BootsnAll Travel Network

Something’s up with my posts…

Don’t know what happened to my post from last night Thursday, but here it is without the pictures.  Hopefully it will post over the weekend, kinda sucks if you read stuff that’s days old!!!


More Food For Thought: 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.
Las Cumbres restaurant overlooking the distant mountainside
Las Cumbres grounds
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.
All nightly rooms offer an outdoor bench to take in the scenery.
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.
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.
The papas frites stand
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…
 – 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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