First Impressions (1/6/11)
We made it! 11 hours of flights and an hour of car ride and we’re here!
Here’s Salem’s first impressions: Guatemala City was interesting. I don’t know what I expected, but the first thing we saw was a Domino’s Pizza. There are a lot of chains (even a Chuck E. Cheese!). There were also a lot of nice looking businesses, but then a few blocks more and there was a run-down looking neighborhood. Once we got out of town we could see the city below and it was really pretty with all the lights (we got there at 8:30, so it was dark). Our cab driver Cesar was really nice. He talked slow so I could understand him and I was very grateful for that. We got to Antigua and I was expecting a city a little bigger than Marquette, but this place is huge! It just kept going. I think he was showing us around a little, because he slowed down to point out the park, the cathedral, and another church.
We have a room in a cute little house. I’ll try to describe it now and take pictures later. There’s a front door which leads into a courtyard. Then there’s a tile walkway around the courtyard. There’s a door off of the courtyard that is our room. It’s a bedroom and a bathroom. Then there’s a sliding glass door that leads to the kitchen/dining room and a curtain that goes from the kitchen to the living room. There’s a curtain going from the living room back to the courtyard. Then there’s an upstairs, which I’m guessing the door next to ours leads to, because she said there’s two other exchange students here from Canada and they live upstairs. It’s a really cool setup and nothing like either of us have seen before. Our host family seems nice. The host mom is a Spanish teacher, so maybe she will help Loren with some Spanish lessons, since I was translating a lot of the conversations for him. We sat and had coffee with her for a little while and asked us some questions. Right now I’m limited to saying “no sé,” “sí,” and “ok,” but I’m hoping the ability to speak will come back soon. I’m pretty proud of my listening ability, though. I understood most of what everyone was saying!
Loren’s First impressions: I have to agree with Salem: Guatemala City was interesting to say the least. There were streets leading off into dark places where I’m sure I would never want to go…I think that will take some getting used to because I used to have an understanding of those kinds of places when I lived in GR, but it’s been so long since I’ve been there that I’ve forgotten how a large city can have that mix of really, really bad places and really, really great places. But that’s Guatemala City…and I don’t think we’ll be going there very often. Antigua seems very, very cool! I’m so excited to start exploring the city tomorrow with our cab driver Cesar. Like Salem said he spoke slowly so that even I understood some of what he said – which was nice.
One thing I like about Antigua already is the smell of the courtyard of our house. It smells just like a campfire from all the surrounding houses. It was a little crazy because when we stepped into the courtyard and I had that smell wash over me I thought I was back at Camp Roger.
Tomorrow don Cesar is going to show us the school and we’ll hopefully find some internet (you’ll know we found it if you see this) and a place to buy phones! And hopefully Salem will meet with her teacher too!