Thursday, November 30, 2006

Tarea Español - Spanish homework

It´s like being back at school. Here´s my latest opus:

Adventuras de Chris el Crocodilo - Chris tiene hambre

Una dia Chris el crocodilo pienso:
-tengo hambre. Quiero comer alog-
Chris el crocodilo vivó en un zoologica por eso el estuvo en un jaula con altos muros.
-tengo muy hambre. Voy a comer este tarde-
En este momento, un chico apareció.
-Hola senor crocodilo- dijo -¿Como estas hoy?-
-tengo muy hambre. ¿Puedes me traer unas comida por favor?-
-si tengo un gran jamón aqui! ¿te gusta jamón?-
-si much gusta!-
El chico intendó dar jamón a Chris pero no lo cupo entre las rejas.
-subes a muro y as me lo- djo Chris
Entonces el chico subió el muro y bajó en el jaulo.
Chris comió el jamón y tambien el chico!
-ahora no tengo hambre- dijo Chris -voy a comer un otro chico mañana-
Ahora Chris estas gordo!


Estoy poco enfermo

Well, it was bound to happen, stick a lot of people from all over the world on an aeroplane for 10 hours, everyone at school is coming down with something.

I have a sore throat and feel like crap. I have explained to my teacher the concept of "man flu". So far not much sympathy....

This weekend I think we are all going to go to the beach. Hopefully sun sand and see will fix me up!

Spanish is progressing well, I think in a few weeks time I might actually be able to hold a conversation that lasts more than 30 seconds.

Oh, and yesterday, just after finishing a conversation with Rob telling him how fantastic the weather was, it chucked it down.

Today is bright and sunny again though, so the world is good!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

1st week completed

Not much to report today. Settling into life in Antigua. Spanish is progressing, but definitely not getting enough practice.

New accommodation is good, but the bed is a little bit uncomfortable and the springs make a rather alarming noise if you move around too much.

6am is my wake up call when the bells of the local church start their half hourly routine.

Tonight I think I'll probably catch a film and a couple of beers.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Lunes 27 Noviembre

Up bright an early again, had to pack my bags, today I moved into "homestay" with the school. I now have a new family. Friendly bunch of people haven´t quite worked out who everyone is yet, but it´s good for practicing the old español.

Spent the morning in school and the afternoon took a leasurely stroll up to a local landmark (who´s name I now forget, I´ll add it tomorrow).

Great view back across town to the volcano. Keep forgetting that Antigua has been destroyed several times by earthquakes. It´s only a matter of time before one of these "inactive" volcanos gets a bit excitable and takes the town out again.

Couple of beers in the afternoon watching the sun go down and then home for dinner with the family. Got some Spanish homework to do, more verbs to learn and more grammer. Early night tonight, need a bit of rest.

Fin de Semana - Domingo

Early start today. Up at 6am to catch the bus to Chichacastananga (almost impossible to pronounce unless you sing it to the sound of the cucharacha song).

There is a famous market on Sundays that apparently is a must see. I´m not great fan of shopping, but what can you do....

The mmarket was not too bad, bumped into a couple of friends from earlier in the week which was nice and we stopped for a beer at lunch time, so all in all it was a pretty good day. Managed to buy myself a new hat - lost the previous one somewhere, possible up on the volcano. So my old hat probably suffered a horrible burning death. New hat is very good.

There were a few interesting sights in the town, the graveyard was pretty colourful, though I´m not sure I´d want to burried under something that looks like a portable toilet.

Strange going ons at the local church, not sure what the smoke was about.

Here is an example of someone playing atypical Guatemalan music. Patrick More would be in heaven here!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Fin de Semana - Sabado

Excellent weekend! Saturday afternoon we took a trip to the active volcano Payaca. We got collected in a minibus and then drove around various bits of town picking up other intrepid explorers before heading off on a couple of hours drive to the other side of Guatemala city.

On arrival we followed the excellent directions up the mountain side on quite a long slog - maybe an hour and a half. Which took us up through the treeline and up to the lava flows.

Some spectacular view were to be had on the way back from the way we had come. There were also some very friendly chaps following us all the way up on horses. Whenever one of the party fell towards the back of the group and started to lag behind they would be chivied up by these laughing fellows offering them a "taxi" ride to the top of the trail.

Once through the treeline we had to cross over the previous lava flows. The rocks are actually quite hot and every so often there is chasm that belches a strong smell of sulfer and you can feel a strong draft of heat coming up. There are stories of people's shoes melting as they cross this area!

Finally as the sun was setting we caught sight of the lava flow! It was actually flowing very fast with flaming rocks tumbling down and small fires popping up on it's surface.

Then as the sun was finally setting we started back down the volcano. Recrossing the lava field was fun in the dark. The rocks are very unstable and sound like they are hollow as you walk on them - doesn't inspire a great deal of confidence! Luckily the old head torch came in handy, so thankfully there was no horse poo on the shoes when we finally made it back to the minibus. Then it was back to Antigua for some food and collapse into bed.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

First hangover of the trip.

