Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Thesis (missing graphs/charts)

Jóvenes: El Futuro de Guatemala
17 de diciembre de 2008
Kira Peterson


Introducción
Guatemala es un país con demasiada gente viviendo en pobreza o extrema pobreza. Pero también es un país con una tasa de natalidad mas alta que la mayoría de los otros países en Centro América. La pobreza es un gran problema, pero una tasa de natalidad tan grande también nos muestra que la gente esta teniendo el sexo sin importarles la salud publica, las mujeres, ni los bebes. Muchos problemas viene de este, por ejemplo, abortos peligrosos, enfermedades de transmisión sexual, y mortalidad infantil. Es verdad que disminuir la pobreza y lo demás de los problemas en un país es tan difícil y una gran tarea, pero no es imposible. Muchas veces los jóvenes no van a la escuela o la clínica porque están tan lejos o porque están trabajando para la familia. El gobierno tiene programas pero programas que no funciona. Es necesario que el gobierno use sus programas y incorpore a los jóvenes en sus planes para empezar una revolución de educación y educación sexual para evitar problemas de la salud y asegurar el futuro de Guatemala no estará en tanto pobreza.

El Problema de Investigación
No hay duda que Guatemala tiene muchos problemas; de la basura en las calles a la corrupción en el gobierno. Uno de los problemas más grandes es que la mayoría de la gente, 56%, esta en pobreza o extrema pobreza. El segmento más vulnerable de la población es la gente indígena quienes son 43% de la población y 75% de ellos viven en pobreza. Guatemala es uno de los países más poblados en Centro América y es el país con la tercera tasa de natalidad más alta1. Es interesante que un país con tanta pobreza siga teniendo más y más hijos cuando tener hijos es una gran responsabilidad y un gran inversión y la gente se queda en pobreza. La gente de Guatemala, los indígenas especialmente, continuarán estando en pobreza si la tasa de natalidad no disminuyera.

Definición del Problema
La tasa de natalidad es definida como el número de partos por cada mil personas. En Guatemala la tasa de natalidad es 114/1000 mujeres entre 15 – 19 años de edad y como muchos países, la tasa de natalidad para mujeres jóvenes rurales es mucho más alta como mujeres jóvenes urbanos (133 vs. 85/1000) 1. No solo es la pobreza un problema que viene de una tasa de natalidad más alta, esto significa que muchas personas no están usando métodos de control que pueda prevenir embarazos no deseados, propagación de enfermedades, y salvar las vidas de las madres y los niños. Debido al hecho de que la mitad de la población de Guatemala es indígena y el 20% son de 10 – 19 años de edad, los embarazos a temprana edad es un tema muy importante para el futuro de Guatemala2.

Justificación
Guatemala es un país donde es obvio que hay un problema con la planificación familiar y la pobreza. Casi cada mujer tiene, por lo menos, un hijo cargado en la espalda con una carita sucia y llevando la ropa vieja y gastada. También si usted habla con alguna mujer, ella le responderá que la mayoría de las mujeres con hijos son madres solteras y han dado a luz cuando tenían edades menores. Dar a luz durante la adolescencia es un problema para la salud publica, la mujer, y el bebe por muchas razones. Por ejemplo, los embarazos no deseados por no usar anticonceptivos, fracaso de anticonceptivos, o abandono de anticonceptivos resulta en abortos peligrosos y enfermedades como VIH. Una publicación dice que el 80% de las madres jóvenes en áreas urbanas y el 70% en áreas rurales son de los 50% de hogares más pobres3. Esto significa que la pobreza seguirá existiendo porque madres jóvenes y pobres tienen que cuidar a los niños y no pueden tener más educación que las ayudaría a tener una mejor vida. El desarrollo de Guatemala económica, social, y políticamente esta en los manos de los jóvenes y lo que pase depende de la cantidad y calidad de educación sexual que los jóvenes tengan ahora.

Objetivos
El propósito de esta tesis es analizar las causas y los efectos en Guatemala, respecto a las mujeres, y los hijos cuando una mujer da a luz siendo joven. También es para demostrar que los programas de educación sexual que ya existen, no están funcionando y como mejorarlos.


Investigación

Asunto de Salud
Los jóvenes que tienen hijos cuando son de edades menores representan una gran amenaza a la salud publica, a su salud, y a la salud del bebe. La tasa de natalidad nos muestra que los jóvenes están teniendo relaciones sexuales sin protección. Muchas dirían que el problema con los jóvenes y el sexo no es tan grave; lo grave son las enfermedades de transmisión sexual como VIH que son muy contagiosas y puede matarlos. Se sabe que 556,000 jóvenes, de edades entre 15 – 24, viven con VIH/SIDA en América Latina y El Caribe; 69% son hombres y 31% son mujeres. Los niveles de relaciones sexuales fuera del matrimonio están aumentando, el uso del condón, algo que no es frecuente, y el 75% de casos de VIH transmitido a través de conducto heterosexual; la necesidad de atención es enorme3. Los jóvenes no usan anticonceptivos por algunas razones. La falta de educación es el problema mas grande luego son inaccesibles las clínicas para jóvenes rurales. Solamente 1 de 4 jóvenes de edades entre 15 -24 han tenido alguna instrucción sobre anticoncepción y menos de 3 de 10 han aprendido algo sobre la salud reproductiva incluyendo menstruación y VIH/SIDA4. En Los Estados Unidos las jóvenes reciben información de muchas lugares, por ejemplo, los padres, los medios de comunicación, escuela primaria y más adelante en su educación, y de los amigos o hermanos. Usualmente, la información sexual no es un tema que los padres Guatemaltecos les guste hablar con sus niños y si hablan, la información llega demasiado tarde, esta repleto de mitos, es demasiado prohibitivo, y no investiga los temas de intimidad y placer3. La proporción de mujeres usando métodos de control es doble entre mujeres urbanas y mujeres rurales (31 vs. 13%), triple entre mujeres jóvenes no indígena e indígena (26 vs. 8%), y cinco veces entre las mujeres mas educadas y menos educadas (40 vs. 8%)1. La literatura dice que hay una fuerte asociación empírica entre la disminución de la tasa de natalidad y el alto nivel de educación que una mujer tiene. En áreas rurales es mas difícil asistir a la escuela porque a veces no hay una escuela en millas y las madres quieren que sus hijos trabajen en lugar de asistir a la escuela. Además, los indígenas hablan en su propio idioma y muchas veces la educación es dada en Español, agravando la situación. Ese no es el caso para jóvenes urbanos y no indígenas donde hay escuelas con sus puertas abiertas y Español no es un problema; pero, muchas veces allí, la educación sexual, tal vez, no exista o sea un tema muy corto que los jóvenes olvidan o del cual no se preocupan. La accesibilidad a las clínicas en las áreas rurales es el mismo problema que la accesibilidad a las escuelas. Muchas veces hay una clínica para servir a 3 o 4 comunidades y esta muy lejos. Otras razones por las que los jóvenes no usan protección es el miedo de que alguien los vea en la clínica, la desconfianza de la medicina moderna, y razones religiosas. La falta de uso anticonceptivos produce amenazas para la madre y para el bebe también. Las madres que no quieren a su bebe por alguna razón, a veces quieren terminar su embarazo y buscan opciones para practicarse un aborto. En Guatemala el aborto es ilegal excepto en casos cuando el parto puede matar a la madre. Porque el aborto es ilegal, las mujeres tienen abortos muy peligrosos realizados por comadronas o doctores que en realidad, no son doctores. Muchas mujeres están hospitalizadas por tratamiento de complicaciones de abortos ilegales, de hecho, 27,000 mujeres son hospitalizadas cada año y 1/5 son de edades entre 15 – 19 años1. También, dar a luz cuando es joven antes de alcanzar la madurez puede poner la salud de la joven en peligro y puede aumentar el riesgo de muerte para su bebe durante la infancia3. Además de esto, jóvenes pobres usualmente no visitan la clínica para asistencia prenatal y debido a que son pobres, no tienen una buena nutrición, todos esto contribuye a la tasa de mortalidad materna e infantil la cual es la tasa mas alta en Centro América. En estas tasas, mujeres indígenas sufren tres veces más que no ser indígena1. Las hijos de mujeres jóvenes y pobres probablemente vayan a tener una malnutrición debido a la falta de comida nutriiva que los pobres comen.

El Futuro de Guatemala
La mayoría de la población de Guatemala consiste en los jóvenes. Todo el mundo sabe que el futuro del mundo esta en las manos de los jóvenes. En Guatemala, es especialmente importante porque el país tiene problemas que están dando vueltas sin parar como la pobreza, contaminación ambiental, y la salud. La pobreza es una cosa que la gente de más edad debe tratar de mejorar para el futuro educando a los jóvenes ahora. Si los jóvenes fueran mas educados en el tema de educación sexual, posiblemente la pobreza disminuiría. Mujeres quienes dan a luz cuando son adolescentes tiene mas riesgo de ser pobres y puede crear más desventajas económicas y sociales. Un estadístico puede mostrarlo: el 62% de los mas pobres dan a luz cuando son jóvenes, 52% en el medio, y 27% en los mas prosperos5. Mujeres quienes empiezan a tener hijos en las edades menores usualmente tienen familias más grandes, y madres jóvenes y sus hijos quienes están en pobreza, comúnmente no pueden salir de la pobreza. Esto significa que si mujeres jóvenes siguen teniendo hijos a edades menores, la pobreza va a continuar. Educación ahora es la única manera que puede ayudar a la gente a salir de la pobreza en años venideros. Según La Universidad de Harvard, un país puede ver crecimiento económico por el aprovechamiento de la dinámica poblacional, como ha ocurrido en muchos países en el Este de Asia, cuyo crecimiento rápido se llama, “Milagro Económico”. Ahora hay muchos países, como Bolivia, Guatemala, Haití, y Honduras que tienen la oportunidad de tener un milagro económico también porque la mayoría de la población es joven8. La manera en que los países pueden tener el milagro económico, y tener cambio social y económico, es mediante la inversión en la educación y la salud por parte del gobierno. Con eso, cuando los jóvenes alcancen la edad para trabajar, ellos serán productivos y podrán contribuir considerablemente en el PIB (producto interno bruto) del país. Estos jóvenes serían el motor de crecimiento económico y una guía para el cambio en el país. Esto es algo de lo que el gobierno de Guatemala debe darse cuenta y tomar medidas ahora para el futuro del país. Si las mujeres van a desempeñar un papel en el desarrollo del país, y prepararse para su futuro, necesitan educación, una necesidad que no pueden realizar si tienen hijos durante a temprana edad.

