by popular demand.

21 03 2010

We have been taking a bit of a hiatus from blogging the past couple of weeks. The past 2 weekends we have stayed in Antigua instead of traveling, so honestly there hasn’t been much to write about. There have been tons of people in Antigua the past few weekends as the city gears up for Semana Santa (Holy Week). They have festivities that last throughout the whole of Lent, and people come literally from all over the world to see the processionals and stuff here. I have taken lots of pictures so far. They are on my facebook, and I will try to get them loaded on here sometime soon.

In other news, I switched teachers, just so I could get some practice talking to other people. Both of us are anxious to be done with school, Antigua, and only having each other to talk to. We bought a new puppy back home. He’s a Weimaraner, which means he will be big, and the plan is that he can protect Leo (and me!) from scary jungle creatures that could eat him. God answered our prayers about getting some renters for our house, and some people are moving in April 1st. We also bought plane tickets to the DR (finally), and we will be flying out April 25, from Atlanta. Our family and friends are having a going away party for us April 9th in Henderson, if you would like to come 🙂

Finally, a few language blunders of mine, since everyone seems to like those so much. Also, Evan was starting to notice that I only put HIS language mess-ups in the blog (unintentionally, of course….), so here goes:

Me, to my Spanish teacher:

“I like to bake cakes and feet.”

“People can take fertility cakes (instead of drugs) to get pregnant.” (Or at least to LOOK pregnant, Ha.)

Me, to Evan and his teacher:

“Rolando, you can sit on Evan’s men (shoulders) so you can see.” Whoops, that one’s embarrassing.

I know there were more but I can’t think of them at the moment… oh well, until next time…


things you won’t find in antigua/bobita/RSJ.

12 03 2010

Before we left the states, several people asked us what we were really gonna miss when we moved to the DR. That’s a really hard question when you already have everything you’re used to. But after having been here in Guatemala for 5 weeks, we are starting to get a better mental picture of the things we are going to miss.

Here goes:

1. real, cold milk in a jug (not instant, lukewarm milk in a box)

2. real, salty American ketchup (not the too-sweet grossness they have here. Trust me, it’s not all the same.)

3. episodes of LOST

4. clean feet (instead of “Jesus feet” from the dusty roads)

5. being alone in the shower (without ants, june bugs, spiders, or gigantic cockroaches)

6. Steak-N-Shake (I don’t even know why, but we both crave it. It’s the best of American food – greasy & fattening).

And also, things we are happy to get used to:

1. healthy, active lifestyle (lots of water & lots of walking)

2. being together all the time (I mean, like seriously, we don’t get breaks. Luckily we like each other.)

3. real, fresh chicken (straight out of the yard – no growth hormones needed)

4. suntans (hey, living in the caribbean has its perks)

5. hammocks (seriously, we love the things.)

In addition, some funny things from this week. Evan told his teacher on Tuesday that our bus (coming from Tikal) gave birth 2 times on the way back Sunday (“busitos”). E told him that we touched the sun yesterday. He also told the lady who cooks for us that he needed some soup to wash his hands with. I love this translation errors, they’re my fave. 🙂

tikal y los mayas.

8 03 2010

We have been able to travel a lot since we have been here in Guatemala, but there was one place we knew we absolutely HAD to visit, even before we got here. That place is Tikal, which I believe is the largest set of Mayan ruins that has been discovered to date. The Mayans began to settle the area around 700 BC. Since we arrived in Guatemala, we have been planning a weekend trip to see the ruins. The weekend FINALLY got here, and it was not a disappointment!

In order to get to Tikal from Antigua, we had to take a chicken bus to Guatemala City (1 1/2 hours), then a charter bus to Flores (9-10 hours, we took a deluxe, overnight bus), and then a shuttle bus from Flores (where we stayed) to Tikal National Park (1 hour). We actually slept pretty good on the overnight bus, because 1.) the seats reclined a lot, and 2.) we were both drugged up on Dramamine. We got to Flores and checked in our hotel at about 7:30 AM (With A/C in the room!!!), and we were off to Tikal by 10 to do the Canopy Tour. Zipline Canopy Tours are a pretty big deal here in Guatemala. It seems like you can do one just about anywhere you go. We have been wanting to do it, and we figured there was no better place than the jungle of Tikal. We went across 8-10 ziplines, from platform to platform, across the Guatemalan jungle. Here are some pics to help you get a better mental representation:

