Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Guatemala



Well, we finally had a vacation. We went on a trip to the Guatemala temple with our church peops from Matagalpa. We left our site on monday night, slept in the church until 3am and then we got on a bus with 41 other people and drove through 3 borders to get there at 8pm. We had a really great time during the two days we spent there. Becky flew in to the city and with the help of some very nice members whom we didnt know, we met her at the airport.
The next day we headed to Tikal, which was an ALL day bus ride again. Tikal is of course incredible and awsome (the more inspirational use of the word.) It was rainy that day and was very slippery in the jungle. there was also an odd scent of chicken soup everywhere we went. We finally decided it was either the europeans or a tree that was everywhere. Anyway, we imagined ourselves climbing up the stairs on our way to be sacrificed. Of course this in unavoidable to imagine this. Thanks to Apocolypto and 2 semesters of art history. But besides the trembling in our legs and slippery mud, we managed to control our fear. The scariest thing was climbing those freakin stairs... wooden and wet and barley stable.. you can see kory is the little red dot. He is wearing his ¨blog shirt¨as he calls it because he always happens to be wearing it in our blog entries. (We have a limited selection of clothes.) Anywho.. it was super scary. Becky was especially scared which I though suspicious for someone who claims to have jumped out of an airplain 2 times.
After another all day bus ride back to the city, a night spent at a friends house and another complimentary ride to the ¨bus station¨ we were ready for our travel to Panajachel. Here we are.. well, kory and becky, in the ¨bus station.¨When we left in the bus they asked us to lay down so that the police didnt see us. They said it was illegal to take people out of the station.
El lago Atitlan is a GIGANTIC crator lake that colapsed and filled with water, then sprouted 3 more volcanos around it. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. It was really interesting to compare the level of development of Guatemala with Nicaragua. I found that they seem to have had a lot of economic stimulation and growth since the last time I was there. Their standard of living is definately a few steps above that of Nicaragua. Their cultivation methods seemed very much more orginized and fruitful and thier diet is DEFINATELY mejor. They were eating a nice variety of vegetables and squashes. Here they almost never eat vegetables. Anyhow, besides all that, their culture had not been obliterated by decades of war.. not that they have not had wars.. they have had serious problems but it didnt rob people of their cultural identities entirely and today the different tribes still dress in their traditional outfits.

We stayed in the ex-pat hippi filled town of San Marcos, where they do all kinds of massages and yogas and have cute little restaurants. The streets are just little stone paved sidewalks. For me it was a dream. I loved it there. Besides all the hippies, we could probably live there and be happy forever.Next we were off to civilized Antigua.. the gringo mecca of Guatemala. For kory and I, it was a treat to be in a place with nicely designed stores and restaurants and good smells. You dont realize how precious this is. And its usually only a benefit to those who have money. When you live without it, you realize what a precious commodity good smells and purposeful design is. We were encantados.The last day we had, becky wanted to go climb a volcano. STUPID I say, but I was outvoted, so we went. Kory in his flipflops, me in my crocs and becky in her sandles (not a wise choice, but it really wasnt a choice.. its all we had) We suffered through razor sharp rocks filling our shoes and having to go on. At one point I took off my shoes because they kept filling with rocks and it hurt. Kory borrowed a machete and cut off the bottom of his pants to tie on his flipflops. Quess how long that lasted. ... Ya. About 3 minutes. The horrible climb was well worth it when we got to the top. We were able to go right up to the molten lava.. as close as not burning our hair and shoes would allow. But close enough (1 meter) so that kory could poke his walking stick into the lava and roast marshmellows in 2 seconds. mmmmm. It was something they would never let you do int he civilized world. They would block off the mountain.. and probably for good reason, but it was a pivital moment in the vacation for us. We werent expecting anything so cool and were very much excited to add this to our list of things we have done before we die. Good thing we didnt die there.

4 comments:

Becky said...

Sooo, yes, I admit the stairs scared me. And just for the record.....it was THREE times.

Matt said...

Only you guys would think to bring a marshmallow to roast over the lava. Perfect.

jonb (juan grande) said...

Gorgeous photos. Looks like you had a lovely vacation.

No Finca Ixobel?

Lisa said...

I got your book from the library and have enjoyed it so much. I teach watercolor and used it in my class this week. You are an amazing artist and was thrilled to discover your blog on your amazing adventure with the Peace Corps. My husband and I considered joining the Peace Corps when we got back to the US after living in Sweden for 1 1/2 years. (a crazy adventure as well and we are much older)Anyway..God bless you guys! I am jealous of the pictures you must have of the indigenous people in traditional dress. My favorite suject to paint!
My website is not nearly as polished, but you can have a look if you like. lcederberg.com
Blessings,
Lisa Cederberg