Back to school.

Trip Start Oct 06, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Guatemala  ,
Tuesday, October 19, 2004

For US $135, you get 7 nights homestay with a local family, 3 meals a day plus 25 hours (split over 5 days) of Spanish lessons with your own private teacher. Add to that free Internet access, certain activities during the afternoon and quite a bit of fun. Not bad if you ask me, although Guatemala is extremely cheap. So cheap in fact, that I some days are really struggling to spend US $20 total on food, drinks/beer, transport and a decent place to stay.

So I just finished my second day of Spanish studies, with a slight hangover, and I am still trying to learn my very first verb (To be). In Spanish there's two different verbs for "To be", a concept that takes some time to sink in on this particular Tuesday. I think I am pretty motivated, and there's nothing wrong with my teacher (Freddie), but I don't really know how much Spanish I will learn in a week. Probably not a lot, so possibly I'll do another week or so later on. At least it's a great experience, as you stay with a local family and also get to meet a lot of other travelers and Spanish students. The school I am at, got about 20 students from around the world. Some have been here for months, while others just do a week.

On my last day here, I'll have to do a speech in Spanish as part of the "graduation". Surely that's going to be a challenge, as Freddie and I have spent most of the time so far talking about all the "chicas" in class. Hmm, maybe that's why we are still at "To be" and I'm also struggling with my first proper sentence.

Most gringos come to Xela either to attend a Spanish language school or to do volunteer work, and although it's Guatemala's second city there isn't actually much to do or see in the city itself. It's a place to study, drink beer, relax and get to know your classmates and host family.

I'll probably leave Xela on Saturday or so, but I don't know exactly where I am heading next. I'm debating if I should take the trip up to Semuc Champey (a maze of caves, rapids, pools and waterfalls), a place most travelers are raving about. Alternatively I'll just head for Copán (Maya ruins) in Honduras, stopping by Antigua on the way.

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