little more of this:

video

A perfect weekend.
--AnnMarie

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mayan Dancers

We headed over to Rainbow Cafe one evening to see
a family of Mayan children perform some traditional dances.



Harold was captivated! He was the first one to clap when the dances were through.


--AnnMarie

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Crud


Well, it was bound to happen on a month long trip to Central America . . . C.O. and I ate something bad and got pretty sick. (I'm using this lovely picture to offset this unpleasant topic.) It knocked me out for about 3 or 4 days. I ended up missing two days of class and had to lay low for a while. Fortunately, whatever we ate, Harold didn't, so we didn't have to take care of a sick kid as well. Reina (the lady who cooks our meals etc.) took great care of us, feeding us safe and gentle foods until we were better. C.O. brought me these flowers one day to cheer up the bedroom since I was spending so much time there instead of out and about. I'm feeling much better but still can't drink coffee, that's probably the worst part of all. I guess now we can say we've been there and done that.
--AnnMarie

Friday, June 19, 2009

Need A Hand?

What do you do when you don’t have enough hands to carry your stuff? Throw it on your head of course. I am continually amazed at the ladies’ ability to carry large loads on their heads. We have seen people carry handicrafts, produce, plants, laundry etc. this way. The thing that amazes me is that they look so completely natural.

Oh, and this photo didn’t come without a price, the gal charged C.O. 2 quetzales for the snapshot. That’s about 20 cents.
--AnnMarie

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Spanish Speaking Parrot

At our hotel in Panajachel we met a parrot named Pedro that was very good at saying “hola”. It isn’t very clear in the video but he does say “hola” and Harold is pretty surprised by it.

video

--AnnMarie

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Guajimbos

Those of you familiar with Side Lake will appreciate this:
While in Panajachel we ate out at Guajimbos.


They even had their very own version of Steve Pratt.

--AnnMarie

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lake Atitlan

We spent the past weekend at “The Lake”, Lake Atitlan. It's unique since it doesn't have any outlets to the sea and it's surrounded by three volcanoes. There are a number of villages surrounding this landlocked lake in Guatemala. We stayed in the village of Panajachel, which is one of the few villages around the lake that is accessible by road.

We arrived on Friday night after a treacherous ride in a van through narrow winding roads, with scary steep cliffs that were just a little to close to the road for comfort. To be honest, it made me pretty darn sick but it was worth the drive, both for the views along the way and the destination.


On Saturday we chartered a boat and a driver to take us around to three different villages around the lake. We started in Santiago which also happened to be the name of our boat driver.


When we got to Santiago we were approached by two young boys who wanted to be our “tour guides”. “No, grasias”, we said numerous times. But they latched on and ended up being a hoot and the best part of the day. They knew just enough English to tell us about a few parts of town and to remind us to be careful of the traffic. They even picked up on the fact that Harold needed constant supervision, so they took over as the child care. We were pretty impressed with the entrepenurship of these two 10 year olds.


We then headed over to San Antonio where a festival happened to be going on. We saw dancers, heard some music and watched part of a soccer game.




We stopped in one final village Santa Catarina for lunch then back to Panajachel.
--AnnMarie

Monday, June 15, 2009

La Esquela

Academia Colonial is where we are studying Spanish for the month of June. (Academia Colonial doubles as a Rum Bar & restaurant in the evenings.) We do four hours of one on one tutoring each day from 8 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

The teachers are wonderful and have a very systematic and effective method of teaching Spanish. They don’t speak much English during the lesson, the explanations are done in Spanish. At first it’s overwhelming but, amazingly, you do catch on by the second or third day. We still feel pretty at a loss for words but certainly know a ton more Spanish than when we started.

I’d also like to mention that this tutoring only costs us $20 per day, for intensive one-on-one training.
C.O. & Soledad


Lety & AnnMarie


--AnnMarie

Friday, June 12, 2009

No Ordinary McDonalds



It isn't common for us to eat at a McDonald's in the U.S. let alone
when we're traveling in a foreign country. But the MacDonald's here
in Antigua is worth the stop. I doubt there is a more beautiful setting
for a fast food restaurant anywhere in the world. The outside of
McDonald's looks like any store front in Antigua, but once you step inside . . .





Check out Ronald hanging out between the fountain and the gardens with the
ruins of Antigua in the background. No wonder his smile is so big!
--AnnMarie