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January 24, 2003

observations on guatemala

1. the kids study english more, today i went on a walk with yet another earnest canadian and as we walked through roads between fields of wheat on the hillside above xela, all the schoolkids we passed had something to say to us in english. everytime they said ¨hello¨ i´d reply in spanish, and they also would say ¨good morning¨ and ¨goodbye¨ to us. one group of particularly forward girls ran up and asked ¨do you speak english.¨ i told them yes, and asked if they did. ¨no, did you come hear to teach us english?¨ they replied. i said i was leaving tomorrow, and they asked if i would ever come back to teach them english. ¨maye in a few years.¨ i said, which really wasn´t the truth, but they seemed so eager to learn. i never had much interest in teaching english while travelling, at least not in spanish speaking countries, but then again i´ve never had schoolkids beg me to teach them, seeming really interested. you never know.

2. the kids here seem like they have more fun then ¨western¨ kids. i always see them laughing and wrestling in the streets, throwing each other around and running and chasing. i´ve been speaking to them more, they stare at us blue eyed gringos (blue eyed devils as mark said) and i start talking to them so i don´t feel like a spectacle. maye it´s cause there are more kids on the streets here, or maybe it´s the memory of those happy lads who threw fireworks at each other and at us in various parts of mexico, but they sure seem content.
there was this one pair, a brother and sister, who always came in to visit anthony at his restaurant, la dońa. they were sellers of chicle, chewing gum, but anthony would slip them some friend cheese tortilla rolls and then they´d hang out and ask us how to say words in english. we taught them moon, chair, brother, sister, and whenever i´d cue them to repeat the words back to us they´d cafefully pronounce ¨broothar¨ then break of into peals of laughter. they were always holding hands and the boy, who was younger, thought it was the best thing in the world when after he told me his sister was named ¨abuela¨ (grandmother), i told her his name was ¨abuelo.¨ (grandfather)
if i ever were to have kids in some far distant future, i´d want to raise them at least for a bit in a latin american country, don´t know why i think about shit like that but i do.

ok don´t read the extended entry it isn´t done yet, it might be good though if i don´t get lazy. speaking of lazy, i went to the farmacist today and got some muscle relaxers for my damn jaw, which is finally starting to feel better after 10 days of ignoring the problem and trying silly natural medicine cures like toe bending and foot massages. crazy natural medicines, it´s not my feet that´re the problem!!
ok i´ll finish that entry tomorrow, before i leave for san pedro on lago atitlan, where i´m gonna try not to get stuck in the splendor and natural beauty and fearsome hippy populations. i might balance some of that out with the natural non-beauty of guatemala city afterwords.


now for the saga of yesterday, the (embarrassing and failed attempt at the) scaling of volcan santa maria.

our crack team of 5 hungover international backpackers left xela at 730, after haggling the damn taxi driver down to 35 quetzal, or a dollar each. he drove us to the base of the mountain, where we purchased the important supplies of shitty white bread, chile and lemon spiced peanuts, and chocolocos, these chocolate puffed rice things. with determination we marched past the

Posted by bendan at January 24, 2003 03:49 PM

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Comments

I read your entries by accident. I've been thinking about teaching in Guatemala and improving my Spanish at the same time. Can you show me where I should begin?

Posted by: Barbara at September 19, 2003 10:42 PM

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