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"I have never sweat so much after doing nothing in my entire life" - c

Written on: Friday April 3rd, 2009

A journal entry from: Guatemala, mi amor.

    I completely forgot about a crazy thing that happened in El Salvador.  Even crazier than the drunk dude and the police? Friday night we were all sitting around in the lounge area of our hotel watching a surfing video when a man with a microphone started yelling.  It sounded like a sermon, but we just turned the sound up and I kindof forgot about him.  That was probably at around 9 o'clock at night.  The video ended at 10:30 and the man was still yelling.  I thought that was pretty ridiculous for a Friday night, but I figured it was going to end soon so it was kindof a 'whatever' type of thing.  Another hour goes by and the man is still yelling. He pretty much yelled the same things over and over but apparently he also pegged off the tourists by saying that we were all sleeping in our little cabins when we should be praying and I think he called us a name, but I can't remember.  He probably said we were a bunch of sinners or something.  Another hour passed and I could not turn my Ipod up any higher to drown out his voice or the 15 minute long songs that some tone-deaf dude was trying to sing.  Everything was happening right across the street from us in an open-air hut and we were only separated by windows.  Another hour passed by and we were getting agitated.  Brie had to leave because she was getting restless in bed and went off to use the Internet for a bit.  It was a 'blessing in disguise' because she received an email that she got a job.  I think I ended up being the last one to fall asleep because even when they called it quits at 2am as dogs were barking at them and they were blaring music from their vans.  It was completely ridiculous and I definitely felt tired the next day.  Juan thought it was hilarious when I asked if it was going to happen every night and he said it was rare; however, people who had been there for a little while knew what it was about so obviously it happens often enough.  
    So, this past week consisted of a literature final exam (which I thought I aced, but found out that I just did ok?I don't have my grade yet, but my professor was playing the sneaky question game and I lost).  The best part was that I finished writing my exam after 2 hours, and at the 2.5 hour point our part of the city lost power so my classmates had to complete their exams in the dark!  We lose power often here, but it was pretty bad timing that time!  My classmates were writing their exams by cellular-light! It was funny for me because I was finished and was waiting for my friend Brie to finish hers as well so we could pop off for some dinner then go to the gym.  Poor Brie had to use her cell phone until they brought in candles.  The rest of the week went smoothly and was pretty much a waiting game until it was time to take off for Livingston, Tikal and the Finca Ixobel.  
    The trip to Livingston was relatively relaxing.  We took a school bus again which makes me super happy.  I really love taking school buses to get around.  The quote from the subject line does come from one of my classmates and sums up our bus/trip experience. Any body part touching the bus instantly was drenched in sweat.  That's how hot it was.  Buckets, my friends... buckets.  We arrived at a place called Rio Dulce.  It's a beautiful river where many wealthy people have their summerhouses.  Also to give you an indication of the wealth out there, they have a yacht club.  There was a yacht there larger than my house here in Antigua and that is not an exaggeration.  It was possibly 2x larger, but I couldn't be sure.  To get to Livingston from Rio Dulce, we needed to go by boat, so we floated along the river looking at mangroves, mini-islands and large houses along the way, while stopping to look at a cave and swim in some hot springs.  We started at one opening of the river and ended up at the other end where we met Livingston.  Livingston has a culture all its own as it has Garifuna culture (feel free to wiki that one), Ladino culture and Indigenous culture all wrapped up into one little town.  It was really fun and interesting, but very expensive.  They charged 2-3x as much for dinner as other locations.  It was delicious non-the-less, but still hurt the budget a little.  Anyway, Livingston was freakin hot.  There was not a moment when we weren't sweating buckets.  Luckily our hotel room had A/C.  Spoiled much??  I was very grateful at the time, but I hadn't realized just how grateful I would be for that until we arrived in our next location.  
