Thursday, July 23, 2009

Confession of the Month - July Edition

I have been back in the States for 3 days and have pretty much done everything that I missed... save, seeing my sister. That list includes:
  • taking a shower with the capability to regulate the water temperature and pressure
  • sleeping in my bed
  • recovering from the 84 mosquito bites on my leg
  • talking to my family and friends apart from Skype or other forms of technology
  • sleeping past 8:00am
  • not eating rice or beans for an entire day
  • owning a car and cell phone and being able to use them
On the contrary... things I didn't miss about the States:
  • news coverage of Michael Jackson and what an excellent father he was
  • paying $10 to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • paying $15 to eat at a restaurant
  • Barak Obama being our President
All this to say, I confess that I'd like to go back to Guatemala, por favor.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Vamos a El Salvador

My last hoorah took place in the form of bus hopping to El Salvador. Rene Pacas, one of the Pastors at Iglesia Biblica, is from El Salvador and took my friends and I home with him and his wife for a few days. We took 3-4 buses each way on our tip to El Salvador and paid no more than $20 round-trip. It was worth it... excluding the bus without windows and no air-conditioning, of course. I would have paid $20 to get me off of that particular bus. But after 7 hours of bus hopping, alas, we made it to El Salvador. Upon our arrival, we roamed the streets with our backpacks... truly, Amazing Race style... and found ourselves at the footsteps of Rene's church in Santa Ana. We had to skip church that Sunday morning, so we decided it was in our best interest to go to the service there.
After chuch, went to eat papusas. Now, papusas are a specialty in El Salvador... and they have also become very special to me.. easily my favorite food in Latin America. Papusas are basically really thick tortillas (almost pancake-looking) with melted cheese and really good salsa. Pretty simple, but so delicious. Four papusas later, we made our way to the local soccer complex. The boys had to play a game with some guys from Rene's church. Gracias a Dios, I didn't have to play.

The next day, well... all I can say is "que weva!" Que weva means "how lazy!" We slept until 11:00, ate lunch at Emma's parent's house, and then literally slept the rest of the afternoon. We were exhausted, and it was hot. So, napping in front of a fan was clearly the best option. All this to say, que weva!

We had a little more productivity the next day. We went to Lago Coatepeque -- which apparently, has potential to be a wonder of the world. When they told me that, I couldn't really figure out why... it looked like a smaller version of Lake Ouichita to me. Then, we found out that underneath the lake was a city completely in tact... just submersed under this lake. Very cool. We spent the entire day basking in the El Salvadorian sun, swimming, playing, etc. Anyways, we were planning on going back to Rene's to sleep, but instead, we bought a room for $10 each and spent the night on the lake. We had a great night laying on the dock and looking up at the stars. To say the least, it was a perfect day.

But our adventure had to come to an end, so we hopped on a bus.. and then on another.. and so forth, all the way back to Guatemala. When we reached the El Salvador/Guatemala border, we crossed it on foot... which in my opinion, made it so much cooler. All borders should be crossed on foot. Mario was practically in tears to be back in his own country and using his own form of currency... because in El Salvador, they use U.S. currency... strange, but convenient for the gringos. But instead of saying "quarter," they say "quawta."

El Salvador was a perfect end to my stay in Latin America. I got to spend 3 wonderful days with my closest friends from Guatemala. All of whom I am going to miss very much!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Remember that time?

Well, I'm going to have a new scar. Fortunately, I like scars... all scars tell a story. Now I'm going to be able to say, "Well, this one time I was running down a Volcano in Guatemala, and I fell and scraped the entire side of my right leg. It didn't hurt too bad, that is until I had to clean it. I didn't cry, but I think I apologized to my friends for being such a baby while I was on the verge of passing out. Then, we left the volcano to find a Tienda that sold Hydrogen Peroxide so I could clean it more. Then, we went back to the Volcano and climbed it again... Injured leg and all."
My friends and I went to climb Pacaya on Saturday with a bunch of people from the church, but we left early to try to sandboard on the volcano. Little did I know that when Mario said "sand", he really meant "a mixture of gravel and ash that will destroy you if you fall"... which it did. Needlesstosay, sandboarding did not work. So we climbed up one side to see the lava, and then decided to run down... all was going well, until I tried to stop running... my brakes did not work, and that's when the incident occured.

After we cleaned up my leg (and Beau's, too... I wasn't the only injured one), we met up with the group from the church and climbed the other side of the Volcano. This was a much longer hike, and when nightfall came, it got really cold... so, we sat at the top of the Volcano to warm up by the lava before our descent. Despite the cold, it was a really clear night and the view was incredible. The descent was a little slow-moving in the dark, but I was just glad to be walking downhill at that point. After our day at the volcano, we went to find a Taco stand, because we had eaten nothing but saltines all day on the volcano. Never has a taco tasted so good.
I mean, just looking at this picture makes hiking the same volcano twice and scraping my leg (understatement) completely worth it.