Blazing my own Gringa Trail

Trip Start Sep 10, 2005
Trip End Apr 27, 2006

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Flag of Guatemala  ,
Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Hola Amigos,

Ragnar and I are having a great time in guatemala. We absolutely love Antigua. The crumbling buildings, the cobblestone streets, the old cathedrals. The people are great. We have met all kinds of people from all over the world. Most of us are learning spanish and traveling through Central America. This is my 3rd week here and i see more and more familiar faces and i am geting to know some of the locals. The arts are very specialized. Lots of colorful textiles..woven and embroidered. There is a big jade market here..lots of green but also lilac and black jade.

The culture is very different. Much more laid back, very religous, and unfortunately very dirty. Most people do not know how to use a garbage can. And i am absolutely sure that the dogs that roam the street..they all look like they are in a hurry to get somewhere...i am sure that they are the ones that truely run this country.

Spanish classes are tough..some days my brain just hurts. At this point i am convinced that for any spanish word or rule that makes it way in my head, there is an english word that has escaped.

I am living with nice a family..Gabriel (5 years old)is in one of the pictures with an interesting "middle class" home. The roof is made of corrugated metal sheets and all the walls are concrete. When it rains, the rain comes in from the many open areas in the house. I am eating good meals...lots of beans, meat, yummy pineapple, and i absolutely love the maize tortillas that are being made fresh on every corner.

The first week i was here was Guatemalas independence day. Our school went to the beach in the port of San Jose. I must say that it was a real eye opener. We passed so many shanti towns along the way. When we got there it was so crowded and hot and dirty. Everybody was just standing around...not relaxing in the sun.. the surf was really high so not a lot of people were swimming..anyway..we went to a private beach an hour up the road. Black sand, huge waves. There was so much garbage on the beach...all washed up up with the waves. I desperately wanted to get a big zamboni and clean the beach. What was amazing was the water was so bath water...i have never felt ocean water so warm before. After the beach we all...teachers and students....loaded back on the chicken bus and headed for lunch...stopped at a Dennys type place. Then about 10 miles out of town we stopped and bought water. then proceeded to get out and run on the side of the highway with the Guatemalan flag and a torch. That is their independence day tradition... all the while, people are driving by and throwing water on you...they sell water in bags here..and they make great water balloons. We got to sit on top of the chicken fun... and we ran into Antigua with our school...honking the horn incessently. new friend Jen from the States and Ragnar... took a relaxing weekend in San Pedro on Lake Atitlan. This lake is so beautiful.. surrounded by is a collapsed volcanic cone filled with water. Ragnar really enjoyed it....when you sit by the water all day and relax, you have time to find trees that look like familiar objects...check out my pictures.

Last weekend we climbed Volcano Pacaya...3000 meters...but it was a wash out. The clouds were too thick to see anything... including the path. But I was very aware of the feelings, smells and sounds. The volcano is active so all the while you can hear the groans of the lava at the top..and they say on a clear day you can see the red rocks spurting out the top. Other peoples pictures are amazing. If the climb did not burn our lungs, then the ash we were inhaling did. All the while we commented on how you could never do something so "dangerous" or real in the U.S. The decent was fun though..we skiied all the way down the volcanic rubble.

Anyway..I bought some really cool tapestries and masks. i am staying for one more week and i want to take private salsa lessons. Tonight we are going to a Kareoke place..could be interesting singing in spanish.

I am headed to Mexico City next week and then on to Oaxaca.

Hope everybody is well..keep in touch. I love your emails.
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kelbelsmell on

Chicken Bus!
I can't believe I missed your call! You actually called my cell phone . . .

Sounds like you are having a great time. I love your latest entry. Will you have another chance to go see the volcano? And what do you mean you skiied down lava rubble?

What do you have planned for your birthday? I hear you are planning on going out of town? Don't drink too much Tequila and break something!

Did you get our pictures from our Central Coast vacation? Gavin is really changing every day. And Ian got to feel the baby kick last night! We are both thinking it is a girl this time.

You should try to call me again - I'd love to talk with you. We are all planning on calling this Sunday night to wish you a happy birthday and just hear your voice.


kelbelsmell on

Oh yeah . . .
You have to get rid of all the adverts on this site!!

tl1641 on


Can you post a photo or two of the homes you are staying in or would that be rude?

I am so enjoying your trip - it's like the amazing race only you get to learn Spanish and not win a million dollars.

Take care Jen,


wendykegel on

Happy Birthday!!!
Hi Schmuldt,

I love reading about your hilarious adventures. It sounds like you are having a blast. Don't give up on the Spanish. You will wake up one day speaking like a native. Have a great Birthday weekend.

cristiem on

Feliz Cumpleanos!
I hope you are making it a great birthday! Don't let anyone serve you any flaco tacos on this special day. Have your signed up for your private salsa lessons yet? I hope your instructor is muy guapo. I love the pics!

Cow loves its cud,

shellydgordon on

Tell us about your birthday in Central America!
Jen, We hope you are having a wonderful time living your dream on your birthday. How perfect! Stay with the language challenge, you are doing it the best way possible. Miss you like crazy! Shelly & Jim

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