Saturday, October 3, 2009

Saturday, Oct. 3, 2009

I got to sleep in this morning, I woke up at 6:35... I was up, dressed, and out of the house by 7. I did not pack enough cargo shorts, so I was off to the "paca" to try to find a pair. The "paca" is a pick-up truck that comes to town every Wednesday and Saturday to sell used clothes from the U.S. They sell every thing for Q5, purses, jackets, pants, shirts, infants, chicldren, women, men, etc. They are intended for the poor people, but a couple of savvy business people figured out they can buy items for Q5 and sell them in their store for Q15 to Q50.
The people (mostly women) are like wild dogs on a bone, don'y get in their way they will bite... After being pushed, pulled, and shoved around by a bunch of 4'6" women, I called it quits without finding anything.
Next was breakfast, a banana smoothie and a homemade apple danish for Q23 (a little less than $3) and waited for yoga class. Q30 ($3.75) for one and a half hour yoga class with one instructor and only four students. The photos are of the yoga studio and both entrances.
Next is horse back riding, I think or maybe a swim, who knows???

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday, Oct. 2, 2009

School, as usual, was great. I know 2 words very well; error (obviously error) and otra vez (again). Those are the 2 I hear about every other sentance...
The teachers & administrative staff at San Pedro Spanish School are great. If ask about something, it becomes their life ambition to help you with it. I really like my host family and their house, but it is so far away. When I asked if I could switch, I had three different "all over it". When I asked the shuttle to the airport on Saturday morning, I got a similar response. Selvin, the fellow who seems to run everything, sat down with me to figure out which shuttle, when & where, and arranged everything for me. Now THAT is service.
The pictures are of a couple of plants that grow around the school. They are like weeds here, but house plants at home.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009, updated

The contrast is amazing. Beautiful country side and overcrowded little town, there are some rich people, and many poor people. To continue the contrast, lots of trash and lots of flowers. For the most part people seem to be happy and friendly. The only crime comes from the tourists who either won't, can't, or don't leave. They say if you leave something expensive lying around, it will walk off, but no one breaks in and steals. And there is no violent crime at all.

Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009

For breakfast we had a plain omlet (2 eggs, powdered milk, & chicken bullion) with 5 or 6 slices of tomato and a bowl of very runny, very milky, very bland oat meal and a glass of water.
For lunch for we had a half of a chicken breast (bone in) covered in a sort of BBQ sauce, but it was made with soy sauce and some sort of sweetener, with a pile rice, a bowl of chicken noodle soup (spaghetti noodles) and a little salad of sliced lettuce and shredded carrots, the dressing for all of the salads so far have been a wedge of lime...
Class is progressing well. Everyday I realize, more and more, how bad my spanish was. The pronunciations were about half wrong. Clemente, my teacher, is setting me straight though. I will post more pictures shortly.
My teacher, Clemente, went with me to get a cell phone today so I could call home more often. Everyone seems to have a "trac-phone" of sorts, no contract, you just buy minute cards and load them on to your phone. My phone was the cheapest they had, it cost $20 and came with 130 minutes per-loaded, plus another $12 dollars to buy an extra 300 minutes (special for the day). The minutes count as 2 if you call the states. So, I really got 215 minutes plus the phone for $32...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2009

School is going great. I wish I would have paid better attention in english class though because I really have to struggle when they start talking about verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc.
There is no activity tonight after conversation club, but there is a soccor game tonight at 8. All of the schools have soccor teams and they formed a little league and Wednesday is game day. My teacher, Clemente, invited me to go watch. It is only about a 20 minute walk away. Everything seams to be a 20 minute walk away. Yet, it is another chance to practice my spanish.
At lunch today, I could understand about half of the conversation between the host mother and the 2 Swiss guys (their spanish is very good), but I seem to be about a sentance behind.