Programas que ya Existen
Guatemala ya tiene programas y leyes sobre la salud publica y la educación sexual. En 2001, la Ley de Desarrollo Social creó El Programa de Salud Reproductivo y su Política y El Programa en Desarrollo Social y Poblacion8. El programa de salud reproductiva dirige el Ministerio de Salud Publica y Asistencia Social (MSPAS) y el Instituto Guatemalteco de Seguridad Social para proporcionar servicios separados y especializados para jóvenes incluyendo prenatal y parto con asistencia medica, y servicios para la prevención y tratamiento de enfermedades de transmisión sexual. La ley también dice que todas las escuelas en el país tienen que enseñarles a los jóvenes sobre la prevención de embarazos y enfermedades de transmisión sexual. Sin embargo, muchos de los programas se enfocan en el concepto de prevención de las enfermedades y promoción de abstinencia pero no toman en cuenta los conceptos de familia, cultura, valores, y las determinaciones de salud que son muy importantes en la juventud. En Abril de 2006, después de mucha controversia, la Ley de Acceso Universal y Equitativo a los Servicios de Planificación Familiar fue aprobada. Esta ley hizo el acceso a anticonceptivos universal y gratis la primera vez8. Esta ley parece un buen avance en la ayuda y el conocimiento del gobierno sobre los problemas con embarazos durante la juventud. El problema es que hay un estigma con relaciones sexuales y jóvenes que les hace reticente a visitar una farmacia o clínicas donde hay muchos adultos, y también solamente si hay cerca. Este miedo de tratamiento aumenta los casos en cual los jóvenes no usan anticonceptivos y sus consecuencias negativas. También hay organizaciones no gubernamentales pero no logran a alcanzar a mucha gente; la exigencia es mas que el numero de programas alcanzando a países desarrollados.

La Solución
La solución para mitigar la pobreza a través de disminuir el gran numero de la tasa de natalidad no es tan fácil, pero es posible como ha ocurrido en países de Asia. El gobierno es el primer lugar para empezar. El gobierno necesita poner en efecto las leyes y las políticas que ya existen y juntarlas con programas del gobierno u organizaciones no gubernamentales para asegurar que los objetivos estarán realizados. Conclusiones en Chile indican que una política social que expande la educación y oportunidades de ingresos de mujeres jóvenes y pobres, y provee estas mujeres acceso a educación reproductiva y servicios, con una vista en retrasar tener hijos, pueda contribuir para detener el ciclo de pobreza3. Los programas no solo necesitan enseñarles a los jóvenes la importancia del sexo seguro, sino también las habilidades de la vida pueden ayudarles. Por ejemplo, las habilidades de hablar con parejas, planificación en general, buscar ayuda, y tener buenas relaciones. Muchos programas descuidan que el tiempo de la juventud es un tiempo de desarrollo personal y sexual entonces eso debe estar en los programas también. Los jóvenes no participan en el diseño e implementación de los programas, entonces, los programas no les dicen a los jóvenes que funciona para ellos. Sería bueno que los jóvenes tomaran parte en el diseño de los programas porque ellos saben sus deseos y preocupaciones. Los programas pueden hacer grupos de jóvenes en cada comunidad, aldea o área de la ciudad en donde los jóvenes pueden ir para clases de educación sexual, anticonceptivos, o solamente para charlar con alguien de la misma edad y genero. El gobierno debe financiar una campaña en medios de comunicación, como el periódico, comerciales, carteleras, y en la radio para alcanzar a la mayoría de los jóvenes en Guatemala. Estos medios de comunicación deben ser sobre la importancia de asistir a la escuela, de esperar para tener hijos, de usar anticonceptivos para prevenir enfermedades de transmisión sexual, de tener cuidado medico prenatal y para el parto, y no tener miedo de encontrar ayuda. Estos medios de comunicación deben tomar en cuenta que muchas personas son muy religiosas y necesitan respetar este tema para que funcione. También necesitan estar en el idioma apropiado para cualquier región. Aquí también es donde los jóvenes deben tomar una parte en como los medios de comunicación pueden funcionar para ellos mismos.

Conclusión
La tasa de natalidad en Guatemala es demasiado alta por la cantidad de pobreza que existe. Ha sido averiguado que el ciclo de la pobreza continua porque los jóvenes tienen hijos a edades muy tempranas. La pobreza no es el único problema que viene de los jóvenes teniendo hijos; la propagación de enfermedades de transmisión sexual, la mortalidad materna e infantil, y el futuro de Guatemala también son cosas en las que hay que poner atención. La educación es el instrumento que puede cambiar todo; lo cual ha sido demostrado en otros países. El gobierno ya tiene programas pero no están funcionando por algunas razones. El gobierno debe poner en efecto los programas con esfuerzo y dinero y también crear un medio de comunicación para informar a los jóvenes que pueden hacer algo para el futuro. Además, los programas necesitan cambiar de ser solo una base de información a una revolución de los jóvenes para los jóvenes y el gobierno debe financiarlo y darse cuenta que el futuro puede cambiar. Con mas educación y acceso, el fracaso de los anticonceptivos y la falta del uso de estos métodos se evitaría y Guatemala vería que la tasa de natalidad disminuye 6. Evitar embarazos durante la juventud aumenta las oportunidades para educación, capacitación, trabajo, y disminuye el peligro de los abortos y puede sacarlas de la pobreza. Los jóvenes son el futuro de Guatemala, si tuvieran mas educación ahora, Guatemala podría cambiar para bien.

The End

Things are winding down here...on Saturday night there was a going away party for us...families came and there was a band and food. Then we went out to La Rumba for the last time dancing. Sunday was interesting...Greg and I decided to go back to the waterpark cause it was so fun and there was no reason not to, so we only told the school mom and left at like 1:30 under the assumption that it closed at 6 or 7. Well, 1.5 hours later we get there, and people are leaving, fine, they got their early right and want to get home? No, it closed at 4, right when we got there. We were pretty bummed. So, then we decided that we were already so far away and didn't just want to go home and write our thesis, so we asked how far the beach was, Champerico...1.5 away, let's go! So we got a taxi (otherwise by bus it would be 3 hours) to take us to the beach! Got there while the sun was setting but didn't go straight to the beach cause we decided to stay the night...why not? Adventure! So we called the school mom again, Gladis and got out class moved to the afternoon for Monday. So, got a hotel, hung out, got up the next morning and went to the beach, showered, waited for our taxi who said he'd be there to take us back to Reu (town), but he never came so we had to figure out the whole chicken bus thing, which turned out to be fine and faster than 3 hours back to Reu. Got back to Xela late, but still had class...everyone was like, what the hell, you went to the beach?! It was a great adventure and much needed. It was great to actually feel like I was traveling, usually we travel with the group so it doesn't feel like we're free. Today we have to do our speech, barf, but it should be fine cause we're all sitting at a cafe, just talking about what we wrote about, don't even need to stand up. Should be fine. Tomorrow, Thursday we have our graduation and lunch with the teachers starting at 11. We even get diplomas. I'm NOT doing a speech for thats, thanks is enough for me. We're all pretty excited to get back to the states...ahhh! It's been great, exactly what I needed for this time in my life. I got in-state residency for TX and they accepted my appeal for turning it in too late...so that's all great. Yesterday I got an email for a job interview in Austin for a front desk position at an OB/GYN office...I've got a degree and I'm going maybe be a front desk lady...whatev. They have benefits too. Anyways, class has begun and I need to go over my thesis with my teacher. Wooooo CHRISTMAS AND THE STATES, CIVILIZATION, SAFETY, FOOD, FAMILY!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

You should be proud.

He escrito 11 paginas de mi tesis. Incluyendo el caratula y las referencias bibliograficas y no estoy terminado. Me estas orgullosos?!

Monday, December 8, 2008

In 2 weeks, I'm back in the homeland.

So I figured out what I'm going to write about...it was my original topic. The reason I abandoned it was because 2 other girls were doing family planning too but I realized my topic is more specific and will be juuuuuuust fine to do; besides I already had 8 sources on it. SO, that's all settled, now I have to bust ass to write it all. This weekend was great! Saturday we just hung around and worked on things, then that night there was a futbol game (soccer) that everyone in the school went to. It was really fun. Beforehand we played power hour, 1 shot of beer every minute per song change, for an hour, it's fun. So we did that and went to the game. Xela won so now I think that means they're in the semifinals and there's another game wednesday. It's so crazy here, when the team runs onto the field the fans go nuts. They pass out bags full of newspapers cut into 1x1 in. squares that everyone throws so there's confetti all in the air, there were giant fireworks shooting into the air from 3 different sides of the field, people brought their own giant roles of black cat type fireworks that they light and throw into the field...and no one cares, the police do nothing, it's so great, I was just looking around smiling like, what the hell is going on. It makes me wonder why we're so overly protective. I mean yes, people could get hurt, but I don't think it's that often or else they wouldn't allow it, but it makes for an intense beginning to a game. Then Sunday we went to Xocomil...Central America's largest water park! Weird right? Who knew. It wasn't that big, but it had all the essentials: lazy river, tube slides, body slides, wave pool, family ride...good times. The whole group went and had a great day in the sun and water. Now, back to clases and within a week, I will be home, weird! I'm excited to be home but I'm also not excited to have to work and take classes. Also I've ran into another problem that, as of right now, UT is classifying me as out-of-state and therefore will charge me out-of-state tuition...one thing I really can't afford, so I'm back to square one of what to do about this next semester. I am going to call UT if my status doesn't change in a couple days cause I know they just got my transcript so maybe they just haven't finished reviewing all the stuff in my application. It's like, either way, I'm going to have to spend a year in TX to get my residency back, so when do I do that, do I take classes in CO and after come back to TX and spend that year applying for PA school or do I work now and get my residency then take classes then apply....ugh, annoying. I guess it depends on what UT says this week. Will keep you updated. Also, I've applied to over 30 jobs now in Austin, none of which, I have heard anything from, crap. Degree = nothing right now.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I don't want to

