Friday, February 12, 2010

Guatemala Life

I’ve decided to become a morning blogger, as I now wake up at 5:45 and don’t have the distractions of anyone else being awake (ie. new e-mails, facebook or AIM). So I hope you will bear with me at this ungodly hour. I also think that I am better in the morning, with any lingering bitterness dreamt away and a new day ahead. That or I am just too tired to have a good filter.

After having been here nearly A MONTH I realize I haven’t shared anything about Guatemala, the country, culture, climate or my random thoughts. So here are my observations in no particular order:

1)Every man, woman and child eats with a fork in one hand and a rolled up tortilla in the other, alternating bites.
2)The stars are amazing, I look at them every night breathless (from the extreme stair climbing I must do) while listening to the sprinklers watering the crops of the entire vegetable and herb supply for the orphanage. It is grown on-site which is amazing and has provided for the orphanage funding to add foods to their diet, like fruit and ice cream treats.
3)The country is extremely mountainous. Much more than I thought. My expectation was more of a jungle climate. There are four active volcanoes: Pacaya (where you can see a lava flow if you climb it, which I have every intention of doing by the way), Santa Maria, Santiaguito, and Fuego
4)I imagined everyone to speak a sort of Spanglish…not so, it’s real, fast, full on Spanish…all the time. I am the ONLY one who consistently speaks Spanglish, and I totally make it work!
5)Crucial point! The coffee here is amazing. Drinking it with milk however is an absurdity. Just sugar is allowed.
6)It never rains. It is a perfect 75 and sunny everyday, and I have every reason to believe that will continue forever (or at least until a volcano erupts).
7)The trade off….. lots of mini earthquakes.
8)The biggest meal of the day is lunch, complete with vegetables and meat. Therefore everyone goes comatose and rests around 2pm. Dinner is just downhill from there, rice and bean…always. I do, however, like eating this way, big meal in the middle, light before bed.
9)It takes me 3 days to complete a shower, I am on a rotation: Day 1 hair washing, Day 2 shaving, Day 3 enjoying forty-five seconds blissful seconds of hot water.
10)You will be able to find ANYTHING from the United States here, anything you name it! They do not have their own brands or unusual labels, everything in stores is in English and recognizable. For example, my roommate, who has never been to the US, and I have the exact same Old Navy sweatshirt.
11)Every single person has been mugged, once if not more. It’s a shame that it is so risky to travel, because the country is so beautiful, but the poor economic situation has created a gang lifestyle. All anyone wants is money and cell phones (a huge commodity), but it is so unfortunate. They are also frequently pick-pocketed
12)I am really tall. Or everyone is short. Either way I stand out because of my height. I am even as tall or taller than most men.
13)Off the back of the orphanage you can see the rich portion of Guatemala City’s population. The houses are huge, Beverly Hills style and the cars are amazing too. The contrast is so drastic.
14)Every sentence is completed with “verdad”- meaning “true?” It is usually posed as a question, not a statement, even if it is meant to be.
15)People are more relaxed, time is a framework for the day and everyone greets you like you’ve known them for ages.

In short, I am really loving it here!

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