I’m still in Guatemala at the language school. It’s been a terrific experience and I expect that I will come back here to study in the future. My host family is great, and I will definitely miss them when I leave. I stayed here for the New Year’s holiday, and I’m now planning to go to Tikal this Friday. The Internet connections here are all dial-up and shared for the most part by a dozen computers, so you’ll have to wait a week more for some photos.
The language classes are going well. I’m beginning to understand some people and I can formulate ideas better. The children are more difficult to understand because they have no idea what words I might know and which ones I don’t. They also aren’t as able to re-state things in a different way if I didn’t understand it the first time. In addition to that, they laugh and mumble a lot, and usually have things in their mouths.
It’s a terrific place to study. The people in town know that any gringos they see are very likely to be students and they take extra time to speak with us. It seems very safe, and the families are well-versed in travelers’ needs for purified water and that sort of thing. At the same time, the water in town is only on from about 7am until about 5:30 pm and there have been two days so far when there was no water at all. My family’s house is close to the lake so we go down with buckets for water for washing and flushing the toilet. On New Year’s Eve the electricity was out for a few hours as well.
I’ve only been a little sick for part of one day so far. One of the girls in the house made me a sandwich. The sandwich made me suspicious, and I’m suspicious that the sandwich is what made be sick. But it was an offer I couldn’t refuse.
The town is perfect for students because there is almost nothing to do. I think that this is probably why there are no tourists. I’ve only seen one restaurant, and have only found two places to get a cerveza—not that I was actively looking or anything.
The weather has been sunny and warm, and there have only been a few mosquitoes that I’ve seen, so it doesn’t bother me as much that the pharmacy lost my prescription for anti-malaria medication before the trip. The food has been very good and the living conditions are fine. They’ve been feeding me gigantic gringo-sized portions, and I’ve been joking that I might need to pay for an extra seat on the airplane home.
For New Year’s Eve, Francisca and Debora cooked up over three hundred bollos and a hundred tamales. It was an opportunity to make some money for the childrens’ school expenses. They cooked them over three separate fires because there were so many. I need to get the recipe for bollos. Does anybody have any banana leaves laying around?
There’s a lot more I will like to tell you about when I get home, and I may be able to post more this week.