BootsnAll Travel Network

Quick Weekend Thoughts

I now close my 10th day here in Xela, and here are some weekend thoughts to chew on:

– Superbowl Sunday. Go Seahawks! I’ll be spending my day on a rented mountain bike touring the valley, then getting back in time for the 5pm Xela-time start for the big game.

– I’ve timed the church bells that go off every morning at 6am–it’s closer to 2 minutes than a full minute.

– At night, all the neighborhood dogs like to howl and bark and make a mockery of people trying to sleep. Plus the added benefit of car alarms, music and kids playing the streets into the late hours into the night always makes for an interesting time to try to get some sleep. I usually sleep around 11:30.

– There is pretty good, reliable internet service here in town, bolstered by a number of internet cafes and the like. Speed can vary quite a bit. I found a really cheap place and was all gung-ho excited, but left after only 10 minutes when loading up the Yahoo homepage took an excruciating 2 minutes. You get what you pay for.

– I’m surprised at how relatively inexpensive it is to call the states. It’s about 25 cents per minute, or about the same rate if you are on one of the those limited cell phone packages in the states.

– You are not allowed to place anything into the toilets. Only the body’s, natural things. Everything else goes into a waste basket. That goes for public restarants, hotels, in my home. It helps if there is a lid to the waste basket, if you can catch my drift, no pun intended.

– The salsa dancing is amazing down here. There is no cover to go to the local club, Coco Loco’s, and watch all the fantastic dancers on the dance floor. Dancing with the Stars would find some credible challengers here.

– Weather has generally been pretty good. Aside from cold nights (around 35 degrees), the days warm up by the afternoon and there has only been 2 days of light rain. Still, I wish I had packed warmer clothing and a full body towel, instead of my little REI packtowel.

– Spanish is still a struggle, and I wanted to avoid talking English to the gringos, but I just can’t help it. There’s a small group of students that I hang out and we try to speak in Spanish, but we usually resume back to our native tongue. I’ve gone the route of creating flash cards for myself and have found them to be really useful. But it was a little difficult in trying to request a local shoe repair fellow to try and fix my hiking boots.

– I am very very excited for the possibilities of traveling through Guatemala. There are plenty of Mayan ruins to see, the primary destination being Tikal. I’d also like to do the 5-day hike to El Mirador in Mexico. I’m getting waaay ahead of myself, and it could either motivate me to really hunker down and learn Spanish, or might hinder my progress because of my travel bug. Some students take classes for 4 weeks, leave for 2 to travel, and come back for another stint. I might have to do this as I am getting quite restless. Or I’ll just do it all in 4-10 weeks and then go. We’ll have to see about that, but if anyone out there has the opportunity to visit this country, GO!

– Still haven’t gone into Micky D’s. But many students did a couple of weeks ago when the water was out for 4 days. I managed to survive my 3 days of no water earlier this week.

Here are a few more pics for the weekend:


My school is on this busy street where the sidewalk can barely squeeze two people abreast and you have to take your chances with stepping foot into the street.


Last Sunday I spent an hour strolling through Xela’s cemetary, where rows and rows of tombs and gravestones are festooned with fresh flowers and other adornments. Many families spend a portion of Sunday to pay respects to their departed loved ones.


Another area of the cemetary.


Just one of the many dogs that roam the streets, alone and sometimes in packs.


Construction workers tear up the street in order to do necessary repairs and upgrades to the local water supply. This is why sections of Xela do not have water for upwards of 4 days.


Parque Central. This is the main outdoor hangout for Xela, about a 3 minute walk from school and many students from other programs meet here to study or pass the afternoon away. This Sunday, the parque will be transformed by the local handicraft market, held on the first Sunday of each month.

Have a nice weekend all.


-137 responses to “Quick Weekend Thoughts”

  1. Mike says:

    So does your host mother speak English?

  2. Katie says:

    Wow, three days without water would suck. You should do some volunteer work while you are there if you have time. Maybe you’ll meet some of the cast from last seasons Survivor. I’ve heard they are voluteering because of the flooding that occured. (fat chance) Keep taking lots of pics, they are amazing! Take care of yourself.

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