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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Guatemala in 3 Weeks (Not Nearly Enough Time)

by Katie

I have noticed that the longer we are on the road, the more time elapses between blog posts. So here we are with our one and only blog post for Guatemala, which by the way, is an absolutely amazing country.

We started our time here by enrolling in a week-long language school in Quetzaltenango (Xela) part of which was a homestay with a local family. Five hour classes for five consecutive days totally jump-started my Spanish, and by the end of the week, my host mother Dona Blanca told me that my Spanish was much more clear and complete. Score! Mark surpassed me though by learning some future and past tense verbage. I only learned present tense and so say things like, "Yesterday I go to the store." In Spanish of course, but usually people get the point. We stayed with Dona Blanca and Don Federico, an older couple with grown children and grand-children, many of whom would stop by randomly for meals so we got a lot of our Spanish practice around the dinner table. We spent that week in Xela with our friend Evan (see previous post about young Evan), Alex and Mike (both riding KLRs and from Alaska), and Grant, also from Canada, and an honorary member of the motorcycle gang affectionately known as The Burrito Rollers.

Loving one-on-one Spanish class. A teacher's dream, right?

With Dona Blanca in her kitchen, and delicious chicken noodle soup. A treat since it was so cold.

I am sort of blog illiterate. So instead of actually being able to post the video that our friend Grant made, I just have the link for you. You should check it out though, he is pretty talented when it comes to putting together the travel videos. (Any advice fellow blog-ites?)

At the end of our week we all (five riders, plus Grant on the back) left for San Pedro la Laguna, a unique little hippie town on the shores of Lake Atitlan. We spent several days there lounging in the laid back atmosphere. Mostly our days were spent on the lake, kayaking, cliff jumping, boating, drinking beers in the sun. The usual lake activities. From San Pedro we all went our separate ways and Mark and I headed north to Semuc Champey. We spent two days in the middle of the jungle playing in an emerald green river, exploring caves (mostly Mark), and relaxing in the hammock on our front porch. To reach our next destination, Rio Dulce, we chose the "shortcut" route which was 100 miles of dirt roads through northeastern Guatemala. By the end even Mark was saying "hmm, a little pavement sounds nice about now." But it was a beautiful way to travel, and did indeed end up being a shortcut, as it took us 8 hours instead of 20 to reach Rio Dulce.

The entirety of the Burrito Rollers, minus Mark. Katie, Alex, Mike, Evan, Grant.

Mark riding across the rickety bridge to Semuc Champey.

"Hiking" in Semuc Champey National Park.

Exploring Quirigua, a little visited Mayan site on our way to Chiqimula.

Now, we are in Chiqimula, a slightly-nicer-than-normal border town. Tomorrow we will cross into Honduras so that we can rendezvous with the rest of the motorcycle gang on Roatan Island for Christmas. It's hard to believe that it's almost time for us to start making our way back north. We probably won't make it all the way to Panama, but that's okay with us. We have seen much less and much more than we expected.
Happy holidays to all our friends and family. Enjoy your times together. We miss you all.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely photos - I especially enjoyed the video!