So we're supposed to be doing research for our 12 page (can and will be much shorter) thesis in Spanish...the one reason I feel like I have to do it is because if I don't, I would be the only one who doesn't. I really could give a fuck if I wrote anything at all. I hate doing research, especially if I don't want to and on a topic I have to pretend to care about and then do a god damn speech on it. I'm very close to doing jack shit and saying, I'm paying to be here, and if I don't want to do this, then I don't have to and shove it up your ass. What's really annoying is that you're supposed to present the problem and suggestions to fix it...there is nothing we can do, nothing, Guatemala is fucked, pointless paper, AND, we've all heard all the topics anyways so it's going to be stupid to re-listen to the same shit. In reality, they just want us to be writing in Spanish, so we can really do anything. I could write about the prevalence of clowns at birthday parties or something really dumb probably. I hate writing with structure, I hate doing research and citing sources. I'm out of college, I don't need this for a grade. Some say they're doing it to have something they'll look back on, but, do I really care, do I need something to show me I accomplished something here I didn't want to do? Why do I have such an issue with this? It seems like such a waste of time. I have 2 weeks left here, the last thing I want to do is sit on the computer researching articles and reading them...I'd much rather watch sex in the city, or movies in spanish, read magazines in spanish, do my homework, memorize vocab, study, chill, enjoy my freedom, learn fucking spanish, not write. I'd like to just sit down and free write in spanish and whatever comes to my mind I'd do my speech on...maybe I should write about love. barf I'm so annoyed.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Santa Maria

Today we hiked up Santa Maria, the volcano right next to Xela...took a total of 8 hours. Nice, long, steep hike, the view was amazing. Pictures to come soon. Got up at 5:40 to meet at 6 to get up there, had some car complications, didn't start hiking until 7am. It was a beautiful day. It doesn't rain here anymore so the whole way up it was clear and sunny but still cool. Most of the way we were covered by the trees too. What sucks is all the trash the whole way up. It's not that bad the higher you get, but then again on the peak there is trash and graffiti everywhere. Sucks since it's so beautiful. The crew today was: Jill, Ruchi, Jacobo, Eric, Steve, Liz (our coordinator), Hugo (Liz's fiance), and Hugo's 2 friends, and I. The rest of the Somos crew was at home sick...something happened on Thanksgiving that got most all the group sick and others who ate Thanksgiving; though now to think about it the family here didn't get sick. Pretty strange since all the food was cooked in the oven or vegis boiled...who knows. So, now I'm sitting in my bed, sore and tired as all hell. We saw all of Xela, the ocean (we think), Pacaya and it erupted (the other active volcano we hiked), the volcano at the lake, and the volcano next to Santa Maria that's active...and it erupted too. It was neat to see the chain of volcanos, with one side there was land and the other side there was a sea of clouds. Now I'm waiting on pizza, delivery. Good day.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgivvvvvvvving!

So we're here today cooking for turkey day! We're having a potluck style thanksgiving, since there are like over 20 people going to be here. They don't have sweet potaotes here, they have something that resembles them though, camotes, that I'm using to cook sweet potaotes! So excited, already done half of it and with enough sugar and nuts, tastes like home. We're making everything including chocolate truffles and pies! Should be great. Hope you all are having a great turkey day, I'm thankful you read my blog...ha ha, thankful you love me enough to read it, and thankful you're in my life in general. You're great. Enjoy the dayyyy and drink enough wine! Love you!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Life

I got tricked. So I thought you could just go to the baptism...but we went to the whole mass..2 hours long! Then like 15 minutes later there was the baptism...so I could've gone just to the baptism. It was all interesting though since I've never been to a baptism and not to church since I was really young with a friend's family. It was fun. That evening we got to meet the founders of Somos Hermanos, Joe and Elise, they were really nice and asked us all sorts of questions about our experience so they can better the next groups. We're back to full-time class, it's pretty great. We're going to change our teachers every week this time rather than every 2 weeks like in the beginning. The weathers great now, hot and beautiful during the day but freezing at night...so much better than rain, and I don't lose umbrellas anymore! Wooo! Well, movie time! Adios!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Baptism

Today there is the baptism of the 1 year old here, Sophie...they're going all out. I guess I've never been to a baptism in the states so I don't know how to compare but it's a huge deal here. After the baptism at 12, there is a party all day in the backyard...they've got tons of balloons set up all over, tables, tents, loud Disney music in Spanish, cakes, and other decorations. Lunch is supposed to be great. I guess I'm going to go to the baptism, why not. The creators of Somos Hermanos are here too so we'll be meeting them today. I want to ask them why they picked me and if I can see the recommendation letters people wrote someday. Anyway, so that's my Sunday.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Semuc Pics

Check out also in Amy's Picassa album pics from Semuc Champey! And, if you want to read better writing about things that have happened here, check out Greg's blog: myguat.blogspot.com.

El Salvador

El Salvador
El Salvador was great and exhausting. Each day we had like 3 different meetings for 9 days. We learned a lot about the war there, heard the two different political parties speak (ARENA and FMLN), USAID meeting in the US Embassy, went to Romero, La Loma, Cinquera, Comasaguas all really poor communities where we stayed the night at Comasagua (no water or electricity) and Cinquera, heard other various organizations speak about immigration, women's rights, ate too many pupusas, etc...all in Spanish, visited the level 3 public hospital where I saw a dead person, bowling, to the mall a few times, Jesuit Vigil, tie dyed, went to the beach El Zonte, meeting with Jesuit and saw museum and rose garden where 8 were killed, 2 tremors. Each day we got up at like 7 and didn't get home until after dinner. It was pretty cool though cause we had a tour guide that picked us up in our Mercedes bus each day...such a treat! She, Cristy, was a great tour guide, really nice, knew a lot and was really passionate. I'm going to tell about everything individually...so...let me tell you a little about the war...really basic...the people wanted more rights, the government didn't want them to have them, 80,000 people were tortured, raped, and killed after Arch Bishop Romero was killed in 1980 (he's their hero) and it lasted until 1992 when the Peace Accords were signed. The US, under Reagan, fearing the takeovers seen in Cuba and Nicaragua because of Communism, financed the war on the guerrillas...$1M a day to basically slaughter people. In 1989 the killings of 6 Jesuit priests and 2 others shocked the international community into action, we saw the pictures and locations at the University of Central America where they were killed. Really gory pics. We heard the stories from people who survived the war. The election coming up in January is the first ever because ARENA has been in power for at least 20 years and now FMLN (basically the guerrilas from the war), have their own party and are trying to get office. The ARENA party still thinks they're communists, that's what they told us in the meeting. Between 20-30% of their GDP comes from remittences from workers in US. When you get into San Salvador...you're pretty much in the US...kinda, they have US food chains everywhere, 4 crazy nice malls, 2 of which are directly funded by drug money, nice roads, no trash, nice cars everywhere. Basically a false economy since they don't have one...money comes from remittances but then is re-spent on companies from the US. So, the communities we went to...Romero was a community with no electricity or water, living in shacks made of metal scraps and wood, listened to them talk about how they fought to get the land they live on, though their spanish was really mumbled so it was hard to understand most of the time. Next we went to Cinquera where we stay the night with a homestay. We hiked to a lookout and waterfall (lame waterfall and lookout compared to what we've seen), listened to a man speak about his experience in the war in their community, and how he's seen so many people's dead tortured bodies. The homestay was interesting...2 sisters, equally preggers, Gma slept on the floor, ceiling basically made of spiders in their webs, random dog under my bed, kittens under Jills, a lovebird in the smallest cage ever, rooster that sounded like it was dieing all night. Jill, Amy, and I showered together...more like stood in a cement enclosure scooping water onto ourselves, freezing in the night while a chicken sat above us in a tree...chickens climb trees. Of course the toliets here were all holes in the ground, expected. The family also didn't talk to us at all...just showed us our beds and went about their business. Comasagua was the next community we went to and stayed the night...this place had been helped out a lot by some Canadians as well as CIS (the organization we went through for all the tours) so their houses were really nice and sturdy in comparison, though they still didn't have water or electricity in their homes, just in the community center. This community was the prettiest one I've been to though cause it was situated on a hillside (super windy and dusty was the only problem), facing the ocean...the sunset was amazing that night. There were a lot of flowers and bushes, it seemed like the people actually cared about their surroundings where as usually the communities are covered in trash. Amy and I slept in a house with 2 brothers...it was so windy and cold that night, and we were unprepared so we didn't really sleep so good. The day we were there we took a trip to a community that makes tye dye from indigo...so we went there an learned how to make it...only blue and white...bought a scarf. Next we went to La Loma...1 drive in the back of a pickup and 30min walk to get there...closer to the ocean than Comasagua. We didn't stay the night there but chatted a bit with the leader of the community, gave the kids a pinata, toured their land...then off to El Zonte, the beach! God I was waiting forever to get to the beach in El Salvador to surf! The beach was probably one of the most beautiful I've been to. Perfect waves, perfect temperature, black sparkly sand, nice flowers and trees, and no one around. There were a few nice houses on the cliffs...which, I'd love to be mine one day. We stayed in a hotel there, complete with cockroaches, but good food at the restaurant and great view. Spent the whole day surfing ($15 for a longboard) and playing in the waves...burning my skin to oblivion because I was having so much fun I didn't get out of the water to re-apply...now my face is peeling. Awesome sunset. So, yes, we went bowling, it was so much fun, it was after the day at the beach and I was exhausted but it was fun...haven't been bowling in so long; no bowling alleys here. We got 30 minutes at one of the malls once, and all went bonkers...I thought just Jill and I were shopping but most of the group came out with at least one shirt, in 30 minutes, SPEED SHOPPING! God that made me miss the US, shopping with friends/sister and mom! Pupusas are the traditional food there, basically 2 tortillas sandwiched together with beans and stinky cheese...we ate them entirely too much. Felt two tremors, one I was outside standing on the street and the world started moving....it's the weirdest experience ever. Then again during the meeting with ARENA. Makes me feel so woozy. I'm bored of blogging....questions?!

