Update with Hostel Pictures–Salem

Well, not much has been going on lately. I’ve been home for the last two days with the flu, but today I felt good enough to walk to the hostel to hang out with Loren and meet the owner. I walked around and took some pictures. When we got done we walked to a café and met a really nice Australian guy and convinced him to book some tours through us later in the week. We’ll see if he comes in. Then we decided to go to the jade museum. Loren and my parents went a few weeks ago, but I was in school. Since Loren didn’t have to tutor today we decided to head over. We had our own little private tour of the factory and we touched $500,000 worth of jade. We also learned a little about Mayan culture and the whole world ending in 2012 thing. It was probably one of the coolest things I’ve seen so far and our guide was really nice. He talked to Loren about football vs American football, the US, how expensive other countries are, and what we’re doing here. He really knew what he was talking about. This time we remembered to bring the camera (Loren and my parents forgot) so we have pictures for you!

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Our hostel is known as the “plant hostel.” We are providing oxygen to all of Guatemala inside our hostel.

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View from the second floor.

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There’s a little sitting area on the second floor with tables, couches, chairs, and hammocks.

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One of our rooms has a “private terrace” meaning you can put a little rope across that says “Private” on it.

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The entrance to one of our rooms.

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Our little lending library that we will be contributing to when we leave.

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One of the rooms.

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All of our private rooms have cable TV and HBO. Not too shabby.

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View from the room

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We get a nice view of Agua

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Hallway

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More plants and our lunch area

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No smoking!

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All of our showers are heated by solar energy. At night they are heated by electricity. I think we’re the only hostel that offers this and it’s a big draw for some of the backpacker/hippie types.

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Hallway to reception. No other hostel I have ever been in is decorated so nicely.

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More plants.

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Where the magic happens. All the guests get free breakfast in the morning and it’s HUGE! We also get free lunch for working and it’s yummy. Guests also use this kitchen and they stuff the fridge really full.

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One of the dorm rooms. Sure beats bunk beds.

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All of our trips that we offer

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We have free wireless and free use of the computers.

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Our very friendly reception/travel agency staff.

 

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Jade museum. Everything is done by hand. This guy has been making replicas of Mayan masks for 20 years.

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This guy was brushing the jade with a toothbrush. Our guide asked if he was using Colgate (which is pronounced cole-ga-tay here)

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Everyone starts and finishes their own work here. There are no machines and no assembly lines. These sculptures take days to make.

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Skulls made of jade.

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Replica of a Mayan temple at Tikal.

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The Mayans used to use jade to decorate tombs similar to the Chinese and Egyptians. The funny thing is that these people had no contact between each other, but they all had the same ideas about jade and the afterlife.

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Replica of the tomb of King Quetzal. He is called King Quetzal because the bones of a quetzal (the national bird) were found in his tomb. They also found a jade jaguar to lead him to afterlife and three more bodies to the side of his tomb. They assume his servants stayed by his tomb until they died just in case the king needed anything.

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