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Well look who passed her literature exam!!

Written on: Thursday February 26th, 2009

A journal entry from: Guatemala, mi amor.

That's right, I passed!!!!  Not only did I pass but I passed with a bit extra!  That may not sound like much to gloat about, but I'm gloatin anyway!  AND to make everything that much better, there are no more lit classes!  We're freakin done!  Our final isn't for another month (which is ridiculous but will give me an opportunity to actually read the readings? bahaha)
    There's nothing much to report as we've done nothing really educational and my friends have an exam so we didn't go anywhere for kicks.  I'm just going to write about random things because I can.  
    Every morning at there's a horn that honks like OOOOOONNNHHHHGGGGGG and right after a guy says into a mega phone NEAAAAAAAAAAAGGGHHHHHHH!  For the longest time, I made plans to wake up early and find out what it was.  I set my alarm but couldn't be bothered to get out of bed.  I made up stories in my head for what it could be.  Perhaps, a general Antiguan morning wake-up call.  Or someone collecting street dogs.  Or a morning jog club where everyone collectively goes jogging.  Apparently though, only tourists go jogging.  Finally, I broke down and asked my house mom.  I always wish that I would have left it a mystery because when I know, the fun is gone.  Ultimately, it turns out that there's a man who drives around with gas for stoves and because people never know when their stove is going to run out of gas, the man in his little truck makes his rounds daily.  The company is called Z-gas or Zeta Gas.  He doesn't say NEAAAAGGGHHH, he says ZETA GAAAAAAAAAAAAS.  
    Car alarms are always going off.  Some of the students have even gone as far as memorizing how they sound (most likely they didn't memorize it by choice).  They know what noise is going to come next because all the car alarms are the same here, which I think is defeatist.  If I have the same car alarm as someone else, I'd probably get tired of running out to answer the alarm only to discover it was someone else's.  Really, the alarms probably go off for ages because people wait until everyone else has done the checking and if its still going after 10 minutes, they figure its theirs and click their little button.  I've stopped noticing them and I think the people who were counting them stopped when they hit the 60's.  I actually set one off the other day!  I think my sweater brushed the side of a car.  Really, people probably get those types of car alarms just so they can watch the people who did it look around confused, scared and a little guilty saying to nobody 'it wasn't me'.  
    I climbed a volcano and it was bloody hard.  When people smile and cheerfully say 'it's a 2 hour hike up to the volcano' I don't know why I thought 'sweet, sounds awesome' and didn't think 'hmm, it's probably an incline of about 70 degrees and I will probably be dead by the end of it' because that would have been far more realistic.  I do go to the gym here so I didn't do too badly, but it was still pretty hard.  Some people had fantastic photos of their volcano experience with lava bubbling and little lava rivers, or even of them roasting marshmallows or sausages.  We took marshmallows, but the gale force winds. sharp pointy rocks and minimal lava meant that we could only get close enough to say we stood on the active part and the marshmallows stayed in the bag.  Turns out, 5 days before we climbed the volcano there was a large group of tourists that were unlucky enough to be standing on an explosive platform and were sent flying.  One man apparently rolled down the side, which would have absolutely killed.  I couldn't imagine how he could have survived to be very honest, but he did thankfully!  They all ended up in the hospital but apparently are fine.  The energy expended from the volcano explosion probably made our time to go safer, and also a little dull.  After we left the active bit to make our way back, a canal opened up for a few stragglers who were still in the active area and close to see it and I took some pictures from a distance (which you can see on facebook if you want!).  
    Antigua is all cobblestone.  It's oddly romantic if you like that kind of thing, but it is also incredibly dangerous.  Some people drive like maniacs (but are still better than drivers in Saskatoon? no offence to my tooners)  and I have to cross a busy street.  That busy street is probably the scariest part of my day.  I nearly got hit by a motorcycle the other day and once a truck actually rolled back into my leg to the point where I had to bend it to make sure the truck didn't break it.  I'm getting better at my street crossing.  Apparently I didn't practice enough in Canada, but I'm seeing improvements.  Really though, this street isn't THAT big, it's just keeping your eyes on the cars, chicken buses, bicycles, motorcycles, and scooters while also trying to avoid breaking an ankle on the cobblestone, it's a bit of sensory overload.  Even the sidewalks are a bit mad!  There are window boxes around every window so that when you walk by one, your shoulder gets clipped by cement and iron bars.  When you're watching out for the window boxes, you inevitably hit a massive crack in the side walk.  I seemed to have increased my levels of clumsiness so that daily, I have at least one near nose dive.  I've always managed to save myself at the last minute, but the scariest one to date was at the pee corner.  Men pee in the streets, against walls, on sidewalks? It doesn't seem to matter.  One Casanova tried flirting with me while doing it.  The pee corner is a corner that I have to walk by and always has one or two little puddles or rivers.  One morning, I was smiling at a little boy saying something funny to his mom and I didn't see the 2 inch high crack in the side walk.  My arms flew out I made a noise like a strangled goose and nearly landed on my face.  Luckily, my right foot decided to come to the rescue and save me from falling.   People were trying not to laugh, but I really couldn't blame the ones who did.  
    In my last entry I talked about bartering and payment to vendors.  They have little stores here and rarely are their prices displayed.  Like I said before, I never feel ripped off so when I ask the vendor how much it costs for something, I'm not going to sit there and argue it down because just like in Canada, if there's a better price elsewhere, go shop there or pay the prices that are asked.  I went into a store before going to the volcano and was in the process of buying a Gatorade when another foreign girl walked in and brought a big 1 litre bottle of water to the front and asked the vendor how much.  He said, 10Q.  She looked at him and said '10Q?! but it's 7 out there' and randomly pointed out the door (for the record, I've had to pay 10Q for half a litre).  He shrugged and said '10'.  She replied, 'no, 7'.  I pretty much stopped trying to find my money at this point because I was a little stunned.  The vendor shrugged again and said 8.  She put 7Q down on the counter and said, 'no, 7', grabbed the bottle of water, and left.  The vendor looked mad as he walked over to me to take my money.  I handed it to him and when he gave me my change I ALMOST gave him an extra Q just because I almost felt responsible for her actions, or more so felt badly that I hadn't done anything.  I think the stunned look on my face and the gracias made him smile a little so that was good.  

Anyway! This week it's just more schoolin and trip plannin!  Hopefully an adventure or two will fall into the mix :)

Muchas gracias a todos y hasta luego!


From Meghan Barnhart on Feb 27th, 2009

P.S. The Zeta Gas dude was in our house today!!! A CELEBRITY!! In MY house!!! (well, not MY house...). He had such a soft and quiet voice! it was so exciting.

From George Barnhart on Mar 2nd, 2009

Great news on the lit exam!!