Friday, November 14, 2008

ALive

Made it to San Salvador, El Salvador...were really busy so far, tell you about it tomorrow maybe...but Im alive! Love you!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Off We Go...Again

So the fam doesn't worry, we're leaving tomorrow at 4am for El Salvador so I don't know when I'll be able to go online. We'll be there for 10 days...then back to Xela for full-time classes, 4 hours a day, 5 days a week, along with writing a thesis 12 pages long and in spanish...boo! I'm doing mine on adolescent pregnancy. Did I ever mention that McDonalds here is amazing. I think it's because it's the only place with flavor in the food and reminds us of home. I love the McNiffica, 100% carne de res (beef). It's funny cause the rest of the menu has burgers, but doesn't say anything about them being made of beef at all...gross. People eat McDonalds here only if they're well off, it's like a "nice" place to eat. Glad you all liked the Semuc Blog. Dad, you'd be fine in the cave. I also kept thinking in there, what happens if there is an earthquake right now? Yikes. Dylan, get your surgery for your jealousy tube breakage, sorry about that! What else, I had made a decision to stay in Texas when I get back, but looking at the fall pictures in Colorado on facebook made my heart wretch. Ahhh life. Who knows where I'll be in a year. So, if you don't hear from me in a while, I'm just off in El Salvador...we get to go to the beach one day, I'm so excited.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Semuc Champey

So, we left Wednesday for Semuc Champey and stayed there 3 day, leaving Sunday...from Xela to Semuc it's 10 hours...in bus. To say the least I'm sick to all hell of traveling by bus, but it was worth it. Semuc Champey is the coolest place I think I've ever been. On the way there we took an Alamo bus to Guatemala City, then switched to a different company to Coban. Stayed Wednesday night in Coban, at a really cute little hostel, then took a shuttle to our hostel in Semuc, Las Marias. I was so excited to see that our hostel in Semuc was right on the river, complete with a rope swing and dock to jump off of. YES! So we got to the hostel on Thursday and just hung out, swam in the river, went off the rope swing until I got blisters, literally. It's cool how some hostels work, you just order what you want and they keep a tab, so you never have to deal with money. The dinners there sucked, but the lunch and breakfasts were great. My partners in crime were Amy, Ruchi, and Greg, Jill had to go back to the states cause her grandma passed away...shitty. Our room had 5 beds, a French guy stayed in one of them and was high every second he was there. Anyway, that night we came up with a new drinking game, speak Spanish or drink! It worked great, so everytime we uttered English, you had to take a drink. We spoke for a few hours. Got up the next day to go to the pools of Semuc Champey. It was a 15 minute walk from our hostel; we walked by national geographic type houses with naked kids and chickens running around. Crossed a bridge which we later jumped. These pools are really beyond description. There is a series of cascading, blue as blue gets, clear pools, which end up feeding into a giant waterfall and white water rapids. Though, I expected to see this, I didn't expect that underneath these pools was a torrent river that took 3 lives. When you walk to the first pool, you can walk a little further to see the river funneling into a giant black hole in the earth. Looking at it gave me the chills, so much energy, so much power, you're so fucked if you end up in there. That water ends up where the waterfall is and creates the raging river below. It's crazy. I don't really understand how it could have been formed. So we hung out there until 1something because we had to get back to go on a cave tour...yipee caves right? This cave tour would never and will never be legal in the states. First we went off this great big rope swing into the current in the river, fun, anyway...walk up some stairs to the other hole in the earth with a waterfall coming out of it. They give each of us a candle. We go in, shin deep in water and it immediately smells of bat shit...the guide pointed out some bats with his headlamp...cool. I don't know how to tell you about this experience. We swam through the cave holding our candle in one hand many times for many meters, stalactites and formations everywhere, hearing rushing water ahead. Climbed a slippery metal ladder to bring us up to a cliff, where we'd end up later after climbing through a tiny space and down another ladder. Got to a point where the guide was like, wait here, after he took all of our candles and left one burning...for 15 minutes...until Amy and I were about to be in tears. I was thinking the whole time, what happened to our guide, he should be back by now, is this a joke, there is one candle and it's about to go out, what do I do, do I go back without light as soon as possible, or do I wait longer for the guide risking forgetting the path I just traveled. Fuck. Just when I was on the verge of panic, his headlamp came into view, and I shed some tears of relief. He had went ahead to light the path with our candles. Phew. After this he lead us to the reason for the sound of raging water...a waterfall. A waterfall I scaled with a rope and my weight against the rocks and water rushing into my face (you could climb the ladder too if you wanted). I was the first to climb it and fuck it was amazing. At the top of it there was the water rushing with candles lit all over the place for 30ft or so and ropes to help you fight the water waiting to fall. I waited at the top to watch the others get up, it was great, Greg scaled it too, Ruchi tried, Amy did the ladder. Who scales a waterfall inside a cave in Guatemala? Yea. So soon after this we got to another set of pools...the guide climbed up the wall of the cave...and jumped, 10 ft, into the pool. NEXT! I went first. Climbed up stalagmites to where he went, and jumped to the place his headlamp was pointing me to! Crazy! I felt like I needed to crouch when I jumped cause we were in a cave and I thought maybe I would hit my head...but in reality it wasn't anywhere near. I cliff jumped in a cave, wtf?! So awesome, didn't touch the bottom either, who knows how deep that thing is. We continued on, swimming and walking to what was the end of the cave tour for us...but then we had to go back. So I was thinking we'd go back the same way, but no, not exactly. We went down the waterfall on the ladder with candle in mouth, then our guide disappeared into this tiny whole in the wall, where we were all supposed to fit. At a few times in this cave I felt slightly claustrophobic. This was one of those times. 5 of us in a space that should only fit 3 maybe. So the waters coming through too and goes rushing down this slit...really a slit...like not a hole. The guide's like, turn around this way, feet dangle into slit, put one hand here, one hand here (underneath where we can't see), and poof, he's gone! Fell down the slit into the earth...what the hell. You can't see where it's going, it's black. Greg goes first, disappears into the earth, then it's my turn, guide takes my candle, so apparently there's ground down there somewhere, and I do as I'm told. Start sliding down the slit...no earth, no place for my feet and I just fall. I kept holding onto the right hand grip, until the guide grabbed me and swung me out of the slit. It was the weirdest feeling ever. The slit was really, really thin, if I were to ever get swallowed, this was it. I felt like I was swallowed. The wall of the slit was slippery enough to slide down easily but it kinda curved so I felt like I was a piece of food slowly (fast as hell) being pushed by throat muscles. I don't know, it was weird. I was swallowed. But then we were at the place where we first climbed the ladder. Weird. So, that day was amazing to say the least. After the caves we tubed from there to our hostel...like 15 minutes, almost dark, freezing, but it was still great. The next day we just hung out and went back to Semuc for a little bit but the sun wasn't out so we didn't stay too long cause brrrrr. There was a group at the hostel from Xela who had their own shuttle...so we lucked out and got a private shuttle back to Xela on Sunday...stopped whenever we needed to, a luxury. Still though it was a painful 10 hours. We got back Sunday evening, and leave again, at 4am on Wednesday for El Salvador. boooo. I know, poor me right. I think I would go back to Guatemala soley to go to Semuc. The beds at that hostel were hell though, I didn't sleep much in those 3 nights...got back and slept like hell last night too cause I got up 3 times to poop my brains out. I swallowed my fair share of river water there from the swing. Though I don't feel sick really, my body really hurts (from the beds or sickness?), and my poop looks like pee and explodes out of me. Great! Thought you'd like that extra detail. Anyway, that was Semuc, and I need a back massage bad.

Monday, November 3, 2008

New Pics...

Go to my picassa and then to Gregs and Amy's to see new pics from Mexico and the volcano and whatever else you haven't seen!

Preview:


Mexico

4 hours to the border in a chicken bus, 12 hours in a nice, new big charter bus, though halfway through the A/C cut out and we were miserable and hot. Then it came back on and we slept...for a sec.

At the border we got off the chicken bus at the wrong stop, were harrassed to all hell for rides to the border...they convinced our director to takes all of us 12, 2 by 2 on bicycles with a big seat in the front, to the border. It was really really weird. Got the the border, crossed fine, waited forever cause they were out of forms for us to fill out, then off to the other place, Tapachula, Mexico to catch the big, nice bus to take over night. Got to Oaxaca Mexico at about 8am. My family was already there cause they were waiting with their prior student who was leaving on a bus to Mexico City. The first day with the fam was great, we got picked up by the daughter and the dad, mom was at home doing who knows what. The daughter, Bertha, (mom Bertha too), invited us to a her friend's child's 1st birthday party so we went, after a long needed nap in the hardest new bed of mine. We got to the party entirely too early, cause we sat awkwardly for an hour waiting for people to show up, the clown even showed up early. Yes clown, so scary, I never was afraid of clowns, but this one was weird. They served us 3 tamales, two with mole, one sweet one, cake, drinks, some pudding, candy, too much. There were 2 pinatas, one huge one and one made of clay, which I thought was weird and pretty unsafe, but it just clunked to the floor, didn't really shatter.

