From Antigua to Coban

Trip Start Feb 10, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Jenna and I had a great week in Antigua. As I previously mentioned we were able to find a family to stay with about an hour after we arrived in the city (through our school). We really liked the family we were staying with. They were really excited to talk to us, but did not understand why were not staying in Antigua longer than 1 week (we made a decision to go back possibly go back to Xela to study in a few weeks, and get going with traveling the rest of this beautiful country). The family had 1 other American student from North Dakota and a Guatemalian student, besides there 2 sons. My only complaint was an extremely FOUL rotting, poop smell that we could not figure out. We would hit the odor like an invisible wall as soon as we would walk to our street. It would even waft into the house, because of piece of the house has an open roof. We were eventually told that there was a leather factory near by where they literally hung up the animals and let them dry out. So we really were smelling dead rotting animals, lovely to wake up to in the morning isn't it!
Tuesday morning we started our new schedule at school, 9am-1pm Tuesday-Friday. The school was a lot smaller than the one we attended in Xela, and the teaching was a lot slower. Our teachers were impressed with the amount of grammar we had already covered in only 2 weeks. One of Jenna`s best friends from college (Stew) had a conference in Guatemala city, only 45 minutes from Antigua so when he was done with work he came for a weekend visit. He has studied Spanish in Antigua for 2 months last year and knew the city really well, so he gave us a good tour of the town over the weekend. Saturday morning we all headed towards a local Macadamia nut plantation. We ate macadamia nut pancakes, with macadamia nut butter, with macadamia flower honey (macadamia, macadamia, macadamia!!). They were absolutely DELICIOUS! I learned that macadamia nut trees are one of the best trees in the planet for filtering the carbon dioxide out of our air, and also one of the easiest trees to raise. They also offered free facials with macadamia nut oil products. Before leaving we bought some fresh chocolate covered macadamias (of course!). Later that day, we went to one of the most famous churches in Guatemala, and unfortunately I donīt remember the name right now...but it was absolutely beautiful! Most of the places to see in Antigua revolve around Central park (there seems to be a central park in every town we visit), so while passing through there we ran into a lot of people we had met in Montericco and in Xela! We have seen our Irish friend Paul and Candadian friend Andrew in 4 different cities now within the last month! It is nice to see some familiar faces!
Sunday we went to ruins of another church, and then spent most of the afternoon in central park reading and relaxing. We went to a famous bar/restaurant called Sky Bar to watch the sunset on the roof, and ended up catching a parade for lent as well. Stew took us out for dinner, and after we went to No Se Cafe for some live music and drinks. There we ended up meeting 3 photographers and a model, all from different places. They were from France, Austrailia, New York and Germany. They were all so funny, and incredibly easy going. It made for the best night we had in Antiuga! They had all just met each other through their jobs, so we were all strangers. The next morning Stew headed back to California, and Jenna and I went to hang out with our new friends at their hotel. It was one of the nicest in Antigua, and actually had ruins of a church,a small museum and ancient bones of ministers. Later that day we ended up running into our Irish friend Paul, went out with him and Andrew for the rest of the evening.
This morning we got up early and got on a bus for Coban at 9am and made it here at around 4pm. On the bus we met a couple from Denmark that are basically doing the same traveling pattern as us for the next weeks or so, so we have some new friends and travel companions! Tomorrow morning we are getting up early and headed to an Orchid farm, that grows over 4,000 different kinds of orchids, and possibly a coffee plantation. After we are headed to a beautiful place known as Semuc Champay. We have been told it is one of the wonders of the world, and everyone we have met that has gone says it is amazing. There are many waterfalls there that feed into pools where you can swim, as well as caves that you can swim through to other pools and waterfalls! We can hardly wait! We are not yet sure how many days we will be there, but there is definitely no Internet. I will make my next update from Flores and/or Tikal where the most famous Mayan ruins are located in Guatemala.
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