The buses are...full. Rolene snapped this picture before another 10 people got on. I know that people who have travelled in India, Latin America, Egypt, etc all have stories about crazy buses and overly fully taxis, so this may not impress anyone. But, this bus was made to comfortably seat 36 people, plus the driver. I counted 75, not including babies in arms. It wouldn´t be so bad if we were going straigh at a resonable speed, but instead we´re going really fast around mountain curves.
These next three are in Antigua, a beautiful colonial town pretty close to Guatemala City. It was the original capital at some point. There are ruins and crumbling churchs and convents all over the place. There are lots and lots of ex-pats in Antigua and lots of tourists so I saw more non-Guatemalan people than I have since the SF airport. This was strange, but honestly it was also nice to be anonymous (we had this some in Panajachel, but even more here) for a few days. Also, the friend we stayed with, Martha (an ex-pat Quaker from New York) took us out to Indian food. It was wonderful.
This is in the courtyard of the Hotel Santo Domingo, the only 5 star hotel in Guatemala and the Clintons stayed here, or so I´ve heard. The hotel is built around the ruins of this church and there is now a covered area where mass is still held. It´s hard to say how gorgeous this place was.
There was also a museum at the hotel, but it was closed when we got there. We snuck into one room though, and it had skeleton remains under glass and then this big pile of bones in the corner.
With Carolina, sister of Jaime, who works at the Mayan Scholarship fund in Parramos. She walked with us for a few days.
A pretty farm between Chimaltenengo and Guatemala City.
A recently clear cut hill. Not sure why I included this one.
The highway we are walking on, with more trees and less fumes than usual.
¨Oooh, a ditch...great!¨
Didn´t mean to put this twice. I don´t like ditches that much.
On the walk between Parramos and Antigua.
Typical cemetery--lots of color, tucked in behind some trees right next to the road.
A sometimes-still-active volcano, with corn planted up the side of the hill.
The sign says ¨No dumping garbage.¨ This is an especially bad section of road, garbage wise...though there are many especially bad sections.
It´s been a week or so since I last posted, which makes it hard to remember what has happened. I´m sure it´ll come to me. I´m feeling a little better now but I´m pretty cranky today. I´m a little homesick and a little stir crazy because we haven´t walked in three days and a little frustrated about trying to buy my plane ticket from Costa Rica to Mexico City (the old plan was that I´d come home from Costa Rica, but I realized I was scheduled to go to a Quaker thing in Monterrey in early May and then found out my friend from Mexico City, Betty, is getting married May 8th so I´m coming home via Mexico City May 9th).
A few further explainations--
homesick: I actually miss you all less acutely than I did the first couple weeks (this does not mean that you should stop writing to me!) but I miss feeling comfortable. I´m not constantly uncomfortable, but I´m also not home. I miss knowing the people around me and not having to explain to a disbelieving audience what I´m doing. I miss knowing where I´m going to be tomorrow and eating food I recognize. I think I got a little spoiled in Antigua because we were staying in Martha´s beautiful an comfortable home and hanging out with other people from the States and eating good food. I´m anxious to get walking but it´s also a bit of a letdown to come back from our mini-vacation. I love going on these adventures and I´m eternally grateful for the support I´ve been given to have these opportunities, but I´m also realizing that I basically like being at home and won´t mind staying put for a while once I get back.
stir crazy: it´s Tuesday and we haven´t walked since Saturday. It was nice to have a couple days off to relax in Antigua and we happened to be there for the monthy Quaker meeting in town. But, we were supposed to come back to Parramos this morning to pick up the truck and head to the east side of Guatemala City (we´re not walking through the city because too many people have warned us that it´s too dangerous) and start walking again. Jaime´s brother is painting the Walk With Earth logo on the side of the truck and he´s not done so we have to stay here another night. We´ll be moving tomorrow so if we might not have time to walk. Oh well. I´m having a hard time going with the flow today so I kind of want to throw a temper tantrum but I guess I won´t.
frustrated: i´m going to try to buy my ticket again after I write this, but if it still doesn´t work I might just have that temper tantrum.
So, we walked between Chimaltenengo and Guatemala City and to Antigua and when we start walking again we´ll be going about a hundred miles to Chiquimula where there´s a bunch of Quakers. Those of you who are of the Quaker persuasion know that there´s more than one kind of Quaker, but as it turns out, many of you aren´t Quakers. I´m not going to go into the history, but I´ll just say that there have been splits in Quakerism and there are a few different branches. The Quakers in Latin America and Africa are almost entirely Evangelical Quakers. You might be thinking, ¨but wait, Quakers don´t proseltize!¨ Well, the branch I´m a part of doesn´t and many people believe ¨my¨Quakers are about as similar to the evangelical ones as we are to conservative Presbyterians. So, going to the Quaker churches here is very different and very interesting. I´m pretty good at finding similarities to focus on and I have some practice with the skill of spiritual translation (where I try to hear the part I relate to and to figure out how their words could mean something for me even though they are so different than my words).
I´m sure there´s specific stories from the days we walked but I can´t remember them now. I mostly day dream for the 3 or 4 hours that we walk each day. I think part of the stir-crazy is that I haven´t had sufficient time to run around in my own head!
I´ll write again soonish, though I´ve heard that it´s less populated between Guat. City and Chiquimula so there may be less internet cafes. I promise to be safe, so don´t worry!