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Guatemala: June 2

Heather finally arrived two nights ago. After a night in Guatemala City we hired a minivan for the hour-long trip to Antigua. I now have the ability to post photos, so take another look below for some pictures I've been saving up for two weeks. We've spent the past couple of days here just wandering randomly. Today we came across this enormous old church [photos: 1 2 3 4 ]. I wish I could tell you more about it, but it was a random find. The hostel we're staying at has the nicest, fastest computers I've seen anywhere - a perfect place to upload photos. It's a buck an hour for the internet, which is the most expensive I've yet seen. In general, this town seems much smaller than Xela and much cleaner. The streets are wider and the people wealthier. Fewer stray dogs. I'm running out of time, but want to leave you with one last shot of Heather at her finest. Cheers.

“Guatemala: June 2”

  1. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    From your pictures it looks kind of muggy - I mean it looks like there is high humidity. When you encounter local people how would you describe typical encounters: Friendly? curious? Have you been in a situation where you were expected to pay bribes? I wonder if the payoffs/brides are so common place locally that it can be kind confusing for the traveler. I seem to recall that the sweatshops of the region are in danger of loosing out to the new sweatshops in parts of Asia (e.g. china) I suppose local industry is probably off the beaten path. Do you have plans to visit the Yucatan? I imagine the language and cultural barriers are huge walls do you find yourself reluctantly but necessarily spending more time with other foreign travelers with english conversation abilities? How would you describe the breakdown in the mix of travelers by nation (i.e. 50% German, 3% North American, etc...). Do you find there are places or times when you don't feel safe? Have you met any Westerners that are living in the region and if so what are they doing besides studying Spanish or spreading the Gospel.

    Random "Heart of Darkness" quote courtesy of google of course :

    "I did not betray Mr. Kurtz--it was ordered I should never betray him--it was written I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice. I was anxious to deal with this shadow by myself alone--and to this day I don't know why I was so jealous of sharing with anyone the peculiar blackness of that experience."

    Eagerly awaiting more corespondents Mr. Larson


  2. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    who is that handsome fella with brown hair?!?!?!
    keep the pictures coming. -joanna

  3. Blogger Jeff Says:

    IE: Hi amigo. It is a bit muggy, but particularly on that volcano. Every afternoon in Xela sees a predicatable downpour of rain. Antigua and Coban have been less muggy, even though the Coban area is surrounded by ¨"cloud forests."

    The people in the service industry have been very kind here, and the random people on the street show varying degrees of curiousity. Most are indifferent to us, though. I do see some evidence of "gringo prices" (we pay more, they pay less), but no signs of bribery. I have heard that bus drivers often pay protection fees to local gangs (gangs are huge problem here). Buses and bus stations are frequented by pickpockets, so those are the places where we excercize the most caution. Most cities are safe during the day and fine for groups at night (the capital seems to be the exception. So far, no problems though. Knock on wood.

    Local industry does seem to struggle, but the parts that we´re seeing are mostly very small-scale production (artisans, agriculture, retail, tourism) for local markets and much of the stuff they´re selling comes from other places (including the U.S.).

    Yes, we´re surrounded by travelers. I´ve met several from the Netherlands, a few from Australia, a good bunch from the U.S. and England, and only a few from other countries (Switzerland, Canada, Germany, Luxumburg, Japan). Most of our Spanish comes out with the tour guides, teachers, and waiters that we encounter (frequently). A two-month trip is on the short side for most travelers, many go for 6 months to a year. One young English guy lives on Utila Is. in the Carribean and teaches SCUBA diving. Another who sold herbal remedies and bulk spices to natural food stores around the U.S. has retired to Xela and leads treks for a non-profit in that region. Of course, missionaries (Mormon, Mennonite, etc.) are here and there as well.

    I´ll take your Heart of Darkness with me down the Rìo Dulce in the days to come. Cheers.

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