It was a lot of fun! Anyway, so we went back to Tikal on Sunday to visit the actual park, and we really loved it. We were able to climb pyramids that are 1500 years old and see other structures as old as the time of Christ. It’s so amazing to see the mathematical and scientific advances that they had made long before our current-day technology. In a lot of ways I wonder if they weren’t smarter than us. Ha. Evan says it makes a lot more sense if we believe the aliens did it all. It seems to me like it would have taken 100’s of years to build the things they did. There is so much more that can be said about the Mayans and their intelligence, but it’s probably just better if you see the pictures. I will put a few of the good ones in this post, and then try to upload the rest to our Flickr later tonight so you can see the rest (or you can see them on my facebook). Enjoy!

in the real world.

8 03 2010

So Evan and I had bigs plans of going to Tikal this weekend to see the Mayan ruins. Well, in order to get there, we had to take a bus to Guatemala city, which is about an hour and a half away, more or less. As we were planning our trip for the weekend, we decided to go down to “Guate,” as they call it here, a bit early for some fun. We had a bus drop us off at Tikal Futura, which is a big mall and hotel in the city. As it turns out Tikal Futura is also next to 2 other super huge, super nice malls, each complete with their own movie theaters. I will be honest, I have seen a lot of malls in my day, but the MiraFlores in GC tops them all. (side note, I have never been to the Mall of America…) It seems in some ways that Guatemala does America better than America does America, what with the fantastic malls and oh-so-yummy McDonald’s.

Anyway, we were able to spend some time in a comfortable environment for both us. The mall had Nike & Adidas stores, a Best Buy kind of thing (I thought we would NEVER leave), a Victoria’s Secret PINK store (one of my faves!), candy stores, you name it. It was complete with a Chili’s and a full food court, including Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, Chinese food, and other fattening American foods. Believe me, if we had had time, we would have been in Chili’s, but Pizza Hut  was pretty awesome, I must say. We each had a SBarro-size piece of pizza, 3 breadsticks, and a drink for $3, which is awesome.

After our yummy food, we went to see Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief (In English!) in a super nice theater in the mall. While we were waiting for the movie to start I said “It feels so good to be back in the real world.” OK, so I know that our version of the real world is a lot different than most people’s in the world, but still. It’s OK to indulge sometimes. Did I mention we also bought candy for the movie? We had like a complete date night, with supper, movie & candy for less than $20. Can’t beat that. It was a great start to a fantastic weekend.

lost in translation.

4 03 2010

People say a lot of funny things when trying to learn a new language. Evan and I are now at the point where we sometimes say random bits of Spanish in our conversations with each other, or we pronounce English words with a Spanish accent, and vice versa. For instance, I was speaking English (of course) to Evan the other day and I say “Normalmente, I like to….. (I don’t remember the rest of the sentence, but I was supposed to have said “Normally”). We have also gotten really bad about structuring English sentences in Spanish ways. For example, I said the other day “What time does your watch have?” Obviously this is not really a correctly-structured English sentence. Therefore, I am dedicating this blog post to a few of the crazy things that have been said this week, both in English and Spanish. I’m sure that there will be many more in the future, and I am looking forward to sharing them with you!

Rachel, to her teacher: “The potato speaks 14 languages.” Instead of “the Pope speaks 14 languages.”

My teacher, to me (she speaks no English): “Una serpiente es un “snahck-ay” en inglés.” (She was trying to say the English word “snake” but she missed the pronunciation by a bit).

Another thing my teacher said to me was this: “You look like a princess of Jehovah.” I just thought that was funny. But a good compliment, I suppose. She also asked me if I had ever spoken in tongues, to which I replied, “Well, I speak English and Spanish…?” I think that was not exactly what she meant. (I know that sentence is awkward, but I’m leaving it as proof as to how I keep wording English sentences weirdly. It was accident, Evan caught it. Whoops.)

Evan, to his teacher, “If plants don’t get water, they bite” (supposed to be “die”). His teacher, “It’s possible.”

Also Evan – “Rachel makes really good strawberry skin” (instead of “cake”).

