Thursday, November 19, 2009

Guaty Tweets

I wanted to post my tweets from Guatemala. There wasn't a whole lot of them as texting cost me $.50 a pop. But I did it to keep some folks in formed of our fun and our safety and so I'd have another thing to remember the trip by. I put them in chronological order.

Yawn. Airport security is stressful. Are we there yet? 2:29 AM Nov 11th

Nearly missed our connection in Atlanta. Still trying to catch breath. YOU try getting thru terminal A to E, pregnant w 2 kids in NO TIME. 6:40 AM Nov 11th

In Guatemala City. Embarking on a 4 hr van ride. 11:27 AM Nov 11th

The van ride seemed death defying. Hairpin curves on mountainsides with no rails. But also mind blowing with culture and sights. 3:25 PM Nov 11th

We are checked into Posado Santiago. Roughing it wee bit more than expected. But incredibly charming. Look forward to dinner & bed. So tired 3:27 PM Nov 11th

N is totally cool with being on vacation. On an adventure. Ray is sad. He misses home and is having difficulties adjusting. 5:39 AM Nov 12th

Our cottage is sparse. Beds, a bathroom, a roof. No dressers to unpack - which makes Mark uneasy. Not lot of warm water. But very cute. 5:41 AM Nov 12th

Cant get online but texts seem to work. Soon we meet Dermot 4 breakfast. We may cross lake to see his village after. Weather is beautiful. 5:44 AM Nov 12th

Dermot's house is unbelievably amazing. This is what retirement should be. FANTASTIC. 9:38 AM Nov 12th

Boys enjoyed an afternoon swim in the lakeside pool. 3:08 PM Nov 12th

"Eat. Please eat? Will you freakin eat? It's eggs, french toast and fruit. There is NO reason not to eat! You are both killing me!" 7:04 AM Nov 13th

Took a tuk tuk into Santiago village. Had claustrophobic moment in the market, saw the church, the dock & having lunch in El Pescador. 9:58 AM Nov 13th

Adorable peddling children are heartbreaking but reality. Makes N's whining about climbing hills ridiculous. He is oblivious to the lessons 10:02 AM Nov 13th

Being an obvious "other" is always daunting. But worth it to see the world. The boys got alot of smiles from local women and children. 10:06 AM Nov 13th

Inevitably feel like on Amazing Race. Couldnt find entrance to a restaurant last night. Walking & bickering. "YOU do the damn Road Block!" 5:00 AM Nov 14th

Taking lancha (boat) to San Pedro. It's the more bohemian backpacker
touristy village. Will walk around and have lunch. 8:09 AM Nov 14th

Get in disagreements w Mark cuz he wants to walk everywhere w/o clear idea of where going and then we end up on death marches, carrying kids 11:58 AM Nov 14th

But tho I come up w crazy ideas to go on adventures, he does the research, handles the money, makes bulk decisions, even tackles language. 12:00 PM Nov 14th

How is it only 3:30? No wonder we've all been in bed by 8 every night and up at 6. 1:39 PM Nov 14th

N has some water in his ear. Patrice, Janette, Tracey, Katy, Julie - how do I get it out? 1:43 PM Nov 14th

Gotten accustomed to waking up to wide variety of wierd bird sounds. What are they talking about at crack of dawn? "How did you sleep?" 4:59 AM Nov 15th

Sad 2 leave Posada Santiago but excited 2 get 2 Nature Reserve in Panajachel. Wish bags would float there. Even packing "light" was 2 much. 7:31 AM Nov 15th

Mayan custom 2 carry things on head. Chuckled about woman chatting on street w backpack sitting atop her head. "Yer doin it wrong." 7:35 AM Nov 15th

Made it to nature reserve with little fan fare. Boys think bamboo room with bunk bed is super cool. Having lunch then hunting for monkeys. 10:37 AM Nov 15th

Aside from not having heartiest appetites boys have been really good about eating every meal in restaurants. Thanks markers & stickers. 3:29 PM Nov 15th

In Panajachel eating at a restaurant called Paris Paris. Oddly there is nothing Parisian about it besides the Eiffel tower on the menu. 3:31 PM Nov 15th

At Circus Bar so Mark can have beer & boys & I can have a banana split. Then back to room & in bed by 8, as usual. Wont see Pana's nightlife 4:31 PM Nov 15th

Up, up, up & away from Lake Atitlan. Van ride slightly less hair raising than way in. Though turns & exhaust still = car sick. 11:32 AM Nov 16th

Hotel Aurora in Antigua is beautiful. Big center courtyard with fountain. Classic dark wood carved furniture. Pretty flowered tiled floors. 1:58 PM Nov 16th

Also on main street & quite noisy. All 3 our hotels have been so different but each cool in their own way. In Antigua 2 nights. Then home. 2:00 PM Nov 16th

The only thing English I found on the TV was first Harry Potter. Now we can't pry Noah away from the TV. He is totally hooked. 2:42 PM Nov 16th