So, Oaxaca exceeded my expectations by far. It was beautiful, surrounded by big green mountains. There were tons of flowers, trees, clean streets, no pollution/trash, Jill and I sat in a park and drew and no one bothered us, you could walk alone without fear (though always safer to walk in pairs at night), great food, SUN aka NO RAIN. Though, our family was poor which was kinda disappointing just because everyone else had rich families and great food, like 5 course meals, gourmet style, and we got a tiny cup of fruit every morning, weird stale bread, rice and beans for lunch and dinner wasn't much better...once we got sandwiches with avocado...we were ridiculously too excited. The light in the dining room was eery as all hell...just one little fluorescent light that put out a weird tinge of blue on all the odd trinkets that flooded the shelves. Every night there was a candle lit, sitting on the floor of the "living room." Weird. The location was great though, just a 5 minute walk to school, by the park, and another 5 minutes to the Xocolo, the place for eating/shopping/going out/getting annoyed by people trying to sell you fancy toothpics. The school was beautiful too, with giant palm trees and other trees everywhere, and a nice big lawn. The first couple days were frusterating cause our teacher sucked ass...like kept wandering off into space about random shit, didn't learn anything. The third day, wednesday, we made masks for day of the dead, which included putting vasoline all over your face and having your partner wet strips of casting material (like for your arm), and place them all over your face, 3 layers full. It felt neat. Thursday and Friday we had a different teacher cause we bitched so much about the one lady...this guy ended up being really great and making us do fun activities. Sorry this is so choppy. Friday for day of the dead, after class we did final touches on our masks and waited around for the parade to start, our parade! It was great, there was a band, 2 giants (people in costumes on stilts) and the whole school in their masks parading around the block and occasionally stopping for music, shots of mescal, and a dance party! It was really fun, the teachers were going around feeding everyone mescal shots from gasoline tanks...fitting, cause mescal pretty much tastes like hell. If you didn't know, mescal is the liquor of Mexico, why, I don't know. So, we ended up drinking a lot of that and taking a giant nap before meeting up with the group to tour the cemeteries. We went to 3 cemeteries on Halloween, it was really interesting. So just some background, the 31st they celebrate the return of the dead children, 1st the adults, and the 2nd everyone...So people make different types of altars...altars are the things they set up for the return of the dead, as offerings, like food, water, mescal for adults, for the long journey home from the grave, and candy and toys for children. The altars always have these yellow flowers and lights, so they can find their way. Some are huge, and some are only so big as to offer water, food, and a flower and a candle. You can see these in the pics on picassa in Greg/Amy's pics. So families go to the cemeteries, clean up the graves and decorate them in flowers, incense, sand with glitter in the form of a picture, have food and music, and stay there all night long. There were so many people at the graves. Oaxaca is the most traditional in all of Mexico for Day of the Dead festivities, they say. Most of the people were there just to walk around and see all the decorations, but many families were just sitting there, around the grave, talking, or not. It was really neat, some graves were really beautiful with all the candles and flowers. After the cemeteries Jill, Greg, Ruchi, and I went out to celebrate Halloween...fun night, up till 4am since the bars don't close there until like 6am. Jill was determined to make out with someone and succeeded, so did Ruchi, Greg and I danced the whole time, it was fun. Jill was in rare form that night, hilarious, belligerent. The next day was our last day, Jill stayed in bed all day, and I went out shopping alone, until I randomly found Amy and Ruchi, a great surprise, and we shopped, had a last great beer in the sun on the rooftop of a restaurant...and off we went at 6 back to Xela! That's it!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

alive

just wanted to let you all know i'm alive and back in Xela, it was a great week, tell you all about it later! How was halloween?!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Old post I didn't post (Sor): To Oaxaca We Go

Well, tomorrow we leave at 9am for Oaxaca, Mexico...4 hours in a chicken bus to the boarder, always fun, then we switch buses to a nicer bus, "pullman," more like a really old fashioned gray hound with windows that open, and a bathroom, luckily, since we'll be in that bus for 12 miserable, hot hours. What the hell are we going to do with ourselves for that time. Most of us have ipods, but those don't last too long, we bought some crayons to draw, and will have cards and a half bottle of Crown Royal...I'll probably just sleep more than I'd ever need to. Bought some food and water for the trip...any ideas? This drive is going to be like going from Austin to Denver...damnit, so long. We'll be there for a week, taking group lessons and living in homestays. They are pairing us up, so of course, they put me with Jill. Should be a great week. We'll be spending Halloween there, which will include looking like dead people, walking through the cemetary...it's going to be the scariest Halloween ever!!!!! This is the link to our school: http://www.icomexico.com/ It looks like a really nice place. We're pretty excited to get out of Xela for a bit, well actually we're going to be out of Xela for a while cause when we get back from Mexico we're going to Coban then El Salvador, I think I already told you this...

Last night I was in a dance competition, and lost, to the only black girl in Guatemala, Crystal, who's in our group, haha. They made us get up on this raised area on the corner of the dance floor, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into cause they said it in spanish and it was way too loud...then I had to go first, damnit again. Amy dropped it like it's hot.

This was our last week volunteering too, finally, after 10 weeks. Everyone I had gotten to know, as for patients, had left so it was a good time to end it. Turned out there were also festivities thursday for San Raphael so we spent our time decorating the hospital with cut out fish, balloons, and streamers. Then there were some games, like sac race, who's the oldest, who's been there the longest, pinatas, Greg had to give a speech, sucker, some candy and pound cake...it was great. They acknowledged us a little, which was nice. I gave a butt injection to a man with HIV and tuberculosis. He kept telling us his heart was going to fail but a nurse made him bend over and lay on the bed...she told him it was to relieve the pain, liar, gave him the injection, then he thanked us and said some sort of prayer to us. Thanked one nurse for everything, and left. It was a great experience, I learned more than I thought I would. Oh, so Greg told Jill and I that there was some sort of procedure going on in this room, so Jill and i went to check it out...this room is not an operating room by any means but there was this guy, laying on this hospital bed type thing, head wrapped in sheets, laying on his side with his dirty feet next to his even dirtier jacket, with a gaping hole in his neck and two pairs of scissors inside.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Kira

Mom and Dad, I'm glad you named me after the Kira in We The Living. I would also die to live and love. You were spot on and you didn't even know it, or maybe you did :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

yes it rains a lot, no i'm not staying away from things that will make my heart stop, and what the fuck is a jewish cat?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hike to waterfall at Nueva Alianza

Kids at Tilapita

Huehuetenango

coolest week ever

Last week might be the coolest week ever. I didn't blog about the coffee farm, cause the pics explain what was important really. So last week was the usual week, volunteering, not volunteering, class, missing class...BUT, Thursday at volunteering they taught us how to draw blood! So, Jill drew from Amy, Amy drew from Jill, Greg drew from a patient, I drew from Greg! We all got in the vain well, drew the blood, effortless. Though Greg's vain wasn't as easy...it was hard to see cause the nurse cast a shadow over it and it wasn't bulging much anyways, but it worked! I luckily didn't have to get poked. THEN, I made a decision early last week: I was going to move out of my house and into the school. Reasoning: I need to speak Spanish more than just in class, and I don't at home and knew I would at school, second, I am always at the school, I only go home to eat and sleep. SO, Friday morning, I told my family I was moving out, that morning, had Jill and Greg come over and help me pack my stuff up, and I moved to the school! It's so great here, I love it already! There's unlimited water to drink, and I can fill up water bottles, I don't have to walk outside to shower or brush my teeth, the bed is way more comfy and warmer, I have 2 big windows that look out to the mountains and open up for fresh air, friends can always hang out in here, internet constantly, there is a cat sleeping in my lap right now, always hot water for tea, family talks to me a lot and corrects me...it should be great. Though we're really only in Xela for like a month more since this weekend we go to Oaxaca, Mexico for a week, then we get back and leave Wednesday to travel to Coban, Guatemala (just Jill, Amy, Greg and I) where we can white water raft, float through caves, see waterfalls, then we get back and leave for El Salvador for 2 weeks where hopefully we'll get to surf! Anyway, so Friday Jill, Greg and I left for Antigua to climb one of the 36 volcanos in Guatemala and one of the 2 active ones. We left late of course from Xela so got into Antigua late, not knowing if there was room at the hostel or if we could sign up to hike that late, but it all worked out. Got rooms at Jungle Party again, and signed up for the hike, leaving at 6am. Took it easy in Antigua and got up early for the 45 bus ride up to the volcano. We got there, rented hiking sticks for Q3, and the hike began. At first it was just through the normal brush of a mountain, then onto the side of the mountain that was exposed showing us how high we really were up, we could see 2 other volcanos and dried lava from a huge explosion years ago. Finally, after about 45 minutes, we turned the corner to see Pacaya...a giant mountain, but black, smoking from the top and along parts of the sides from the lava beneath. There was an option to ride horses up, or catch one if you got tired on the way, which some people did. So after a pause to take pics of Pacaya, the group continued...though our guide asked us if we wanted to go skiing! So of course, we did, so we ran up above the path a ways to another path. The volcanic rock was like sand dune/ski hill consistency so off we went, skiing down the side of the volcano (more like jumping side to side with out feet together and sliding down), until we got to the lower path.....it was sooooo much fun! There wasn't lava on that side of the volcano so we continued to hike through the volcanic rocks, of all sizes, until we go to a part of the volcano where the volcano had spewed fresh lava a few days earlier. Apparently it hardens in like a day. Anyway, this part was crazy, it looked like we were in mars really. The rocks looked like they were flowing, but they were hard. It was a sea of hardened lava. But up to this point it had been quite cold...where as now, we were walking over and next to freshly hardened earth puke which was hot at times. The main point of the walking sticks was to poke at the rocks really hard to make sure you didn't step into a weak spot and fall through to the molten lava. So we continued up next to the hard lava and then made our way into it, to where we saw flowing, gurgling, red hot, molten lava. It was kinda hard to get to see it cause it was really hot at spots and there was also really toxic smelling gas coming out that made you cough and feel like if you breathed in too much you may pass out, as well as making sure you were walking on solid lava, and getting around all the other people who wanted to see it up close. One guy did fall through the rock, but luckily, there was just more rock underneath. Got some pics, just you wait. It was amazing. OH, and I ran 4 miles straight. What the hell I forgot something HUGE! I WAS IN MY FIRST EARTHQUAKE! I was sitting in my (old) room reading when the fucking earth starting moving. My brain kinda went blank until I was like, uh, I think this is an earthquake! It lasted quite a while, like 13 seconds or so, and afterwards my towels which were hanging, were still swaying and I felt super nauseaus (sp?). Then a few seconds later there was another, shorter one. It was the weirdest thing ever. You never know how much you trust the solid ground until it starts moving. I can't imagine eating mushrooms and feeling an earthquake, that would really really suck. The epicenter was in Mexico. I really didn't want to eat lunch afterwards, I felt so weird, like I was still moving. I wouldn't say I'd like to feel that ever again. SO. EARTHQUAKE, LAVA, DRAWING BLOOD, 4 MILES, MOVED.

