Monday, April 28, 2008
On Friday, I went with Chorjale to play sports against Las Ventanas, another of the big schools around here. I spent all day in the sun watching first girls, then three different boys teams play soccer. We lost every game. We also lost every game of basketball they played simultaneously up at the school. In Guatemala, they don’t really go for the “the most important part is that you had fun” philosophy so the kids were pretty disappointed. I had a good time though and we get another chance to win this Friday when the school is coming to play on our home turf in Chorjale. We also rode there in the back of a giant truck which was pretty fun. They tried to insist I sit up front with the driver but I told them I wanted to ride in the back with the rest of the teachers and students. It was a great game trying to keep my balance on the rough dirt road. When they went through to drop me off in Cabrican, the other two teachers climbed over the side and tried to tell the driver to put the ladder down for me but I insisted on climbing over the side too. I just want to be like everyone else as much as possible because I look SO different.
I left at 5am Saturday morning to go meet some people at Lake Atitlan. I got to Panajachel at 9:30am and found out that everyone had gone across the lake to go swimming. Thankfully, they left one person waiting for me and we took a launch out to a hotel where they let us swim because we bought lunch there. They had these great stone patios that you could sunbathe on a dive off. I also got to enhance my sunburn from being outside all day Friday. The lake was SO beautiful and the water was perfect. You have this amazing view of volcanoes all around you. The lake itself is a huge crater left over from a monumental volcanic eruption in the past. It has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. After swimming, we went back to the hostel and rested before meeting some Guatemalan friends for dinner. We went to a restaurant owned by a Canadian man where I ordered a bacon cheeseburger. It was HEAVEN after not having anything of the sort for 4 months. We also stumbled upon a punk/ska concert that was happening across the street. It was almost like being home for a night.
In the morning, I woke up too early as usual and left for home at around 7:30. I stood on the side of the road watching buses pass too quickly to stop for me for awhile before I finally got one to stop. The problem was, there weren’t any seats left so the ayudante sat me down in his spot, which is on an upside down bucket in the front with the driver. I had to hang on for dear life around all the curves through the mountains. We were almost to Xela before a seat opened up for me. I politely declined the free ride to San Marcos they offered me. I had to get back to Xela early because the last bus leaves for Cabrican on Sundays at 1:30pm. I got back in plenty of time, did some civilization-shopping (I got cheese, butter, coconut milk, measuring cups, a wooden spoon, and nail polish) and got on a bus that was leaving at noon which put me home around two. I was so exhausted that I slept for 2 hours when I got home. I hung out at Sara’s house and ate popcorn for a few hours and went to sleep at 8pm because I was still so exhausted.
This morning half my teachers didn’t come to school. The ones that were there didn’t really feel like working and invited me to eat scones and coffee and go across the street to the store to drink soda with them. I also got roped into playing basketball for an hour after recess and when I finished, the teacher that had brought me to school had left without telling anyone. I was going to take the bus but the teachers all insisted I get a ride home with a local man they knew because the bus was “too rough” on those roads. I opted for the free ride over paying for the bus. I also got invited to eat dinner at a teacher’s house tomorrow because they are killing a turkey to celebrate Labor Day (Thursday). Life just keeps getting more interesting around here.