BootsnAll Travel Network

I Finally Went to McDonald’s Ha Ha Ha

> So, a quick post for this Thursday night…
> Been very very busy, on top of school and
> homework, there have been daily activities that I
> have joined in such as spending yesterday afternoon
> at Las Cumbres, a small developed hotel about 45
> minutes outside of Xela with natural steam baths.
> For 50 Quetzales (about $7) per person, we had round
> trip transportation and about an hour and a half in
> the private steam rooms before returning back to
> town. Later that evening I joined some fellow
> students to Koko Loko’s to watch more Salsa dancing
> action. At any rate, my weekend plans are a bit
> unsettled at this point so we’ll just see what turns
> up.
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> Las Cumbres restaurant overlooking the distant
> mountainside
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> Las Cumbres grounds
> IMG_4164.JPG
> A room like this with 2 double beds, private bath,
> fireplace, TV and private steam room go for just
> under $30 for the evening for 2 people.
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> All nightly rooms offer an outdoor bench to take
> in the scenery.
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> The steam room that me and the guy from Japan
> shared. It has a private changing area, toilet,
> shower, sink and a little area with 2 lounge chairs.
> The steam room is in the background.
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> Hanging out afterwards with Megan (from Wisconsin)
> and Sophia (from British Columbia)
> – My host family has a refrigerator, albeit very
> small and not really used that much. We have normal
> electricity plug-ins, as do most households.
> However, most households do not have a fridge simply
> because they don’t need it. Food down here in
> Guatemala is purchased to be consumed within a day
> or two, so that’s why there’s not much use for a
> refrigerator. Meals are cooked to be eaten all at
> once, and if not, then the leftovers are eaten
> pretty immediately. There’s no Costco or anything
> resembling bulk food quanities, except perhaps for
> buying toilet paper. All the blocks in my barrior
> and in the city have at least 2 or 3 tiendas, which
> are like little convenience stores will all the
> necessecities–breads, meats, milks, drinks,
> toiletries, snacks, etc. Thus, when people want to
> cook, they’ll just walk across the calle or over 2
> “houses” to the tienda to buy fresh food to cook.
> – The food at home wasn’t quite cutting it this
> week (this morning was my third straight with a bowl
> of warm milk and corn flakes!!! and of course by
> the time I sat down to eat it, all the flakes had
> turned to mush mush mush. but I’m getting used to
> it), so for the last 2 days I have blown my budget
> by eating out. And it has been a delightful
> experience! In the Parque Central are a bunch of
> little food stands with vendors selling everything
> from popcorn to corn on the cob (but smeared with
> ketchup and mayo) to fried bananas with sugar and
> cream. Yesterday I relented and bought a small
> plate of papas frites (french fries) and devoured
> them in all their greasy glory. However, there was
> some really hot type of sauce she put on them, and
> my tongue burned and longed for something cold. Ice
> cream! Mitzy got a cone at a local ice cream shop,
> but I tasted her cookies and cream and decided that
> it was waaay too sweet. I needed something a little
> less dramatic, maybe soft
> serve….but who would have soft serve that isn’t
> too sweet??? Ha ha ha, McDonald’s!!!! Yep, I did
> it! I went to McDonald’s and got my fifty cent soft
> serve ice cream cone and LOVED it! Finally, some
> food I could really melt into! And that’s not
> all…well, I’m not going to say that I got a Big
> Mac and fries and all of that because I didn’t. But
> what I did do is eat eat eat for the past 2
> days….fresh mixed fruits of watermelon, papaya,
> pineapple, strawberries and mango. Had 2 big
> burritos at the local Blue Video cafe (after Las
> Cumbres, we were hungry!). 2 greasy empanadas
> filled with chicken and onions from a little Taiwan
> food stand, 2 other chicken empanadas made by a
> local woman who visits our school daily during our
> break to sell her homemade treats, as well as bite
> sized waffle pieces, muffins, breads and more.
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> The papas frites stand
> IMG_4160.JPG
> Ahh, fresh fries!!!
> – There are a bunch of things that I still can’t
> get used to that you probably wouldn’t see often in
> the U.S.
> – A guy stopping his car, opening the driver
> side, and taking a leak in the middle of the road.
> No, not by some bush or in the country. In the
> city, in the middle of the street, in broad
> daylight. Women do it too. They’ll just crouch
> down by a wall and pee. And when certain sections
> of the city have their water turned off for a few
> days, you can imagine that the incidence of folks
> just taking a piss in the street or on the wall
> increases.
> – Food stands in Parque Central and other places.
> Sure, maybe not so uncommon in the U.S. But in the
> states, there are strict regulations for food
> handlers cards, permits and other rules. Here, if
> you have somekind of food to sell, you just find
> yourself a spot and cook it and sell it. A lot of
> food stands have buckets of water where they’ll do
> their own “cleaning” of food.
> – People riding scooters and motorcycles with no
> helmets. With little 5 year old kids riding on the
> lap of the driver. And in cars too. Don’t worry
> about seatbelts. Just climb aboard. Oh yeah, and
> on my bike ride Sunday, a lady had her infant son
> wrapped in one of those slings around her body, just
> riding along in her motorcycle.
> – Pedestrian laws. Forget about it. No power to
> the common pedestrian here. One of my school mates
> recounted an incident last week when she was in a
> microbus and the driver hit a cyclist. The cyclist
> was clearly hurt and the driver just continued on
> like the cyclist was a speedbump. No stopping to
> see if he was okay, it was just business as usual.
> So I have to be extra extra careful when walking to
> and from school and trying to stay on the miniscule
> sidewalks as much as possible.
> – The dogs. Everywhere. Snooping around, laying
> around, fighting, barking, begging. Some pics…
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> IMG_4089.JPG
> #img#
> – People smaller than me. Strange that I’m a
> “big” person. Yes Monica, you would be a goddess if
> you were here.
> – These Spanish keyboards! Things aren’t where
> I’m used to them being when I type. So there’s ñ,
> ç, € and more.
> One more quick note. Yesterday when I returned
> from the Blue Video Cafe, I noticed a bunch of
> backpacks in the living room. Seems that my
> household just gained 4 new people. They are 2
> female students from I forget where, and 2 of their
> Spanish language teachers. From Antigua. Guess
> they made a special trip to Xela and will only be
> here for a few days. I hope. Because this morning
> was crazy trying to use the single bathroom with 4
> women. Actually, I never had the opportunity to use
> it. Just a few more days, I hope, otherwise I’m
> switching families next week. Oh, and you’d think
> that with more people the food might improve. Not.
> Last night was another skimpy serving of scrambled
> eggs and refried beans for dinner. and one corn
> tortilla. Yeah, I’m so glad I splurged on those
> burritos and other snacks earlier in the day. And I
> will tomorrow.
> One more final final note. Spanish is still
> pretty up and down, but I am getting restless. I
> have 2 more weeks signed up, and it’s looking like I
> might not go on much after that. But things can
> always change. I think I’m making progress, but
> that learning curve up and over the mountain has so
> many switchbacks that it seems like it will never
> end. It was pretty interesting trying to
> communicate with a new student from Japan who
> started 2 days ago. We tried to communicate in
> Spanish and it was pretty hard, but funny. Okay,
> that’s all for now, gotta run to dinner and be
> surprised with another serving of eggs and refried
> beans! YES!!!

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