    I'm not entirely sure how, but the temperature managed to get hotter once we arrived in our next location known as Remate.  In Remate, our place was known as an 'ecolodge'.  It was in nature – but wasn't as 'eco' compared to the Earth Lodge that I had gone to? We were right on the lake which was pretty wicked because we could go for swims when we over heated (which was all the time).  It was hard too because our first activity in Remate (after eating) was to visit a local healer who used natural herbs for healing.  She took us to her land and told us about all she used but I think with the heat, mosquitoes and general tiredness of the group, it was a fairly short visit.  It was also interesting because she emphasized that she was Ladino.  Very Ladino.  I guess I had assumed that she would be indigenous, but her father felt that natural healing was important and had a book of herbs, which they used to learn the different characteristics of different plants.  It really doesn't matter what her background is it was just really fascinating, particularly when considering the dynamic between indigenous and ladino, and traditional and modernist.  She herself even went to a western doctor for assistance, but still spoke about the negative affects of western medications.  I had many questions for her, but didn't manage to ask.  We mostly just looked at the plants she used.  After we were finished there, we all went for a swim in the lake, which was really nice considering it was like, 35degrees.  I think Remate was the only place that the temperature actually gets hotter at night.  It was very cool because there were so many different critters (lizards and frogs to name the main ones?spiders too?but ew).  Anyway, in my clearly finite wisdom, I asked that we close our little front cover because otherwise we have a big open glassless window.  It really didn't matter if bugs or critters got into our places because we were all covered in mosquito nets but I still wanted to prevent a critter infestation.  I got the top bunk and had about 3 feet between me and the roof – at one point I was rolling around and hit the roof with my butt.  The first time around, it took me 5 tries to get up the little ladder and underneath my elasticized mozzie net.  After that, I was golden, but it took me a while.  With the cover on the window, with my bed so high in the air, with my mozzie net covering my bed and with the intensified humidity and heat, I actually felt like I was suffocating.  Every 20 minutes I had to fan the air around my face with my hand to cool it down so I could breathe for a little while.  I was growing more and more frustrated because I had to get up at 4:30 in order to go to Tikal and I couldn't sleep.  Finally at midnight we all woke up and agreed to open the big cover only because it took me forever to get into the top bunk, I was automatically disqualified from the lucky job of opening it? so Brie volunteered.  Poor girl struggled with it so finally I opted to help and climbed down from my little bed.  It was not instant relief like I'd hoped, but fresh air was definitely circulating.  
    At 4:30 I realized I got about 3 hours of sleep and was definitely not in the mood to be awake.  We hopped on the bus for 5:15 and started on the 30min drive to Tikal.  We picked up our guide along the way and I thought he spoke with a very classic accent – almost as if he learned his English from Humphrey Bogart.  I loved it.  He knew everything about everything.  He knew so much that I was actually concerned that we weren't going to enter the actual park because we stopped so many times to hear about some really random facts.  I know what tree gum comes from though!  I'd say that's pretty cool.  We finally did enter into the park and it was a beautiful place.  I can't even put words to it!  We were among the first there.  All 30 of us.  I'm going to post pictures on facebook so please check them out.  Feel free to ask more questions about Tikal – it's not like I don't have anything to say because I have a lot? it was just too immense to say anything!  
    After leaving the swealtering heat of Tikal – 38 degrees with humidity, we were granted a free afternoon of nothing to do but swim in the lake.  We stayed in Remate one more night and luckily for us, it decided to cool down.  I don't know if it actually did, but I was so exhausted that no matter what, I was sleeping.  We left Remate the next day and went to Flores.  There as well, I was dying of heat.  My friend Andrea and I wandered over to a restaurant Pollo Campero (It's the Guatemalan version of KFC and much more beloved than KFC ever would be by Americans).  PC was air conditioned and sold ice cream.  After laughing at Andrea's melting and smooshing ice cream cone, we left into the swealtering heat to continue on our way to Finca Ixobel (Ishobel).  It was pretty wicked because it was just a chill place with hammocks to relax.  They had a lagoon to swim in, but we didn't opt to go in.  We actually played Cranium instead!  Who plays Cranium in Guatemala?  Well, I do I guess ☺.  I really love that game.  The acting bits are so fun.  I got to pretend to play paintball and made the little 'piew piew' noises.  I was so tired by the end of the night, they offered to throw us a party, but I ended up falling asleep early again after attacking some homework.  It was definitely a play week, but I tried to work at the same time.  We hopped on the bus for the trip home and 8 hours and buckets of sweat later, we ended up back in Antigua where we were actually chilled!
    This week should be another gooder – we have our semester evaluation tomorrow then a group party on Saturday.  I'm planning on going to El Salvador on Monday again, but have recently decided that I might not go anymore.  Others from our group are thinking about going since they heard about how wicked it was and I might want to stick around in Antigua a bit more and spend more time here.  I haven't decided yet, but it will be blogged as soon as I know. ☺
    I hope you all had and will have a good week!  I hear the weather is nice (finally!) so I hope you're living it up!! Take care all!


From George Barnhart on Apr 3rd, 2009

Hilarious adventures, Meghan. Love the pics.