Oops. Friday night beers turned into a bit of a session. Went to Riley's bar with one of the girls in the hostel for a couple of beers and ended up staying there all night knocking back gin and tonics.

Got talking with the owner of the bar, a Welsh guy who has married a Guatemalan and moved here. Says the only thing he misses about Wales is the rugby, but they are getting satellite TV soon anyway so it doesn't matter.

Went to an afterparty when the bar closed and stayed up until 4am chatting with some people from Guatemala city. Crazy fellows.

This afternoon we're walking up an active volcano. Think I had better get some rest.


I've finally tracked down the elusive supermarket. People have been to it, but only when they've been lost completely lost. Found someone this morning who actually knew where it was, but they could only find it by starting from their hostel and counting blocks turning left and right.

Thankfully it turns out that it just round the corner from where I am staying. It's an Aladin's cave crossed with the tardis. So many things piled so high. Marvelous!

Second class of Spanish this morning. Atually managed a short onversation with the cleaning lady this afternoon. Maybe this Spanish stuff is not so hard after all...

Tomorrow I'm going on a walk up an ative volcano! Hopefully get some pictures of some lava and not get cooked alive.

Sorry about the spelling on this entry. The website is stuck in espanol and there's not spell checker.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

First day of language school

What fun. 4 weeks of this and I'll be completely insane.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Exploring Antigua

So, how many times can you get lost in a town that is only a couple of square miles in size?

Turns out that in the space of a couple of hours you can get lost quite a few times. It doesn't help that there are no street signs anywhere.

Luckily this is easily solved by finding a local and saying "donde estamos?" - I'm hoping this means "where are we?". But in all honesty it could mean anything...

Despite this I managed to find myself a nice breakfast, checked out several language schools and have signed up for some lessons tomorrow with a view to signing up for 4 weeks staying with a local family. The lady who signed me up seemed to be very proud of the fact that lessons start at 8am - seemed to think that this was some kind of good thing. What a weirdo.

Now it's time to find some lunch and maybe a bookshop. This afternoon looks like it could be spent chilling out in the garden. Tonight I must find a beer.

Weather is great, though it does get very cold at night. I'm glad I've got my coat from London. It's very hot today though and nice and sunny.

I have to start slowing down a bit as well I'm suffering from a similar problem to Mark, have not yet got my holiday pace, still stuck on London rushing around.

Will get some photos up soon. Just need to find where I packed my camera, it's cable, the charger etc...

This morning's top tip:

  • "una via" is not the name of the street. The locals will laugh at you if you think it is.

I'm in Anitgua, Guatemala

Got in last night and shared a minibus with a bunch of middle aged Spanish ladies. Not quite the start I was hoping for....

Up bright and early this morning. Successfully avoided getting electrified on the shower this morning which was good.

Now I need to find some breakfast and check in to a slightly more lively hostel. This place is nice for the first night's sleep but it's not got much of an atmosphere.

Today I will start to explore the town and look for a good spanish school. Apparently there might be one just down the road, this could be quite an easy day!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Good God, it's a bit early in the morning!

Completely shattered. The past few days have been a little bit hectic.

Packed everything up in the flat and moved it all to my parents loft (not fun). Moved the last bits and pieces out yesterday.

Left the flat in a bit of a mess, but the management agency is going to get some cleaners in to today the place up - hopefully they'll also get some tenants in!

Packed the backpack last night, think I'll lose some stuff when I get there, it's far too heavy.

Up this morning at 4:45am. Nice cup of coffee from mother, quick shower and a shave then jumped in a taxi to the airport. Spent the last hour surrounded by lots of people wearing suits talking about the important meetings they are attending today. Thank goodness I'm done with all that nonsense.

Next stop is Madrid for an hour or so, then the long haul flight over the Guatemala City. From there I'm heading straight to Antigua. I've emailed a hostel there, no reply yet, who knows if I've got any accommodation booked. I guess this is all part of the adventure...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Almost finished packing the flat away

bedroom done, spare room done, hopefully the first load of boxes will disappear tomorrow. my back is already hurting from lifting them.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

test post from my new phone

I can blog on the move now!

[edit] Sadly I didn't count on the fact that T-Mobile seems to have rubbish partners when it comes to roaming. No data services and no SMS messages coming through to me. It's a miracle that people can actually call me at all!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Last injections done

Finally finished. Arms are about to drop off.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Finished the bathroom!

Bathroom is complete! Kitchen floor is down. All I need now is someone to rent the flat out. Still to do:
  • Sort out the house insurance - current insurers don't like rented out flats
  • Travel insurance
  • Finish the kitchen
  • Get the place rented out!
  • Start packing
  • etc...
Friday last week was the great fireworks party - no casulaties apart from a variety of people who had a bit too much to drink and couldn't get home.

Tomorrow I get the last set of injections!