Sunday, May 31, 2009

Antigua Day #3

I really liked Antigua but I feel like it is the Disney World of Guatemala. Coming here and only visiting Antigua would be like visiting LA and only visiting Rodeo Drive. They had more amazingly classy and romantic restaurants than I have ever seen in one place, including anywhere in the U.S. Alex and I would have loved to have stayed there for a few weeks just eating our way through the city. Last night we went to this really cute restaurant but were still full from lunch so just got chocolate fondue with fresh strawberries and bananas.

Alex finally got to eat his huge avocado and yellow mangos for breakfast.

This morning we got up early ate breakfast and then headed to the bus depot.

View of the inside of our first “chicken bus” as Alex and I call them, before it got full. They use old U.S school buses as local buses.

We changed buses in Chimaltanango and got on a more coach type bus and headed out on the Pan-American Highway towards Quetzaltenango (Xela). This is a view of the countryside out the bus window.
Another view from the bus.

After about a 2 ½ bus ride on the “nice” bus we arrived in Xela’s main bus terminal. We called the owner of our school to come pick us up and take us to our host family’s house. He asked us which bus terminal we were at and I had no idea. So I had to ask a local lady to speak to him on the phone to tell him where we were. It was kind of embarrassing. He and his wife picked us up and drove us to our host family. The family we are staying with are about our age and they have two young boys (super cute) about 6 and 8. We sat and had lunch with them and they were both SUPER nice. I think we are going to have a great time staying with them!

View of the main street next to our host family’s house.

This is the driveway to our "family's" house. The door to their place is on the right, you can almost see it.

Our massive room!!! We were shocked to find that they provided us with such a huge room! I figured I had better take a picture of it quick before Alex unpacked and it looked like a hurricane hit it the rest of the time. I haven’t taken any pictures of the rest of the house yet, I didn’t want to be rude. We even have our own private bathroom. It is under the stairwell and we have to walk outside through the central courtyard to get to it but it will work. It is so tiny that Alex can’t stand up in it. I can’t wait to see him try to shave. I will post a picture when I can.
The view from one of our windows.
After a short nap, Alex and I set out to wander our new city for a bit. We walked through the narrow streets to the central park.

The Central Park of the city.

At the park we encountered a group of people in a procession to the main Catholic Church. There were followed by a small band playing a number of brass instruments.

I am not sure what this is all about but they walked in unison into the church. The incense smelled good.
We bought some yummy snacks from the vendors next to the church. Alex got fried plantains dribbled in cream and sugar and I got some kind of hot milk drink that tasted like some type of egg nog. They were both really tasty!
Alex's plantains.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Antigua day # 2

From about 12 till 3pm it is just ridiculously hot here. Most people take a siesta but since we couldn’t get into our hotel room yet (we moved to a cheeper hotel) we went to a restaurant with Wi-Fi and blogged and studied some Spanish.
Alex practices reading Spanish by looking through a real estate magazine.

I know I already posted a picture of this archway but I thought it was really cool the way you could see the volcano through it.

One of the streets where cars are not allowed.

One of the narrow streets in Antigua

One of the smaller textile markets in Antigua

Close up of a lady seeing stuff near one of the old churches.

After our mid day break we headed out into a now sunny afternoon to wander the city some more and to get some lunch. It took us awhile but we finally found the restaurant that our book said was the local’s favorite for typical Guatemalan food. Boy was it great! All of the food was in giant pots and you just pointed and picked out what you wanted. I think my dish was some kind of pork and Alex had some type of lamb stew.

Alex enjoys his “comida typica” lunch.
We gave our waiter a REALLY nice type for patiently explaining to us what we were eating and he was so excited by his almost 4 dollar tip that he took us up on to the roof of the restaurant to show us the pretty views.
View of Antigua from the room.

View in the other direction.

Our waiter was so sweet that he even took a picture of us.

Volcano and church ruins.