What happens when a chicken bus stops

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

VIDEOS

I've tried to upload videos on this thing many times, but it always screws up...got lucky once and have been trying ever since and still not working. I have a bunch of videos. AND Lindsay, I haven't lost my mind, damnit! I LOVE MY LIFE.
video

Things I've lost

I don't know what Guatemala has done to me but here is a list of the things I've lost so far:

-probably at least 5/6 umbrellas
-military knife
-rain jacket
-dress
-flipflop
-hat
-headlamp
-I'll add more if I remember...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

Coffee Farm

Today...I ran 3 miles straight. I could've kept running too, I wasn't tired, and had plenty on my mind...but I decided, nahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I could've ran until I passed out. It was great! I hate running, it's such a mind game. Yesterday I could hardly run a mile, I was dieing...mostly due to being estar de goma to all hell (hungover). I didn't go to volunteering or class cause it was so bad. It was Ruchi's birthday Wednesday so she had a party at her house (cause her mom's awesome)...tons of people, lots of dancing, it was super fun. It was pretty funny, Greg and I were standing there talking with like 5 other Guatemalans, and I was like, do you think these kids have any idea what I'm saying...and like a few of them looked at me and were like, yea, we understand everything! ShiT! Good thing I didn't say anything bad, at least I don't remember saying anything bad... You always have to be careful what you say! I hope that happens to mexicans back in the states with me...I'll just mumble off some spanish right back at them, ha! Anyway, so running sucks, but I killed it today.

Weekend: Going to a coffee farm! Woooo. I'm looking forward to it, we're doing 2 hikes to waterfalls where we get to go swimming. Also theres talk of picking medicinal plants...who knows. Should be pretty cool. We also get a private bus there which kicks ass cause usually we take a chicken bus which can be hell...packed in like sardines with indigenous people who smells like cow shit and dirt. Have I told you all about the people who come on the buses? Well there are the ones who come on and try to sell nuts, tamales, drinks, etc...but there are also people who come on there missing both arms but still holding a tray to put money in, another guy had a gaping gushing bloody hole in his stomach, people come on there trying to sell herbal sex enhancers or muscle toners, others are just flat out preaching...its so weird. I captured the selling on film once...I'll check to see if I can post that video on here. Well, that's all for now. Crystal is having us all over at her place tonight to watch a movie!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

ok

Not going to South America...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Something I've Realized

First of all...do you people read my blog anymore or what? Where's the comments? I realize my life is utterly boring to you all right now but, come on, I love the comments. By the way, Dylan and Mom, finding wooden vases is way harder than I thought...it's not a common find and the ones I've found are really expensive even in $ terms.

So, today we did a little hike up a near hill to this place called Baul...just some rusted slides and broken down buildings and such. On the way back down I got to thinking. I've always thought of myself as independent, but now I know that's completely bullshit at least in one sense. I have to have a partner in crime, whether that be boyfriend, best friend, sister/mother, near me at all times. Perhaps this is why I tend to always have a boyfriend. Here, though I have Amy, Jill, and Greg, all good friends, I've been wondering why I've still felt like I was lacking something in my life. It's that partner in crime. The friend to go to the mall with me, wait for me when I fall behind, someone I know will always be there for me and will be down for adventure or just doing nothing. Of course this exists in the states, and is obviously why I haven't realized it until now. I was talking to Amy and Jill about this and they told me that I need to find things to do on my own that make me happy, or get a shrink (thanks Amy). Amy said some things that are her favorite in life are things she does when she's alone...not masturbation. I really couldn't think of things I do when I'm alone that make me happy. If I'm alone I'm sleeping, on the computer, trying to find out something to do with someone, etc. But I'm also not so sure needing people is a bad thing...how would I even try to break myself of that when, being the baby of the family, I've always been taken care of and had no worries about not having anyone. Perhaps it's not a bad or good thing, but it is something I need to figure out cause I hate feeling left, and instead of feeling left or disappointed, I need to just pick up and do whatever the hell I want to and not get so distraught with those whom I feel should give me what I need. I'm obviously happy with myself, but what do I do with myself when I'm alone, in the sense of now, of not having a partner in crime? Skype alot!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Running out of Titles




Well this weekend was pretty tranquilo...Friday night we went to this new bar called Ojala where Amy's future husband and his band played some covers, mostly bluegrass type stuff...roughly. It was great, I felt like I was home. Saturday I went and bought some shoes...let me tell you that I'm a giant here. You don't really know that until you go to buy running shoes and first of all they don't have up to my size in women's...only up to like a 7...then I finally find a store, Adidas, with real live shoes, but I have try on like 5 shoes, all too small, in MENS. I have bigger feet than the majority of males in Guatemala, fuck! But eventually I find some, gray, silver, and YELLOW, fuck again! But I bought them, cause they are comfy and I need to run so...still haven't used them. Ok, about real live shoes. Just like every other store, I don't know why I thought it would be different with shoes, but every store, who claims they are like, CHAMPS, or other sporting goods store with a real, American name, aren't real at all and neither are the goods they sell. I went into Champs thinking they'd have real shoes, I mean, it's Champs, but no, the soles of the Nike's were uneven, the check marks are all off, and just flat out are fake. I wonder if guatemalans know that they are buying fake Nike's. Gap is like this too. Luckily I found a real Adidas store. I looked at Puma too, which I think has genuine stuff, but it's not a chain store...like they just buy Puma stuff and resell it. Anyway, interesting trip to the mall, like, can I please have the biggest shoe possible in all of Guatemala please? Saturday...Jill and Greg got really bored and went and made a beer bong, then that night everyone proceeded to beer bong over and over, I only did like 2 cause I kinda forced myself to go to the school anyway, and that was just a big mess. Beer bottles broke everywhere and beer spilled everywhere. We went home early. SUNDAY FUNDAY! Got up, went to Hyper (aka mall), and ate Taco Bell, yes, what a treat! Then we went to the zoo! Zoo complete with monkey's, rabbits, pigs, foxes, a jaguar, birds, slides, and other games. We did bumper cars, which was super fun, Greg almost died from a head on collision and side impact at high velocity. I have some pics...coming soon to a computer near you, wow! After this little adventure we went to this video casino...just to check it out, just a bunch of slot machines and some tables, and like 5 people. Though it was the middle of the day. I felt like I walked into Blackhawk, CO...Then there was a fair in the park, with an amazing amount of stands and food and stuff. Didn't buy anything. Oh I saw 2 funerals this past week. They carry the casket through the streets with the hurse (sp?) in front and everyone holding arms behind the casket, on the way to the cemetery. And they walk sooooo slow. Today at the hospital one of the patients asked me to take her back to the states (this happens a lot and they are serious), same lady asked me for 20Q cause she is poor and needed phone minutes, and another asked me if I could give her some clothes cause her mom took hers and never visited again so she doesn't want to wear her pj's home in 10 days! Interesting day. I have some clothes I think I'll give her since I don't want them anyway and need more space in my suitcase. Nothing much else...except:

I think I'm moving to Mendoza, Argentina in January for who knows how long with Amy. Dylan has a friend down there starting up a winery and needs hands...though he won't be able to pay us I'm trying to see if he can at least feed us and we'll stay in our tent on his property until we find legit jobs and a home. Another cool thing is that Amy's sister works for continental so she gets buddy passes which make international flights like less than $300! Mendoza is awesome, it's next to the Andes so you can snowboard, wineries, rivers for white water rafting, etc, awesome. So...working out some things, but so far that's the plan. CRAZY. Who knew. Though all could fall through and I could be in TX, or CO, in January. We'll see!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Nothing new

Hi friends and fam! Well I haven't blogged all week cause nothing, absolutely nothing interesting has happened. It's begun to rain everyday; you can wake up and it'll be beautiful, but by 2pm it's pouring and thundering and cold as hell. It's only going to get colder too but supposedly the rain should stop sometime soon. I think we were very lucky the first three months cause it was supposed to rain a lot but didn't and we got a lot of sunny days. This weekend is a free weekend so we're doing nothing here in Xela.............br.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Earth Lodge Pics


Check out Amy's pics on Picassa from Earth Lodge!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

other things

This picture to the right...describes my everyday waking.

About gifts...I'm getting you all gifts from here, but I remember people requesting other items...please let me know if these are wrong, if you want to change them, or add to them:

Mom: wooden vases
Dylan: linen pants/guatemala shirts?
Darcy: rug?

Earth Lodge and the week prior to

Answers: Dylan, no I'm not scared of putting my mask on in front of them anymore
Mom, yes, it's important to my readership.

SO, during the inhalation of millions of particles of infectious tuberculosis this week, aka volunteering, Jill and I bought/brought 2 manicure sets! Of course most all of them had no idea what we were talking about when we said manicure so we had to explain that we were going to cut nails and give massages and paint their nails...only 1 of the patients, who is my age and normal, knew and got it done first. Everyone else was very hesitant until they saw her brightly painted hot pink nails...then more and more wanted them. Even Dona Sylvia wanted one...Dona Sylvia is the crazy lady I feed every day...who I found out has HIV, not TB, so that's great, not injecting her EVER. Painting her nails was a dumb idea though cause she instantly screwed it up so we took it off. She liked it though I think...I mean who, with skin so dry it looks like a cracked desert floor, wouldn't love lotion? I think we gave a total of 5 or 6. I quit my other job, the pediatric one, it was basically useless. I'd get there, wait an hour cause she was always late, then have to leave in an hour and a half and all I did was listen. Didn't learn really anything. So I dropped that to work at Rodolfo Robles one more day. We really want to learn to draw blood...not from HIV people of course. ALSO, I began working out. I went to the gym 2 times last week, in my hiking shoes, which is stupid. I didn't bring running shoes cause, I hate running, so I figured any working out I'd do, hiking shoes would suffice. But, now my left foot is fucked up and my left leg on the inside hurts like all hell, so I think I screwed something up in there. It's been since Thursday and it still hurts to walk. I didn't hike saturday cause it hurt too bad to walk. I didn't do anything special that I remember Thursday night to merit hurting myself. But it hurts. I thought maybe for a while maybe it was just weird knots but I don't know anymore. BUT, so I get on the treadmill, aka the thing I hate most in life, and think I'll just run like a mile to start out...got to a mile and I was like, lets do 1.5, then 2! So I ended up running 2 miles, speed walking a half, then running another half mile! I surprised the shit out of myself. The time in my life when I actually ran, freshman year, I ran 2 miles tops, and here I go after not working out for 3 months and run 2.5 miles! I'm so proud! So of course I had to force myself to do it again the next day, and did, it was way harder, but I did it...all in hiking shoes...pain! Tuesday I'll go buy some running shoes. I will force myself to continue running and increasing the distance! God running is boring.

