Postage Dramas And Highland Hot Springs With Lars

Trip Start Sep 29, 2007
Trip End Dec 20, 2010

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Flag of Guatemala  ,
Monday, October 29, 2007

Feeling better today we ate a breakfast burrito at the hostel then armed with a garbage bag the size of a city we ventured off to mail our loot to Australia. This loot includes a bedspread we just simply couldnīt leave behind. After scoping the city for a shipping company we ended up at the post office where no-one speaks English. To mail the treasured goods there was a two hour process which consisted of buying a box which turned out to be too big then finding brown paper to wrap the mail in from another address, then a world record attempt by the employee to use as much gaffer tape around the package as possible. I think we are sending a giant ball of gaffer tape home. Then came forms and stamps and a prayer that the beloved items make it to Sydney to Bec. Whilst this was happening i watched a baker boy use his hands like a machine to knead  and shape dough onto numerous racks of goodies all the while taking fresh trays out of the oven to sell. Guatemalans are good with their hands and are masters at weaving on hand and foot looms, making jewelery and we have seen men using tools to chip stone into square shaped bricks for building. We also saw a funeral procession where a casket was carried through the city in a van and all the mourners walked behind for quite some distance to the cemetery while taxis beeped horns and a man with an ice cream cart rang his bell trying to sell his wares to the procession.

The cemetery is usually the dangerous lurking place of criminals and unsafe but the Day Of The Dead festival is on November 1 and we were assured of a safe visit at this time.  We ventured past many tombstone makers stores then through the gates of the church and wandered into a mini city of tombstones, some being the size of small mansions, statues, floral arrangements, crosses and graves. The cemetery spread seemed to go on for miles, as far as our eyes could see. There was distinct areas for the rich and for the poor. Some of the wealthier families had entire pyramid monuments made and elaborate decorations. Most of the heads of the statues had been lobbed off by vandals. The tombs were painted in many different colours with pink and turquoise being a popular choice and there was lots of activity here as families are preparing the sites for The Day Of The Dead when the spirits of their dead ancestors are supposed to come to Earth for an annual visit. At the moment the spirits are apparently flying around the city as butterflies as themyth goes and we must admit we have seen a few. There was painting, cleaning, renovating, sweeping and decorating of graves going on and lots of men carrying axes and picks.

I satisfied my fascination with door knockers, yes door knockers on the way back into central park marveling at lions heads, hands and demon heads carrying rings and resisting the temptation to knock those knockers and photograph them. The knockers appear to me like large red buttons saying PUSH ME. Strange, yes maybe.

We talked with some English lads about politics in Guatemala and about the backpacker politics and īsceneī, taking the piss out of it really. We prepared for our trip to Fuentes Georginas, a natural spa in the highlands. Here, pools of varying temperatures are fed by hot sulfur springs and framed by a high wall of lush, tropical vegetation. Itīs very hot in the water and especially near the rocks but the mountain air keeps it cool. We hired a driver for the trip and were to pick up one other. When we arrived at this personīs hotel, we glimpsed this huge, buff, Arnold Schwarzenegger looking guy with blonde hair, blue eyes, a big camera and wearing a safari vest. Of course his name was Lars from Germany and he spoke English and Spanish. We think he was an army guy considering he had travelled all over the world to obscure places and wore dog tags.  Lars was a nice guy and looked like an action figure, Barbieīs boy. He seemed a little other worldly amongst the shorter, dark haired Guatemalans of the villages. The hot springs were beautiful and steam rose up from the water while cloud lingered around the wall of vegetation. A glorious swim was had. The springs are supposed to have magikal, healing  qualities. I felt like a Japanese baboon floating around in the water.

We bought a corn cob and some tortillas from the street. Weīve booked in to attend Spanish school for two days US$20 a day for a private teacher and start tomorrow. Good luck with that one, itīs better than none i guess. Iīm going to try and put some photos on the blog so stay tuned. I ended up scoring a good deal on the drunken horse race by taking a tour out there and back on the same day. Much easier.
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