A Travellerspoint blog

Random Thoughts About Travel & Guatemala - A post by Dennis

Food, stepping stones, firecrackers and basketball

sunny 23 °C

It has been close to a week in Guatemala and we are starting to get into our rhythm. As you can see from our blog title Latitude to Gratitude, this trip has an element of personal growth, self-exploration and generally trying to be more present. In light of this I have been trying to take more time to think about what is happening around me. Today I present four random thoughts from traveling with the Zims in Guatemala.

A 16 Year-old is Always on the Search for Protein. It is impossible to keep a 16 year old from eating. Forget the travel budget, his sole purpose throughout the day is to find ways to consume as much food as possible. This has often meant Hillarie and I split a meal to have the budget for this growing boy. BTW - Max exercises restraint.

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Colonial Towns are Tough on Ankles.
With Hillarie's ankle still on the mend, uneven surfaces are often a challenge. Lets just say that engineering and building standards are a bit different here, therefore, her every step results in a wince or a whimper.

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Firecrackers Scare Tourists. Not sure if it is to celebrate something biblical, to scare tourists or a general sick fascination with firecrackers, the Guatemalans set them off...at all times, anywhere, and by anyone. There is a part of me that thinks they wait until unsuspecting tourists walk by and they nonchalantly set them off. We've jumped for cover a few times.

We are Huge in Guatemala. Max was desperate to play sports while away so he packed two baseball gloves and a ball as his luxury item for the trip. With nothing but carry on for us, this was a real investment of space. He's been out of socks and underwear for a few days but thank heavens he's got his baseball gloves. We've made a deal that one hour of spanish lessons for Max and I are good enough (Hill and Zach are doing 2 hours). With our remaining hour we play baseball and have since purchased a cheap basketball (also won't fit on carry on). Basketball does not seem to be that popular here, most likely due to the fact that the average Guatemalan is very short. We are huge here so carrying around a basketball through town seems fitting.

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Posted by fishonyukon 19:23 Archived in Guatemala Comments (1)

Following Along - A post by Hillarie

Experiencing a religious procession in Antigua

overcast 20 °C

Yesterday felt different. From the early hours of the morning we heard fire crackers going off and the streets seemed especially busy. There was an excitement in the air that seemed to increase as the evening approached.

By the time we were ready to turn in for the night, there were people lining the streets. Grandparents, children, mothers, fathers. All were waiting. And throughout the evening, beautiful "carpets" started to appear on some of the city streets. They were made from pine needles and flowers.

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We needed to find out what was happening. The mystery deepened when we started to hear the marching band! What was going on?

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What followed was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. It was a traditional Guatemalan religious procession. The procession combines the traditions of Spanish Catholics from the 1500s with ancient Mayan traditions. Historically, the processions were a form of Catholic education to explain the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection, along with a chance to repent by walking in the processions. What I particularly enjoyed about the night was the combination of Guatemalan tourists from all corners of the country standing side-by-side with international tourists. The streets were filled with energy.

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When we woke up this morning everything was back to normal. The street carpets were no longer there. No one was wearing robes or black pointy hats. I don't fully understand what happened last night. No one I spoke to really had a good explanation. Semena Santa is still a couple of months away. Oh well. It is these types of experiences that make travel so wonderful. A window into another culture. An unexpected event. Something out of the ordinary.

Posted by fishonyukon 18:50 Archived in Guatemala Comments (0)

Blast to the Past - Post by Max

Walking through the ages

semi-overcast 20 °C

We decided to learn a little history about Antigua to get a deeper understanding of the land in which we lay our foot in. What better way of doing this than a little walk through the city visiting all the ruins, old churches, covenants, and cathedrals.

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We read through our book of Guatemala about every landmark and learned all of the history behind each and every one. This tour took us to new parts of Antigua which we had not yet discovered. It was much quieter and less crowded, which was well needed after being in the heart of Antigua before.

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Our walk brought us up a paved path up the side of a hill which brought us to a gorgeous view of the town. We could see for miles including the huge volcano neighboring the town. We got a better view of the size of the town that we were staying in.

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I think that today was a success. We got a deeper understanding and appreciation of the town we are staying in. Plus we had our most active day yet with 21,355 steps (as recorded on my FitBit)!

Posted by fishonyukon 19:28 Archived in Guatemala Comments (1)

Hola Guatemala!

Systems in check and the Zim's are ready to roll

semi-overcast 20 °C

This six month journey has been a long time in the making. The dates were bookends put in place nearly four years ago and fiercely defended. There are so many reasons why one should not go; but having this kind of time with the boys at this age is a no brainer. With nothing but carry-on we had to work our little travel systems out and get our travel legs in check. After misplacing a wallet in Vancouver (quickly recovered), scrambling with passports and boarding cards, and fidgeting with all the electronic cords, tethers, and dongles...our head is getting into the travel routine.
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After a few days of last minute box-ticking in Vancouver we took off through Los Angeles. A seven hour layover at LAX and an overnight flight to Guatemala was generally pleasurable but left us fairly wasted. After a one hour van ride to Antigua we arrived at our cute little hostel for a couple hour snooze to get the team functioning again.
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Orienting ourselves in Antigua through a long walk was the best thing we could do. The sights, sounds, and smells have put us right back into a Latino mindset. Hustle of the street, mazes of markets, buses and put-puts, colonial architecture, and the street food are similar to that of what we experienced and loved in Ecuador a few years ago. We've done well in a day with much more to come.

Posted by fishonyukon 14:45 Archived in Guatemala Comments (1)

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