Anyway so this weekend we weren't too excited about the planned trip, to Earth Lodge near Antigua because they told it was just for relaxing by the fire, in hammocks, and reading...we're like, hellooooo we just had a week off! But it turned out to be great. I seriously felt like I was at a Guatemalan Kerrville...with less people. Some Americans opened it up 4 years ago...most of us stayed in the dorm, with 8 bunk beds, but there were also cabins spread about on the hillside. It was beautiful...though I forgot my camera, but Amy had hers so pictures are pending. So we get to Antigua, and have to take a pick-up, as usual to get there. Then we get there and it seems like they dropped us off on some random dirt path surrounded by poor guatemalan shacks and a giant pila, which we renamed poola since it was as big as a pool. We got there at night too to make it weirder. So we walk down this slippery path for a few hundred meters and get to the lobby/hut/dining room/bar...one big room with a kitchen, table, bookshelf, self serve bar, couch...and super friendly staff of 4. They went on the honor system for drinks...had a whole bar set up and a sheet of paper where you write your name in and tally off the drinks you had, whether happy hour or regular, as well as water, hot shower, etc. Honor system kicks ass. The view was awesome, we were facing 2 giant volcanoes and could see Antigua settled at the base of them both. One of them is dead though, so no worries, the other though we saw erupt both nights, the second night way bigger, you could see it spewing from that far away. It was amazing. So saturday we just hung around, read my new book, cause i just finished reading We The Living, which by the way, I'm glad I'm named after Kira, she's awesome. She would die to live and love. So the new book is, well I don't remember, but it's funny. So while some of the crew went on a mini hike, I sat in a hammock and read and checked out the scenery. The food was great. You could have a cold shower for free or a hot shower for 5 min for 5Q, jill and I opted for the cold shower. There were 3 nice dogs, 3 kitties, a mule, millions of avocados, and the best swing ever. We swang a lot. Sleeping was alright, though I somehow chose the bed with the shittiest blanket ever so I froze the first night and apparently woke up saying, "Jill, Jill, I'm freezing," which she didn't hear but Amy did and didn't do anything to help me out! Agh rude! Saturday night we played some cards and drank some crown, then sat in the hammocks listenign to James play guitar and sing...we sang along sometimes too. It was a relaxing weekend but it was different, I felt more relaxed there, in my kerrvillish brain in the middle of nowhere guatemala on the side of a hill. It rained all day today, sunday. Bought a really cute YELLOW shirt today in Antigua, so cute, I love it and can't wait to wear it. Probably Tuesday.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Por la primera vez

You all shouldn't get too spoiled for having 3 posts in one day!

Today while I was getting TB, aka working, I got to give an injection in a woman's ass! Not just into the IV, into the butt, it was grrrreat! This is going to help me get into PA school big time. Tomorrow we're giving the women manicures! I love it there, they missed me while I was on vacation. I will quarantine myself for the sake of having this experience.

In my head...at the moment

So, at this point in my life, there are so many roads I could travel down, I'm just standing at the intersection, looking around, wondering which one to take.

I didn't really think about this until I saw Emilee in Belize. It was so sad to hear her and Michelle talk so much about their great apartment in downtown denver, the rockies games, getting excited for the snow to come, fall is beautiful right now, and they are just livin the 20s life. Then, I think about what my life will be like when I get back. I have my family of course, but for friends, the only ones I care to see are Darcy, Polky, Tim, and Travis, and now I have Amy too. Well, great news, Darcy is moving to Colorado, probably to the mountains, and so is fucking Amy! Therefore, I have no girlfriends at all and all I am going to do is miss them cause they're all in CO having the time of their lives together and I'll just be hearing all about it. Laura will be in Houston, teaching. The reasons for me being back in Texas are financial, for my family, and to attempt to get into PA school here cause it's cheap and close to family. Though at one point I had made a decision to stay in CO cause that is really where I'd like to live and go to PA school, and while I still have residency, I could at least try once to get in. What happened to that plan? I had no money to store my life in CO until I got back from here. So let's see, the first time I apply to PA school, the soonest I would go is in 2 years, so I have 2 years to take classes, work, live. Where do I do that, I might not get in-state tuition anymore at UT or ACC, so to save money, why not take them in CO, but there I have to work more and take less classes, cause I'll have to actually be an adult and pay for rent and all that comes with life. But, will I be happy living in Austin, without many friends, obviously I can make friends in class and I plan on joining a league vball team so that will definatley help but, 2 year at least, then another 3 after that if I get in. I guess I don't care where I go to PA school, but I want to spend my time where I will be happiest and most productive until then. Then there's this other side of me that's like, what the fuck is the rush, why not take the classes slow so I do well, work as a medical assistant for a couple years before I even apply cause that will really help me get in, live where I want, and take things as they come? Why is it I feel like I have to take 4 classes next spring, and work full time, get good grades, take the GRE? Only because I'm in a hurry to get into PA school and make $$$$ Honestly I doubt I get into PA school the first time and probably the second time too, my GPA isn't competitive, I haven't done shit for volunteering and I've only really shadowed one doctor, and the PA once. I have nothing they want, yet. Of course I want to be close to my family cause I've been gone so long, WHY CAN'T YOU ALL JUST GO TO CO! Part of me is used to being away though. Part of me also really misses Austin and swimming and the heat. Part of me knows I was unhappy for a long time in CO due to men and that I needed to get out for a while, but was that just Boulder? Should I sell everything I own and go get my dive master and move to Australia and lead dives and swim with sharks and live in a hut with a thatched roof?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More Belize

I got bored writing that blog last night, so here I am, going to try to finish it. And yes mom, that is what a Garifuna is!

Well the only problem with San Pedro is that if you don't stay in town, you have to take the island ferry, which costs $26 roundtrip...that's like 175Q! So expensive in Belize, more than USA, and we had to stop ourselves from calculating from dollars to quetzales cause it was just way too much money. So we only went to town twice, once to buy groceries which we though would last us, which they didn't, and the last night to go to the Belizean Beer Bash for their independence. That night I had serious contact issues so I was miserable and we went home at midnight...lame, I know for the last night and nothing to do but travel the next day, but I couldn't hang, I might as well have taken my contacts out and gone blind cause my eyes were closed the whole time anyway. But it was cool walking around and listening to music and drinking Belikin for $2 each. During the week we cooked dinner and breakfast a few times to save money, had a great dinner with wine and dessert at the restaurant for Em's birthday, and had the whole staff sing happy birthday to her, drank a bit that night for her bday. One night we had bought a bottle of vodka, drank it, decided we weren't drunk enough, tried to go to the bar but it was closed, so we tried to break into the bar, got caught by the security guard so returned home to our condo and decided to put balloons in our stomachs and do pregnant yoga! It was hilarious! Em and Michelle somehow knew the same exact routine so that was great, then they lead Jill and I...it was fun. One night, the only night we really partied, we took a bunch of shots of nasty belizean rum before going to the bar, then went to the bar and had shots and drinks and it was just us girls and the bartender cause, well, the resort was filled with old folks and the young couples were out in town. Then, they came back! We broke out the karaoke, sang our hearts out, even if someone else picked a song to sing by themselves, us assholes just kept singing every song, I don't think they minded, it was pretty funny. THEN, the damn security guard said the bar needed to close, so we invited everyone back to 10A, our condo, to parlay it up! They came, we took more shot of nasty rum, and danced on the bar and played music, it was a great night. That night at the bar, Michelle somehow found that she has a hidden entertainment talent cause she got on the mike and was like, "Give it up for Costa Maya resort," and like went on with speeches the whole time that sounded like she was a professional host, it was AWESOME! So anyway, one of the places in Belize to snorkle is called Mexico Rocks, which just happened to be right outside our resort, so one day we took our kayaks out there with the activity guide, Teddy, and he took us snorkeling for free! It was great, saw a couple sharks, squid, fish obviously...I scared a squid and made it ink...ahhahaha, I laughed in my snorkle. The first day that Jill and I were there we went snorkeling just right off the dock and saw great fish and a fucking baracuda...that thing was scary. I was swimming in the darker water cause I was under the dark, adn all of a sudden I see the end of a giant fish...peered around to see what the hell it was, and saw it's huge ass teeth, so scary! I got out of there. Just after that a huge stingray came for a visit too. Belize has so many conch shells. Everytime I've been snorkling/diving I've wanted to find my own conch...in Belize, they're everywhere, even on the menu at restaurants.

Let me tell you about the best day ever.
Us girls wanted to go on a snorkle/dive trip together so we signed up for Hol Chan/Shark Ray Alley. Hol Chan Michelle and I got to dive, just to about 31 feet but it was amazing. We saw stingrays, sharks, clouds of little fish that when a big fish swam through they made a tunnel for it, lobster, shrimp like on finding nemo, swam into a little cave, and sea turtles...it was perfect. Then we went to shark ray alley where they throw out a cylinder full of food to attract the sharks and sting rays and big swarms of fish, and are like, hey, jump in! So I did, naturally. It was probably the best experience ever. The guide would grab the sharks by their tails and turn them upside down so they were belly up so we could pet them, so we did, felt really neat, like almost as if they were dry, but meaty and strong. The guide asked me if I wanted to hold it, I'm like hell yes I want to! so I put this shark upside down i my arms and just sat there with it, petting it's belly! It wiggled a lot. Then he went down (we were snorkeling here cause it was only like 8 feet deep) and trapped a stingray in his arms and brought it to us to pet too, then I held it, that was great cause they are really soft/slimy so it's wings/flaps/fins whatever you call them were all over my arms...he told me to lay back and the sting ray just fluttered over me, it was such a neat feeling. I suppose the guide thought correctly like I might as well be a fish so he asked me if I wanted to ride the shark, I'm like fuck yes I'm so doing that, so he told m to grab the dorsal fin and he'd take me for a ride, so I did, and it was amazing, he didn't go very fast but he pulled me through the water, god it was amazing, I will never forget that. I wanted to hold on forever and for him to show me the sea. Ahhhhh. I'm going to have to have a house near the beach so I can scuba dive whenever.

