Guatemala - Soul of the Earth

Trip Start Feb 06, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Guatemala  ,
Friday, February 10, 2006

Well i've been in Antigua for about a week and a half now, and it's been great.
I found a hostel with the other travellers on the bus from the airport in Guatemala City. After two days at the hostel adjusting to the time and food differences I moved to a homestay with a local lady and the six girls she looks after, who are from all around Guatemala, and started spanish school. So most of my time has been devoted to learning and practising spanish at the school, around town, and at home. Otherwise i've been hanging out with other travellers from all over the place and sampling the various beers around. A lot are a bit watery for my taste so i tend to go for the darker beers eg Moza.

Antigua is a very nice place. Almost too nice. I feel very sheltered here from what Guatemala is all about, as the place is full of tourists from everywhere. It's understandable as the town is very historic, and kept very 'nice'. It used to be the capital city of central america until hit by an earthquake, so there are plenty of old colonial style buildings and ruins and cobblestoned streets. There are two aspects to keeping Antigua 'nice' - there is the almost obsessive compulsive cleaning that goes on at hotels and hostels to attract the tourists, and it's obvious a lot of work is geared towards this. The other side are all the armed guards and police with massive guns to make the tourists feel safe and the locals feel intimidated.

Followers of The Hoff will be pleased to hear that one of the radio stations here has the baywatch theme song as it's promo jingle - in spanish. I'm not sure if it's the hoff singing but let's just pretend it is. If we're lucky i'll know how to sing it soon.

My Spanish is coming along surprisingly fast. It's often very difficult and confusing but i'm learning a lot. On my first day at the homestay i could barely string three words together - now i'm having whole conversations (even if they are very slow and grammatically incorrect i think this is something).

I climbed the Volcano Pacaya which is a few hours from here - i've posted up some photos. It was fairly hard walking as it was very steep and there was lots of loose material... (i can send pictures of rocks to you geology nerds if you like - i'm thinking joel, peas, and kate) but it only took a couple of hours. We went really early which was good because we beat all the other tourists up there and had good weather before it clouded over. Other photos are from around antigua.
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