Tuesday, Sep. 29, 2009 update

Here is how my schedule works; breakfast at 7 AM, school from 8 to 12 (with a 15 minute break at 10 AM), then back to the host family for lunch at 1:00 PM, goof off until about 3:00 or 3:30, then back to the school to use the internet (to update blog and email) until 5:15 when “conversation club” starts (5:15 to 6:00 PM), then back the host family for supper at 7:00 PM, then home work until bed. That is how it works in a perfect world, but I am usually pretty close to that. Conversation club is any and all students get broke into groups and can practice what they have learned so far. It is like a free class for 45 minutes every evening. Today’s excursion was a movie and Thursday’s is Salsa lessons.
It is about a mile, one way, to the school. Four miles per day, assuming I don’t forget anything or need to make a special trip or the internet is not working and I have to go find an internet cafĂ©…

Tuesday, Sep. 29, 2009

The home internet has been messed up since I’ve been here, but today the schools internet kicked me off after about 25 minutes and I could not get back on. So, I am writing today and posting some photos as well. Clemente is my “Maestro” or teacher. The other photos are of the garden, where the open air class rooms are.
My toilet seat was broken when I got here, so I bought a new one and replaced it, very cheap. Evidently, you are not supposed to put anything in the toilet, including the used toilet paper. However, I did not know it and, incidentally, stopped up my toilet. So, I bought a plunger and fixed that problem. Not my most shining moment in life…
That is what I did in the afternoon after class. I returned for “conversation club” and when that was finished we watched a very sad movie, in Spanish with English sub-titles, about the Guatemalan civil war.
The small yellow building is the bathroom (rooms) for the school. Attahced to the side is the wash room where all of the dishes, utensils, & towels are washed.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday, Sep. 28, 2009, updated

They seem to grow corn & coffee every where. A vacant lot, the back yard, along the side of the road, etc. The larger plants, coffee, mango, banana, etc, have seasons, but the vegatables, including corn, are grown year round.

Monday, Sep. 28, 2009

I woke up at 5:30, showered (warm drizzle of a shower), dressed, shaved, and out for a walk by 6. Returned by 7 for a breakfast of fresh diced pineapple & watermelon, along with pancakes & honey, and washed it all down with water. I left the house about 7:30 for the walk to school. In my back pack is my lap top (& cords, etc), 24 boxes of crayons, 12 (10 count) packs of pencils, and small grocery bag of miscilanious hotel shampoos, conditioners, hand & body soap, mouth wash etc. My back pack weighed about 40 lbs. and I had to walk about 1-1/2 miles to school.
School was great. It turns out I don't know as much as I thought as I thought did... My teacher, Clemente, is 27, married, and has an 8 month old daughter. I will post a picture of him tomorrow, along with the "class room" we are in...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday, Sep. 27, 2009

Woke up several times during the night, the bed was comfy, I chalk it up to strange surroundings. I finally roll out of bed at about 5:55, was out for stroll by 6:30. I was lost by about 7:15... Definitely getting my exercise here. The streets are either up or down, nothing flat or straight it would seem. There are no "paved" roads here, they are either; cobble stone (volcanic rock?), cement pavers, or dirt.
I did more photographs during my little walk this morning. I had fresh squeezed orange juice (squeezed while I waited) for breakfast, cost about $0.40. After returning to the house for about an hour I head back out to try to lost again. San Pedro is a town of 13,000 Mayan people and as I am finding out many foreign residence as well. I have met a couple of Americans in passing, 2 Swedes and many more Israelis.
I found the "mercado", bought a watch ($3), and had a chita (cousin to the tamale), then found the short cut from the casa, to the school, then to the tourist area. I did get registered at the school ok, then had a little dessert while used the Internet, brownie & coffee. The coffee was instant coffee made with milk (not bad) and the brownie was made with chocolate from here in Guatemala. The brownie was very good, but still no match for the brownies made by the amazing Chelsey.

Saturday, Sep. 26, 2009

I left Columbus Saturday at 7:05 AM (on time, but last time on time). Flight was late getting into Atlanta (rain had them backed up). Got my exercise for the day, gate had been changed and no one told me it was also delayed, so I jogged the entire length of concourse "E" only to find out it had been changed to concourse "T", so I took the train (hold on) and jogged the entire length of concourse "T". Only to find out the flight was delayed and I had plenty of time... The flight went off without a hitch, the in flight movie (that helped with passing the 3 hour flight) was "Ghost of Girlfriends past".

Antonio picked me as scheduled, maybe a little early, but was good. 5-1/2 hours, and 9 other passengers later, we arrived in San Pedro. A taxi takes me the home of Viki & Rafael. I am showed my room, took forever to find the right key, and ordered to eat dinner. When I said I had to use the Internet, it was a clear "after dinner". So, after dinner, I send off a quick email to my lovely, all be it nervous, wife. An hour later I find a restaurant with wi-fi. I am not hungry, so I have a couple of Gallo Cervezas while I use the free wi-fi to up load some pictures and email Bren one more time.