A girl that’s staying in our house said this: “It takes me 15 minutes to get to work by pig” (instead of “car”).

Evan, in conversation with his teacher, basically said “It’s not good to be born.” There was a miscommunication between teacher and student about the meaning of a verb, and the teacher was trying to say “to be born” in English, but it sounded like “to burn.” Complicated, but it was funny.

Another funny little piece of English dialogue between us last night (we were trying to decide what to do, and I had already shot down a bunch of ideas): Evan – “We could go hula-hoop naked on the roof.” Me – “We don’t have any hula hoops.” (The funny part is that neither of us even laughed at this until now).

Until next time…


1 03 2010

This weekend was a weekend of firsts for us. The first time Evan saw the Pacific Ocean. The first time I ate a hamburger with ketchup AND mayo and actually liked it. The first time I shared a mosquito net with another person. The first time I ate a chocolate-covered frozen banana (yum). The first time I almost burned my toes off in volcanic sand.

The name of the town we visited this weekend is Monterrico, and it’s about 20 mi from the border of El Salvador, on the Pacific Ocean. We arrived on Saturday morning (Don’t worry, we took the more-expensive, less-crowded gringo bus this time), and we immediately started sweating when we got off the bus. I mean, honestly, it was like 100-degree, Tennessee summer weather, and we pretty much had to swim through the air to get to our hotel. The place we were staying, as it turns out, had a really nice, clean swimming pool and restaurant on the property, and our room was complete with a fan and mosquito net. We could have opted for a hotel with A/C, but we found this place for $18/night, can’t beat that. Anyway, we dropped off our stuff and headed for the beach to explore a little. Ok, so I don’t know if you have ever walked on black volcanic sand at 12PM when it’s 100+ degrees outside, but it was, much to our surprise, SUPER HOT. I think the guys who walk on coals practice in Monterrico in the middle of summer (which it currently is here). We lasted maybe 10 minutes at the beach before we decided to head back to the hotel for the pool.

After relaxing by the pool for a few hours (Side note: From our spot by the pool, the languages of English, Spanish, French, and German, were all within hearing distance – pretty cool.), we decided to venture out again for supper. Seafood sounded good, we thought. We found this cute little open-air restaurant complete with hammocks, and they had fried shrimp on the menu, so we were set. As we are waiting on our shrimp, it’s starts to grow dark outside. As this happens, the mosquitoes begin to come out of their hidey-holes, one by one. Before I continue, let me say that mosquitoes LOVE me. Evan always says he never has to use bug spray if he is close to me, because they will bite me instead of him. So, it’s beginning to look like we have a bit of a predicament on our hands. For every minute we stay outside, another legion of mosquitoes attacks. Finally our food comes, and I realize that the Guatemalan version of fried shrimp is….. somewhat different than what I pictured in my American brain. Their version comes without any type of breading on the outside, and it comes with the head & shell of the shrimp still attached. Ugh. We start peeling our shrimp, and Evan is chopping off heads for me so I don’t have to do it. Our dinner, although tasty, is incredibly time-consuming because we have to de-head and de-shell all of our little friends. At this point we are both eating and being eaten at the same time – the longer we are there, the more mosquitoes there are; the more time we spend slapping off mosquitoes, the longer it takes to peel our shrimp. Add that to the fact that every time I slapped a mosquito off my leg, I left a smear of shrimp grease (to attract more mosquitoes, of course), and this mental image get funnier. By the time we get to the end of our meal, we are slapping and slurping and chopping off heads like it’s the French Revolution.

At the end of all this, I am just ready to go to bed and relax. It is after we get back to our room that I remember the mosquito net predicament. That is to say that, it’s still about 90 degrees outside, with very little breeze, and all we have is a fan in the room. Our options are either to have the fan blowing on us, and not use the mosquito net (the problems here are obvious); or to use the net and not be able to feel the fan through it. Hmmm. What we end of doing is rigging the net so that the fan blew under it, directly into our bed. And lucky for you guys, I took a picture of this. All in all it really wasn’t that bad.

Sunday in Monterrico was actually extremely pleasant. There was much more of a breeze, and we found out that the restaurant at our hotel was actually cheap and good. Plus, they had hammocks set up on the second floor of the (open-air) restaurant. We spent most of our day there, which was awesome.