Alex and I toured the ancient Mayan ruins of a church and monastery. They were really beautiful. This is a picture of the supposedly the largest fountain in all of Central America.
This guy was making quite a racket at the ruins! So pretty, but so loud too!
This is an old ancient church that is still mainly intact.

This was on the grounds of the church, alex liked it a lot. It was really unique and had the most beautiful flowing plants.
One of the cool building on the central park.

This is a close up of the statue in Central Park. Yes that is water coming out of their breast. We had quite a good laugh over this one.
This is a view of the courtyard of our hotel for tonight. It was way cheaper than our room last night (only $16) and just as nice.

Guatemala Day # 1 - Antigua

Alex and I had an amazingly easy time getting to Antigua yesterday. Things could not have gone smoother! We left our house in Fort Collins at 3:30am via a Taxi and arrived in Guatemala city at 1:30pm. We spoiled ourselves and took a shuttle to Antigua.

Antigua is suppose to be the most beautiful city in Guatemala. So far I am really impressed. By Central American standards it is remarkably clean and free of stray dogs and what they leave behind. They have tourist police in this city too so it is very safe as well.

View from the plane as we were descending into Guatemala City.

Our hotel for the first night was nice but demonstrated the dichotomy that exists here. The view out one window shows a beautiful courtyard and from the other window you see how many of the locals live.

The courtyard in our hotel as seen from our second floor room.

View from the other window. You can't see the top of the volcano because it is covered in clouds.

We went all out and even got a room with hot water - I love taking a shower with an electric hot water heater hanging over my head. Especially when the loose wires hanging out are covered in electrical tape. Can't complain though, the water was hot and the bathroom had beautiful tile work.

Guatemala is a very catholic country. This was evident in our room, as everywhere we turned, Jesus was looking at us. Below are just a few examples. So don't worry mom, we are being watched over. : )

Jesus as our bedside lamp.

Jesus at the last super, hanging over the head of our bed.

Jesus with a burning heart looking over us while we take a leak.

Today is Saturday and that means market day. I love going to markets in central America and seeing all of the AMAZING fresh produce!! I also love all the crazy stuff that is for sale like pigs, chickens and marinated meat.

Tomatoes anyone?

Yummmm... Fresh mangos!!!

Antigua grows a ton of Avocados. They are massive!!! Alex wanted one for a snack and in an effort to support the local economy didn't want to barter and so agreed to pay 4 Quetzals for one extremely large Avocado. It cost us less than 50 cents. But the ladies burst out into laughter when he agreed to pay the 4Q's. I think it probably should have only cost us 1Q or even less. Oh well, we made their day and perpetuated the myth that you can scam any gringo.

Peppers anyone?

A view of the covered part of the market.

A very old building. I am not sure what it is. But it was pretty.

So far the people here have been amazingly polite and kind. I am really enjoying our trip so far but I do have to admit that I am going through serious iPhone withdrawal!!! There have been so many time where it would be so useful. I think I am truly an iPhone addict.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Were Off!!!!!

Alex and I are going to Guatemala this morning at 3AM!!! Yippeee!!! We are studying Spanish for 5 hours a day and volunteering in a medical clinic and an orphanage. So there won't be any puppy pictures for over a month, sorry. But I will try and post stuff when I can, assuming they have decent Internet connection in Xela.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The great show down!

We have been letting Bree go into the backyard a lot because it seems to make her happy. However, it makes the black birds that have a nest in our trees very upset. They dive bomb her and try to run her off.

Bree and the momma black bird have a showdown in the back yard.

Some of my plants keep getting eaten. I finally found out who is eating all of them. This cute little guys really seems to like all of the expensive plants I keep putting in.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sick Day

I woke up with a horrible migraine and called in sick to work, so I got to spend the day laying in bed and playing with Eve. Then Eve got sick. She threw up 4 times and then got real lethargic. She snuggled in my lap until her raiser came to get her. Poor little sick eve, she looked so pathetic.

Eve curled up in my lap.

Eve looking sick and sleepy.

A sleepy sick Eve.

A sick whiny puppy.

Alex comforts the sick puppy.