Walking in rural Guate, our path is filled with flower petals. Clouds dancing from mountain top to the upper atmosphere to the tips of my nose. Envelope me in awe of highland views of Xela. Alaska-it´s called, the meadow at the tops of our climb. Corn growing tall, cows tied to sticks in the ground. A lovely trek. Ellie and Tommy as guides, Paddy, Lydia, Jen, Thomas, Dikla, Moran, and I sleeping now in the rundown municipal building in Santa Catarina. Happy. We just watched a beautiful interpretive dance….at least that´s what I´m calling it….at the home of a family from this rural mountain town. Two of the cutest little girls, holding each others hands, escorted us eagerly to their home. Upon arrival the candles were lit and we took our seats in the veranda. The family of 7 played songs on Mayan instruments…tortuga shells, wooden flutes, drums. They danced and told us the story about a the creation of their village and of a 2 headed bird representing duality and opposites. They were all different ages, ranging from 7 to 40 or so. They each had speaking parts and colorful Mayan attire.
The next day we walked and walked and walked…..
The next day at Don Pedros, we awoke at 3:45 to hike to and enjoy the sunset over Lake Atitlan. My group and I cuddled up in our sleeping bags and drank instant coffee, as the sun rose over the volcanos, indigenous towns, and certainly many naked meditating hippies that have made these tows their homes. Afterwords we walked down to the lake, visited a coffee harvesting and roasting place and a little weaving collective. Life is really, really good on the trail in Guatemala.
Well being in Guatemala…..
With a plan I will allow myself to excel and thrive in this very new, very strange experience. There are many things I want, but my number one goal is to feel good again. At the moment, I have a wide range of feelings, flooding in at once…Kaboom! Warmth and excitement combined with uncertainty and loneliness. Rat Pack and Michael Buble singing nostalgia inducing Christmas songs at this empty coffee shop ¨Kafetto,¨ near the center square in Xela. Thoughts on my mind of my family, their joys and their troubles, my past lover, my dreams and aspirations…….I´ll have a blue Christmas without you. SHHH….Michael Buble…..seriously, stop singing dude.
Anyway, Antigua….WOW. I really loved the people so much, both locals and turistas alike. Way nicer than the shady travelers I met in La Paz. I stayed Thurs and Fri nights at La Terazgo, a colorful little hostel with cheap beer at the terrace bar, with an astounding view of Vulcan Agua.
I have been allowing myself a nice balance of resting and activity, enjoying equally the time to myself and the time shared with new friends. The most fun nights out ….actually I´ve had a couple…The first night was the Thurs of my arrival, hanging out with Norwegian girls Siegre and Mi and enjoying a live acoustic music, but most notably was Saturday night with Uli and Chani, lovely and cute girls from Guatemala City who came to Antigua for the weekend. My night started with the The Burning of the Devil festival with a burning devil, strangely next to a gas station and a huge outdoor party amongst the colonial church ruins and cobblestone streets of Antigua. Afterwords we went out to a bar, when that closed to the after party, and the girls gave me great confidence in my Spanish speaking and Salsa dancing abilities teaching me the local slang and some sweet moves, although both were somewhat pitiful by 3am. David Hinojosa and Justine Smith, next time we hang you´ll be impressed by my moves!
I am heading out of Lima in a few hours and going north. I have a flight out of Colombia on the 20th of February, but I still have a bunch of time to check out parts of Ecuador and Colombia. Hopefully one day soon I will be on a beach on the Caribbean.
Everyone, thank you so much for the birthday wishes and gifts. Every year it is a treat but this year it was especially wonderful. Being so far away from home, the warm wishes from family and friends heal the feelings of home sickness. I miss all of you very much and I will keep you posted on my adventures to come. Thank you!
I´m continuing to enjoy my time in South America, in fact I might never come back….if it wasn´t for the job I just accepted TODAY with the Catalina Island Environmental Leadership Program (CELP). I will be flying from La Paz to Los Angelas on February 23rd, in order to make it to my ocean lifeguard training course beginning on the 25th, also on Catalina. I am thrilled to begin the exciting new opportunity and to continue to try to make a difference in the lives of youth. To learn more about CELP, visit http://celp.net/. Familyand friends, can we get together in early june instead of this winter?
As for South America, things are frickin´ rad and I´m having a blast and a half. I spent some considerable time with my family, The Meneses´ here in La Paz, sharing a lovely Christmas and New Year. This season was very special for them because my aunt and uncle Hugo and Maria have children and grandchildren living in Australia and Switzerland, rarely are they able to spend time together. It had been 3 years since Sergio had returned to Bolivia from AUS. So, to say the least, I was honored to be in the presence of such a loving family, especially during such a monumentous occasion. During my stay with them I also took a week of Spanish classes in La Paz, and now I´m a little bit better than I was before. Gotta Keep Practicing.
I just returned back to La Paz from Sorata, a beautiful little mountain and farming town 3 hours NW of La Paz. There I took a hike to some caves and seriously relaxed.
Tomorrow I am off to Rurre, to do the jungle and pampas tours. Hopefully the company I hire respects wildlife from a distance, speaking to Kim´s blog about the potential for harrassment. I am so thrilled to see a biosphere that I have never seen before….the tropical rainforest! Epic!
I ambecoming more and more comfortable ever minute I´m here. Starting to open myself up to the beauty and the struggles of a different culture….I´m really starting to feel it. I am continously less nervous, less exhausted at the end of the day, more at ease. My days have more moments now. As Paul Simon says in that song boy in the bubble…these are the days of miracle and wonder. This is a long distance call. These are the days of lasers in the jungle somewhere.
Dont worry mom and dad!
I met some people on my way to the bus terminal towards Rurrenabaque and they told me it took them almost three days to get there by bus, when it should take 14 hours if the roads are dry. That didn´t sound too appealing to me. I also read some reviews about the jungle tours there and they are really disrespectful of the animals. I didn´t feel like paying a good amount of money to disturb anacondas, pink dolphins, and whatever else wonders through the jungle (although I really want to see the wildlife there). Oh well…
So I´m headed towards Salar de Uyuni instead which is the world´s largest salt flat. It is insanely flat and during the rainy season (right meow) pools of water collect and it creates a huge mirror…a real out of this world experience. Anyways I´ll get there tomorrow morning. Here come the cumulus clouds.
Hola familia y amigos!
I left La Paz a several days ago and I found myself at an Eco Yoga Farm in Coroico, Bolivia. I got to spend time with devotees of Hare Krishna which was really interesting. They have tons of rules. Like for intstance, you must shower before cooking and you must have a clean mouth before washing dishes. Oh and 10 minutes before every meal, they set out a plate for Hare Krishna. I always wondered what would happen if the plate suddenly went empty.
Anyways, the place wasn´t what I expected at all, they didn´t offer yoga, meditation, or spanish classes. The place was a little out of wack due to a new born baby. So I left and now I think I am off to Rurrenabaque. It is deep in the Jungle and I hope to see animals that I have never seen before. Here come the malaria pills! I hope the new year is going well for all of you. I love you! Until next time…
Brandon and I are back in La Paz to celebrate New Years. Isle del Sol (Island of the Sun) was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The people of Bolivia know how to give something a name – the boat ride was rainy but after we stepped onto the island it was sunny all day. We also ran into some friends we met on our Machu Picchu trek whom we will be meeting up with later tonight and hopefully a few others. We will keep you posted on our next adventures. Feliz año nuevo!