Love this place and these people

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I'm home and ready to update

Updating is obviously something I'm struggling with. That is partly because the computers in Guatemala were pretty slow with blogs and partly because I was having so much fun that I didn't want to spend time blogging about the fun things I was doing. So my goal for the next week is to update with at least most of my adventures that I had while in Guatemala. I'm going to start where I left off which was really just the first week I was there. The second week I was there I actually got really sick. The kids at the orphanage all had the flu and kindly passed it on to us volunteers. I now understand why so many elementary teachers keep large bottles of hand sanitizer on their desks. I called my mom during this weekend and she thought I was going to die from the sound of my cough. I felt like I was going to die. And I realized that even though being sick at home is not fun, it is a far cry better than being sick in a third world country without the comforts of home. After a few days of sitting in my red cement walled room for several days straight I left to attend church partly because I wanted to find the Elders to ask them to give me a blessing and partly because I was so sick of being in my bed. It's amazing how much better it is being sick when you have television and movies to pass the time. Needless to say, I didn't go anywhere fun that week.

By the next weekend I was finally recovered enough to venture out. There were some volunteers from the orphanage who were heading to Honduras to visit the Copan ruins, so I decided to go with them. The actual distance is not that far, however, the journey was less than exciting. We left at 4am on Saturday and there were 12 of us packed into a small shuttle van. The roads are windy and the van got hot. I was in the back seat and the only way I kept from getting sick was putting my headphones in with some calming music and telling myself over and over that I was not going to be sick. My friend Tom who was sitting in the back with me did not have a system like this and we ended up having to pull over to let him out. After that he switched places with someone and sat in the front for the rest of the journey.

We finally arrived in Copan Ruinas, which is the quaint little town next to the ruins, around 10am and quickly found a really cheap but lovely place to stay and went in search of some breakfast. The ever faithful Lonely Planet had some suggestions and we took one of them, ending up at the most delicious little restaurant called. The breakfast was delicious and it was accompanied by a fresh mango smoothie that was even better. They have fresh fruit smoothies called liquados in almost every restaurant and because they're so cheap, having one with my meal became a tradition while I was down there. After breakfast we headed to the ruins. Copan is part of the Mayan civilization and it is famous for its well preserved carvings. As you can see in these pictures, many of the columns and temples have carvings on them that are very clear. We had a great tour guide and had some fun taking photos. It was so much hotter and more humid down there than in Antigua. We were all gross and sweaty by the time we were done looking at the ruins. But it was beautiful. It is so incredible to think how many hundreds of people lived in those civilizations over the years. They built them all without machines or even wheels. I don't know how they did it. We took it easy that night as we were all so exhausted from our early morning. Phoung and I were sharing a room and we actually watched Gossip Girls in Spanish for awhile. That was pretty entertaining. Because of the long journey home, we had to leave at noon the next day, but luckily our shuttle was much less crowded on the way home. In fact I had my own seat and was able to sleep most of the way home.

It was a quick trip but I'm so glad that I went. I loved getting to know Phoung, Tom and Simon better. We also ended up meeting some other new friends while we were down there who went around the ruins with us. Meeting new people was one of my favorite things about my time down in Guatemala. Everywhere I went there were fun new people who were just waiting to share their stories and make new friends. It was delightful. I love people!

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