Day 3 (1/8/13)-Loren

Day three of our adventure in Guatemala!  Our day started with a breakfast of ham, tomato, cheese, and mayo sandwiches on toasted bread.  I ate mine, but Salem declined because of the mayo.  To be honest (from my perspective) the sandwiches weren’t that great anyway.  It makes you miss cereal and toast – as simple as that is. 

Anyway – the true adventure of our day was our goal to meet and talk with Salem’s mentor teacher, Hania.  We were able to contact her on Friday via text message with our wonderful and super cool Guatemalan cell phones (they’re truly the height of fashion – clip_image001). 

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She told us to meet her at the Café Barista, but didn’t really give us directions or an address…Salem thought she might have seen the name while we were in Antigua the other day, but she couldn’t remember exactly where she saw it.  So we asked our host mother, Paulina, if she knew where this café is located.  But she didn’t know and her son was able to tell us it was in Antigua and was probably on one of the main calles (streets).  So armed with this knowledge, as meager as it was, we headed off to Antigua to search for the Café Barista.  We got on our Chicken Bus and started our trip to the city, but the bus didn’t get off in the same spot as it had the day before.  Luckily it stopped just four or five blocks further North from where we were yesterday so it wasn’t too hard getting back to the center of town (as some of you may know – I have inherited a strong sense of direction from my father).  What also made it a little easier is the large arch near the center of town – so if you can find that it’s pretty easy to find the central park and then work our where you need to go from there.  We got to the central park without any problems and then decided (based on our information from the host family’s son) that the café would most likely be on the main square around the central park (this was really all Salem’s idea because I couldn’t understand most of what was being said in our previous conversion…)  So we walked up and around and through the park looking and searching for Café Barista.  Finally on our second or third time around we found it!  It is located on the corner of two of the main roads and we had probably passed it once or twice the other day, but had never taken the time to look inside or read the sign.  So we were a little early to meet Salem’s mentor teacher so we decided to sit and get some coffee and something to eat.  Luckily for me the menu has lots of pictures and the Spanish word for coffee is really easy (café!).  I ordered a café de la casa (House Coffee) and some fried potatoes with a ketchup sauce (it might have been ketchup but it tasted a little sweeter than U.S. ketchup).  Salem got a mocha and a veggie italiano (an Italian veggie Panini).  Every thing was really good – especially Salem’s sandwich. 

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As we were eating a friendly lady came up to us and asked Salem in Spanish if her name was Salem…she said yes and we found Hania!  Yay!  She sat with us and we talked about the school and Antigua and some of the religious celebrations in town (the Palm Sunday procession sounds incredible – just imagine hundreds of people carrying statues of the Virgin Mary and Jesus on the Cross through the streets walking on a carpet of sawdust/fruit/vegetables all arranged in colorful mosaics…uh yeah we’re gonna have to take pictures!)  From our conversation with Hania Salem learned that school does not start on Monday, but instead she will have a week of professional development with school beginning the following Monday.  Hania told us as well that she is able to pick both of us up on Monday morning so that we can get to school without having to pay for a two minute bus ride.  This will give me the opportunity to talk with Roseannie the principal of the elementary school about what I can do these next three months.  After we had finished eating and talking, Hania offered to bring us to a different café run by a guy born in Hawaii but has lived in Mexico and Guatemala for many years.  His name is John and I think his café might be the English speakers headquarters that we had heard about before coming to Guatemala.  Either way he seems like a really nice guy and I look forward to trying some of his food because it sounds really good.  Also from his café we were able to get a copy of the Revue magazine – the English magazine for Antigua.  In this magazine is a list of apartments, restaurants, health services,  stores and cool stuff to see.  We’re going to start looking for our own apartment soon!

Well after all the excitement of searching for the Café Barista and talking with Hania and meeting John we decided it was time to head back to Ciudad Vieja.  Before we left Antigua though we found a Farmicia (Pharmacy) so that we could buy some stuff we need/forgot in the U.S.  Let’s just say – we’ll be coming back to the Farmicia a lot: $7.50 U.S. for shaving razor replacement blades!  Think about that every time you spend 20 bucks on Gillette razors my American friends – haha! 

We came home and crashed for a while until we heard some loud bangs. We couldn’t figure out what they were until someone lit off a sizzler and then we realized they were fireworks. Hania told us that Guatemalans randomly light fireworks in celebration. They are very Catholic here, and since every day is a saint’s day or a festival, certain people will celebrate on certain days (I’m guessing that they celebrate their patron saint or something). The fireworks were really loud, but at dinner Paulina said it’s a normal thing and we should get used to it. For dinner we had a tamale, which was interesting, but not horrible. Salem ate the whole thing! We also met the other foreign students that are staying in our house. There are two girls here from Quebec who are working in a sport center. They leave really early in the morning and don’t get back until late at night, so this was the first day we saw them. It was nice for me to be able to have a conversation where I understood all the words, because we spoke for a little while in English. They are leaving in a week to go back to Canada, so they will be going back to snow. It’s been about 75/80 degrees every day here and very sunny, so we’re not missing the snow too much.

That’s all for day three. Today (Sunday) is our free day where the host family doesn’t feed us, so we’ll have to find something ourselves. Otherwise, this will probably be a lazy day for us before the real work starts tomorrow.

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