Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Can I haz another vacation day?

After blabbing away about how excited I was to go to the beach last weekend, my father mentioned that he had been under the impression that I was doing volunteer work in Guatemala. “Duh, I am Dad but that’s on the weekdays,” was my quick retort. For me, one of the best parts about living and working in another country for a year is the opportunity to travel around and explore this new area. We actually end up traveling on a day-to-day basis. Chaquijyá is about 40 minutes from our house in Sololá, and Panajachel, where we go to hangout, workout and use fast internet is another 20 minutes in the opposite direction. Beyond the day to day traveling, we make good use of our weekends, especially if they are long ones! I started by exploring the different lake towns, each one having its own particular feel. San Pedro, for example, is the cool hippy town and Santa Cruz is known for its great hostel and scuba diving options. 

For Halloween and Día de Los Muertos we had several days off, so we decided to pack in as many different stops as possible. First we went to Guatemala City to see Pitbull in concert and then onto Antigua to dress up and celebrate Halloween with friends. Since we had a couple more days we decided to visit San Cristobal, Mexico as well.

 After a 5 AM wake up call in Antigua and 11 hours of traveling, we made it to Mexico. Luckily we are all pretty good travelers. I go with earplugs, but Cameron has upped the ante with his earplugs/eye-mask combo. I know what I want for Christmas, hint hint. But then there's the issue of packing. Having done no research ahead of time, I was surprised to find that San Cristobal was freezing this time of year. My sundress remained crumpled in my backpack as I unsuccessfully attempted to layer a pair of jeans over my leggings. 

Our most recent excursion was a Thanksgiving trip to the beach. Having learned a lesson in Mexico, I researched this beach thoroughly and after convincing myself that this destination was in fact warm I loaded up the sundresses again. Tilapita, Guatemala is very warm. It’s also quite remote. Once we reached Tilapa we took small wooden boats over to Tilapita where our rental house was. Our beautiful house was right on the beach and besides a few local fishermen we were the only ones around. We swam and tried not to drown in the big waves (success!) and played football on the beach at sunset. Walking on the beach at night was especially beautiful. With so few lights around, the stars were brilliant and the ocean glowed with fluorescent plankton. 

It's about to be Christmas and time to travel home for three weeks, but I’m already looking forward to the Manna retreat to Semuc Champey that we will take once we return in January. And while I have not decided exactly what I’ll be teaching once we’re back in school I have been daydreaming about how many places I can visit during Semana Santa, a week-long vacation in April! 


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