So, what else. so the bartender, Jaime, about 46 years old I'd guess...gave me a freaking clear plastic dolphin bottle opener with plastic flowers inside...then he kissed my cheek, asked me if I wanted to sing with him later during karaoke, hell no, and he said he was going to sing a song for me...shit. This was the night of the singing karaoke like nuts...So, I was hoping it wouldn't happen, but he got on the mike and said that this song was dedicated to kira, and he sang, in front of everyone, "You've lost that lovin' feelin'," and like pet my neck and i wanted to puke or die or puke then die. It was so awful. Apparently he had given this other girl a dolphin keychain too, such a creeper. That was weird.

There were tons of iguanas during the day and crabs at night. We left by plane. Our boarding passes were plastic. We flew to Belize City from San Pedro, bought 2 bottles of Crown Royal (don't have good whiskey in Guate) and 1 bottle of vodka, lip gloss and perfume (cause I always smell), said bye to Em and Michelle, went to the plane to board...and no one else was there. Jill and I were the only ones to fly this international flight on a 6 seater cessna. That was pretty awesome, we had already felt like celebs the whole week at the resort and then we get on our private plane to Guatemala...hahaha. I told the pilot I have like 60 hours and he asked Jill if I could fly, she said no, he said the passenger says no, BUT later he asks me if I want to fly, I'm like YES! So I fly over the border of Belize and Guatemala into a rain storm. I was so excited, it felt great, and Jill didn't even know I was flying, sucker! Flying to Flores, we saw some ruins from the plane, and flew over this amazing blue lake, with no boats on it...weird how no one uses lakes here at all. Got to Flores, bought our flight to Guatemala City, which was a jet, a full one at that (people go to Flores to visit Tikal to see the ruins) and back to our hostel in Guate City. 4 hour bus ride the next day to Xela, and voila, that was our trip! Any questions?!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Belize Blog

Well, here I go:

The trip didn't go as planned on the way there or back, but here I am, living to write about it, so it ended up just dandy. So left Xela for Antigua early Thursday by chicken bus, got to our hostel in Antigua, which was blaring with American music, filled with drunks on hammocks...no wonder we couldn't find the place to check in right away cause the bar was the lobby. Got checked in and put our stuff in our bunks, we stayed in a 6 bed room, with the bathroom down the hall. Right when we walked into our room Jill and I almost died seeing the hottest guy we've seen yet in this country without good looking men. Yum. Anyway, as soon as he left the room Jill and I looked at eachother with equally firey eyes, this guy was delicious. Anyway, the other roommates came in, hammered, and immediatley jumped into bed with Jill! No holds barred. It was actually pretty funny. Anyway, they were annoying afterall and all we wanted to do was stare and take pictures of Max, from German, or maybe he's from Austria, we never really found out. So, we left and had a great dinner, took a stroll and found max on the street, then to a bar for a couple drinks...that was it for the night, until we came back to the hostel, sober, and ended up having a massage line of 10 people! AND they were great at massaging! It was pretty funny, Americans, Germans, Israelis, others, just sitting in a line massaging eachother in the hallway of a hostel, pretty random but great. Jill and I went to bed shortly after. We had planned on climbing the volcano Pacaya the next morning but when we went to sign up they said it was too late...so there went that idea, first thing we wanted to do, shot cause we got to Antigua too late. The next day we had to get up to catch the 1130 bus to Rio Dulce but the front desk lady said the bus would be there at 1230...so we had an hour to shop. Shuttle came and got us, we left for Guatemala City and got dropped off at the other bus station to catch a charter bus thing like grayhound, which come to find, the bus to Rio Dulce had already left, which we would've made if the bus came at 1130 like we signed up and paid for...so we had to take it to Puerto Barrios instead. This completely screwed up our Rio Dulce/Livingston trip...plan was to go from Rio Dulce to Livingston by boat and see the jungle and waterfalls and birds and stuff...nope. This bus ride to Puerto Barrios was hell. 6 hours sitting in the very back next to the bathroom on top of the engine so hot air was blowing on us the whole time. I'm sure people were wondering why these white girls kept stripping off their clothes and were sweating to all hell. It was kind odd to be the only foreigners on this bus...like, what are THEY doing here. It was a long bus ride. Saw a lot of the countryside though. Anyway after some of the people got off the bus we switched seats, and that's when we realized we looked really weird sweating so much in our seats cause just the seats next to us were almost cold...so we got to puerto barrios, sweating from the bus, stepping out into the ever more humid heat to what looked pretty sketchy. Like, not a tourist place. So we opened the good ol' travel guide for Puerto Barrios and found the only hotel with air conditioning. Took a taxi there, fine. Got there, no one around really but the front desk guy and the waitress for the hotel, asked for a room with a/c, none, he said there werent any, all full. Like, wtf, there was no one around and it wasn't that late in the evening. So we went to the room they gave us with 2 fans...come to find a giant fucking infestation of ants or something that looked like ants, crawling from one corner of the room all along the bathroom wall, to the outside world...great! Jill in the meantime couldn't even function because it was so hot...it was miserable there. I took a cold shower and immediatley after I got out of the shower I was sweating again. It was weird hot. We decided that it wasn't going to work out. Also, every now and then people would walk by our window and knock on it and say shit...sketchville. I decided to go tell them we were leaving, right when someone knocked on the window, and I left and went to the lobby just as a man walked in...I'm pretty sure it was the man who knocked on our window, so creepy! Anyway, I told the guy it was too hot and we were going to leave, and he was like, oh we have a room with a/c! SO we moved rooms but we kept trying to ask why he lied and why he said in the first place that there weren't any rooms but he would answer in spanish so fast that he knew we wouldn't be able to understand, so it worked and we quit asking. Lived through the night and walked to the dock to catch the ferry to Livingston...which we ended up chartering our own boat for 250Q cause otherwise we'd waste half the day waiting for the other ferry to fill up and we wanted to get to Livingston to do something we wanted to do. Got to Livingston, dieing of heat, checked out a few hotels, without a/c, once again, not possible to sleep here without a/c, so some garifuna took us to a new "resort" with a/c. Paid 432Q for that one, the hotels on this trip ended up being more expensive than we wanted, didn't realize the coast would be unbearably hot and sketchy. Finally got to relax a little after we decided to get online and book a flight from Punta Gorda to San Pedro cause we were not going to do busses again and we realized that we couldn't get to Belize in time if we took a bus. Bought that, ahh relief. Walked around a bit, and decided to get some lunch. During lunch this old garifuna man comes up to our table and starts talking to us about Austin and Boulder and how he went on tour in the states with his band...ended up sitting down with us, kinda weird at first, but he was really nice. He mentioned that he had a boat, and we mentioned we needed a ride back to Puerto Barrios in the morning to catch the ferry to Punta Gorda...and he said he could pick us up and take us for 250Q if we wanted...GREAT DEAL...but then he said he needed gas so we'd have to pay him ahead of time 50Q cause he couldn't get gas the next morning...do we put our faith in humanity? or do we put it in being fucked over cause we're pretty little blonde foreigners? We put our faith in humanity, and at 7am the next morning, he pulled up in his boat to our hotel's dock, as promised. It was a great feeling. If he wouldn't have been there I probably would never do that again. So anyway, that day in Livingston we walked down the main street to the ocean and held a parrot, talked to this weird little girl, I tried to convince Jill to swim to this island statue with me and that didn't work...had some beers on our hotel's dock, bought some stuff, took a nap on the beach, swam in the neighboring hotel's pool...then dinner at this restaurant that was recommended in the travel guide...got a whole fish on my plate that night, eyes and bones and all. It was good but just weird. While we were waiting for our food this guy comes up to us and says he say us earlier in the day and that we need to remember peoples faces more, just in case, and got mad when we laughed cause he said he remembers faces cause he was in the army...just didn't make sense to us, he totally freaked us out, like telling us we need to memorize peoples faces just in case and he replayed how we walked and where we went and that I looked at him and wtf, so Jill and I didn't go out that night...we stayed at home, decorating the wrapping paper for Em's gift. Actually we went to the neighboring hotel who had live garifuna music and listened to that and had the local popular drink, Coco Loco, which was delicious. Read and bed time. Got up, took a beautiful peaceful ride to Puerto Barrios, and waiting for a 1.5 hours for the ferry to leave for Punta Gorda. During this 1.5 hours we had 15 people come up to us and ask to take a picture with us! Eventually Jill got annoyed of it so I just stood there with Guatemalans taking random pictures...so funny! I think this is about when we started feeling like celebrities. Slept on the ferry to punta gorda..with my head propped on my life vest...very uncomfortable. Got there and walked to the airport...hahahaha, what a joke. It was a building, they didn't ask for our names, and I climbed into the co-pilot seat, soooo excited. It's a weird feeling that comes over me when I get up there. I instantly want to take off, fly, and especially land that bitch. Ha. The pilot was great, good ol' Jerald from San Pedro. He put the intercom on so I could hear the traffic. But in all reality I couldn't hear shit cause it was too loud. He said he would've let me fly if there weren't passengers...sad. We did a stop in Placencia then on to Belize City and then finally San Pedro!!! Landed in San Pedro and got into the taxi which would take us to the dock where we were to catch our boat to the resort. We were sooo excited to see Em and Michelle cause they were supposed to already have been there for 2 days, but the taxi was like, are you Michelle, we're like no, they're already there and he said no they weren't!!! We were soooo sad! Turns out because of Ike, they couldn't leave Saturday or Sunday and didn't get there until Monday afternoon! So we had another day to kill before seeing our girlies. Hoped on the ferry, got to our what seemed abandoned resort (low season for tourists), and went to our kick ass condo. 2 big rooms and huge windows, 2 bathrooms, big kitchen and bar, the best view of all the condos at the resort! Once we got off the boat they immediately brought us 2 fruity beverages! It was heaven at last. Though we didn't do much that day but had lunch and a few cocktails, made a huge happy birthday sign for Em and blew up and hung balloons and hung out in the condo and went to bed early...not too eventful, we were sad. Next day figured they're be there around 5 or 7, so we hung out by the pool and read, got some rays, had some drinks, showered and got pretty for their arrival! Hung around the dock taking silly pics until finally, bliss, they arrived! Costa Maya staff was awesome too, and bored I'm sure, cause they printed happy birthday signs, 10 of them, and colored them and blew up balloons and hung them everywhere, Em was in for such a surprise! They left the balloons up the whole time too! We were all so excited to see eachother we all teared up, it was great! (I'm so bored of blogging and I'm sure I've gone into too much detail)