Wednesday, January 28, 2009


A few people requested more photos and less words. I can´t guarantee less words, but here´s some more photos. Sadly, tragically even, my camera broke. I don´t know why, but yesterday it shuddered as it took its final breath and looked at me as if to say, ¨It´s been real, kid...but my work here is done.¨ The thing is, it´s work wasn´t done. Shucks. Oh well, I´ll get a new one when I get to Guatemala City in a few days. Hopefully Rolene´s camera, iffy as it is, will hold up till then so I can keep posting photos.

From the road on the way back from Lake Atitlán with Volcán San Pedro and Volcán Tolimán behind it. The bus ride down there was atrocious. It took two hours from Chimaltenengo and for the first hour I was the third person on a seat made for two so I was only halfway on the seat, going around crazy twists and turns. When we finally got there, carsick and cranky, I wasn´t sure that the ride was worth it, but it most definitely was. This is the deepest lake in Central America at about 5,000 feet deep.

The two aforementioned volcanoes on the left and Volcán Atitlán on the right. This shot and the next were taken from our table at a restaurant called Sunset in the town of Panajachel. It was ridiculously beautiful and only a little bit chilly (it´s been cold in the mountains--cold enough to see our breath and there was ice on the ground a few nights ago, in Xela). we ate, we chatted with Melody, from San Francisco and a man from Holland. It was lovely, and the wine didn´t hurt either :)
Somewhere between Tecpan and Chimaltenengo. These ¨from the road¨ shots start to blend together and it´s hard to remember where exactly we were. Not a terribly exciting shot, but a typical view of farmland with the hills in the background.

These guys were walking, in the opposite direction, on the highway near Tecpan. They´d found an injured bird and were taking it home to try and nurse it back to health.

From the road on our way from Xela to Tecpan. It´s beautiful, but you can also see the deforestation in the hills. Lots of clearcut mountains around here.

The family we stayed with in Tecpan. Miguel Angel, his two kids Gaby and Angel and their grandma and great-aunt came to check out our truck before we left town. Juanita, Miguel Angel´s wife, had already left for work (teaching 4th grade).

Angel is a real ham. Cute as a bug, easy to laugh and very full of personality.
Miguel Angel and the kids watching Rolene play her harp.

Gaby is very smart. She´s 5 yrs old and can read upside down. She unknowingly gave me a vocabulary lesson when we were playing one night. She has a toy cell phone and it would ¨ring¨and I´d pick it up and pretend to talk to whoever she said was on the phone. I talked to Jesus, a sheep, a angel, her dad, grandpa, the Virgin. Then she told me it was Santa Claus and I asked her what she wanted for Christmas and we named about a thousand nouns. I think I only remember a few of them by heart, but it was fun and we cracked up a bunch of times.

We are now in a small town called Parramos, staying in the home of Lauren Lasalle, who is in the States right now. This is also the office of the Mayan Scholarship Fund, which gives money to Mayans who are doing work in the community.
Miguel Angel, from the pictures, is the director of MSF. It was really great to stay with his family. Having little kids around is always fun for me and when the adult Spanish-talk got too overwhelming I could go goof around with the kids. The first day I felt really cranky (and my stomach, though not keeping me layed out as it did when I was really sick, was still a little shaky) and I felt shy/unwilling to sit around and not understand a lot of the chatting. I took some time to be alone and listen to music, which really helped. Rolene and I get along quite well, but we are basically always together. I need more alone time to sit with my thoughts and quietly process my day. This is true when I´m in a regular routine back home, and even more so on this constantly stimulating trip.
We are getting into a good routine with walking, doing about 10 miles a day with breaks on the days when we move the truck to a new town and need to resettle. I feel strong and healthy and only have one small blister so far. I´m much happier on the days when we are walking than on the days where we move to a new town. The constant state of transition is hard for me and once we´ve stayed somewhere for more than one night I want to call it home and settle in. So, each time we move it´s a readjustment and on the first day I think that there´s no way that this new place is going to live up to the last place and I don´t like it very much. Then, I get comfortable with the people and we start walking and I cheer up. I´m seeing this pattern happen, so I can just relax and take it a little easy on the first day, knowing that I´ll feel better the next day.
A few mostly unrelated notes: After the hot showers at Miguel Angel´s the cold bucket of water sponge bath here in Parramos leaves something to be desired. I hate bus/truck/car fumes and the smell of roadkill. I hate roosters. I love the hours of daydreaming while walking. I love long underwear. I miss you guys.


  1. I have to give a shout out to your words. Which are awesome. Don't bow down to peer pressure! (Unless it's mine. What? Who said that? You must have been daydreaming again... your dreams are telling you something important. You should listen to them.) Also, Angel is way cuter than a bug.