The Guatemalans LOVE Ray. Possibly just the age but probably his coloring has something to do w it. Tales of El Rojo will travel far & wide. 6:55 AM Nov 17th

Crazy. Strangers even rub his head. And everyone asks his name. 7:02 AM Nov 17th

Boys call the religious sculptures we see "friends." They want 2 shake hands & hug them. Me "Do not touch these friends. Just talk 2 them." 8:03 AM Nov 17th

For boys most interesting part of church & convent ruins are skeletons. We leave 1 crypt & all they want 2 know is where r next skeletons. 8:08 AM Nov 17th

Guatemala needs more benches. Possibly people r2 hardworking & busy to sit. I however have a hurty pelvis. It's hard work bein 6mos pregnant 8:52 AM Nov 17th

Antigua is for eating. Would love to have 4 days to just eat, drink & hang out here. W/o kids. @JanetteFertig would love it. 10:41 AM Nov 17th

Explored 2 religious ruins & colonial home. Had big Guatemalan lunch & shopped for souvenirs. Time for cake & cafe on the center square. 12:50 PM Nov 17th

Just witnessed local funeral procession out windows of hotel. Large, ornate casket w statue of Jesus carried down st w full band playing. 2:06 PM Nov 17th

N & R saw procession. I tastelessly took photos. It was Ray who cried cuz wanted 2c more. N is right now drawing volcano picture 3:43 PM Nov 17th

Our last night in Guatemala. Even the boys are sad to leave. Another lovely meal, ice cream and bed. And then a grueling day of travel. 5:57 PM Nov 17th

Mark took the boys out while I packed bags. Now sitting in hotel courtyard, listening to the fountain, enjoying sun & breeze. Breathing. 7:23 AM Nov 18th

My belly feels like it doesnt fit in my skin today. 7:53 AM Nov 18th

Have I mentioned I hate airports? So F-ing stressful. 9:49 AM Nov 18th

Adios Guatemala! Up, up and away into the wide, blue yonder. Atlanta, here we come. 12:07 PM Nov 18th from txt

Guatemala in a nutshell

We planned a challenging vacation. Challenging because I’m six months pregnant. Challenging because we were traveling with two small children. Challenging because we didn’t speak the language and were going to be obvious outsiders. And challenging because we really wanted to see a different world, different people, lives disparate from our own. And I thought that by the end of the week we’d be relieved to be home. But we weren’t. We were all very sad to leave Guatemala.

Our trip started out in the small lakeside village of Santiago Atitlan. A culture still dominated by Mayan Indian tradition and language. The people live far more modestly than we do in the United States. And though we stayed in a little cottage in a hotel owned by an American couple with an approachable international menu, we also went into town on tuk tuks for a few meals and market day. We had the wonderful experience of having Dermot, my childhood friend’s father, bring us across Lake Atitlan in his motor boat and show us the village he lived in – one even smaller and meager than Santiago. He lives in a beautiful two story, gated home with amazing gardens and breathtaking views but the 600 locals who reside in Jaibalito live in cement block homes with metal roofing. On another day we took a local boat to San Pedro to see another lakeside village, one that’s noted to have sprung up with a distinct new agey aspect and far more travelers and expat residents. After four days staying at Posada Santiago we moved on to Panjachel – the largest and most touristy of the lakeside village. The main streets are lined with restaurants and shops, with a far more international vibe and much less of the feel for Mayan tradition. We stayed in a Nature Reserve – hand fed monkeys, traversed trails and suspension bridges and spent the night in a very cool eco hut made of rock and bamboo. From there we moved on to the stunning colonial city of Antiqua. An UNESCO world heritage site whose array of cultures and businesses didn’t feel too dissimilar to Soho. The architecture and ruins, and the Spanish history put me in mind of Puerto Rico’s Old San Juan, where I have long wanted to visit. Our hotel, Hotel Aurora, had a stunning central courtyard garden and fountain and our room was furnished beautifully – our first with a television.

And before we knew it we had to come home. It’s too early to say exactly what highlights of the trip will stick with the boys. Childish things of course – the monkeys, the pool, nature trails, the interest in Maximon – a cigarette smoking, liquor swilling saint the Guatemalans hold dear. I know Mark really loved taking boats across the lake, walking along the streets, the history. For me it’s always the glimpse into the other that I find most striking. Seeing sights you could not really imagine, the lives of people you never could have glimpsed had you not left home. A way to reexamine all that you know and hold dear.

I could go on about this trip at length. And part of me misses the journal writing me that would have kept detailed notes and had all the details for posterity. But I’ve got some tweets and some photos and hopefully glimmers of a trip that will last me a lifetime.

I’m posting 200 photos on Snapfish and linking to them on Facebook. I plan on captioning them so they make sense to someone other than us.

With the baby on the way it’s at least another 3 years until we can attempt another ambitious trip. But I look forward to our next adventure. Noah says he wants to go to Mexico. Hopefully by then he’ll know some Spanish and can help us out.