Erika Logie's Travel Blog

Goodbye Antigua!

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I can’t believe it’s already been over a month since my last post!

After leaving Xela, I headed down to Monterrico, which is a quiet beach town on the Pacific Coast. Monterrico is not exactly what I expected. It is a popular place for rich Guatemalans to spend the weekend, but during the week the place is quite deserted. I had originally thought about maybe doing Spanish school there, but when I investigated schools, the only one in town boasted only one other student, and I thought I might die of boredom if I attempted to spend a week there.

I met a friendly couple from England while I was in Monterrico and we had a fantastic evening with some of the other travelers in our dorm playing Apples to Apples and dancing the night away under the full moon on the beach. Sarah and David were studying Spanish in Antigua and they highly recommended their Spanish school for both the quality of instruction and the price.  I decided it was best to return to Antigua with them to study Spanish there, accompanied by this really bubbly Australian girl named Susie and a few other travelers.

My new homestay in Antigua was a lot better than my previous homestay in Xela. I felt very welcome in their home, and my room was spotless and decorated really nicely with paintings of Antigua. My old room was basically an uninsulated attic in the top of the house with bed bugs that ate my alive every night. The food at the new place was also fantastic, and included fresh fruit, avocado, beans, fried plantains, and tortillas at most meals. My host mom and I would sit and talk for hours during every meal, and she actually seemed to enjoy speaking to me in my broken Spanish.

My new teacher Rodrigo is the best teacher that I have had so far. He has 26 over years of experience teaching Spanish, and started teaching at my school during the 80s. He draws pictures to help me understand the relationships between the various verb tenses, which works well for me since I’m such a visual learner. He’s a smiley big guy who loves telling jokes and he makes the four hours of class pass by quickly.

This past weekend the students in my house were invited by my host family to come to Coban with them for a family vacation.  The mom, Guadalupe, is from Antigua, but her husband Jose is from a small town near Coban, which is located about 5 hours north of here. They are a young family with three children under six. Demaris is five years old, and is one of the most extroverted, energetic kids I’ve ever met.  They also have a 2 month old baby, and a one-year-old girl named Kimberly, who for reasons I still don’t quite understand lives with Jose’s family in Coban instead of her mother and father in Antigua.

Going up to Coban with the family meant that Susie and Brenna and I could experience Guatemala in a way that most tourists don’t get to. The small town that Jose is from never sees foreigners, and we were the first students that my host family has ever invited to stay with their family. I loved his whole family, but his younger sister in particular seemed thrilled to have other girls around (she has four brothers and no sisters), and was excited to dress us up in her traditional Mayan clothing.

On Saturday the family took us to their small plot of land nearby where they grow food for the family, dry corn for tortillas, and swim in the nearby river. On Sunday we dressed in the traditional huipile (embroidered top) and corte (skirt) and went to the Evangelical church next door with the family. It took a collective effort to understand what was being said during the service.

In the afternoon the family took us some nearby caves and a small (chilly) river that had spectacular waterfalls which you can climb up and up for days.

Now I’m back in Antigua, and am going to leave to go to Lanquin tomorrow to see the caves at Semuc Champey.  Afterwards I will travel on to Livingston, which is a town on the Caribbean coast that is supposed to have a unique Garifuna culture. Then on to the Bay Islands in Honduras, Caye Caulker in Belize, over to Tikal in Northern Guatemala, and then back to Antigua for Semana Santa (holy week)!

You can see more photos at my flickr page.

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Written by erikalogie

March 2, 2010 at 10:58 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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