It goes like this: remember how I said the previous night that we were all exhausted, I hadn't slept much the night before, and we had to be up at 6:00!?? Well, it turns out that I might have been caught within a time warp in Guatemala City because one second it was 5:20am, and the next it was 6:10am! After slowly realizing what time it really was, then hurriedly getting ready, and receiving a knock on the door at 6:30; "Jackie, where are you", I finally made it down to breakfast. I was greeted with, well, let me put it this way; do you remember that Seinfield episode where the marathon runner missed the marathon? Jerry and his friends argued over what they thought the reason was; "it must have been snooze alarm. No, it must have been the volume knob." I think Wayne guessed correctly in my case today. I certainly received a few jokes from the group throughout the day, and I imagine the rest of the week! I'll try to redeem myself tomorrow morning, but may be impossible at this point :(
Ok, so here's what you have really been waiting for; what was our first day like in Guatemala? I have to say it has been beautiful, overwhelming, and sad all at the same time. There is just so much to take in. We started by leaving the hotel and traveling through Guatemala city. Some of it didn't look any different than other countries; bridges, significant structures, paved roads, road signs, Mickey D's, and Burger King. While some of it looked completely different, guards with large guns on occassion, a check point with more guns, and a landscape that jumped back and forth between poverty, large shopping centers, and gated businesses, etc... I was most fascinated by the public bus system (no, we didn't attempt to ride any, Wayne drove us back in a Salud y Paz car.). You may have heard of the term "chicken buses". They were all over and looked a lot like school buses. Some of them were painted fancy, while others looked like they were about to fall apart. One bus was so full that people were hanging off the side, out of the door. Having had a Seattle bus pass by me before at a stop because it was too full, I was fascinated by the dedication of those doing whatever they could to get on the bus and also maybe by the seemingly uninforcement of fixing an unsafe condition. Also, I couldn't quite figure out how people knew which bus to get on or where to pick it up. It was a system definately well-used, but most stops didn't seem to have a marker of any kind and most of the buses weren't marked with a route or destination. Although, please keep in mind that this is all based on a very brief observation.
|The Famous "Chicken Buses"|
The school was wonderful. They children were amazing! They were so friendly and happy to see us. Several just came up to me and gave me a big hug and they were fascinated with the digital cameras. I can't wait to show you the pictures! Well, there is so much more to talk about and I haven't even started to talk about Panajachel, where we are now staying. Right on the large lake between several volcanoes, it is absolutely beautiful and I am just in awe of the city itself. It's nothing like I would even begin to see in the states and yet there is something so majestic about this more simplistic way of living. Time once again to go to sleep. Until next time...-Jackie