- Found my passport (for real this time). One night I left my computer cord at The Palapa and ran up there kind of late. When I was leaving Kyle Jacks (dude who put up the flyers about my passport) called me and said he was actually hanging out at The Palapa and had my passport and drivers license with him. I got the Tuk Tuk to turn around and stopped to grab my passport. Apparently he just typed the wrong email on the flyer.
- My upstairs neighbors directed and acted in a play in town that was made up of a group of retired tourist from the States. It was probably one of the funniest things I have seen in awhile. Heather and I kept looking at each other and saying "Thank God you're here because I would have no idea how to explain this to you".
- I made homemade falafels. I was really proud of myself for figuring out how to make them!
- The whole house smelled horrible for hours, so I'll never make homemade falafels again.
- 2 of our volunteers Cheryl and Jim went to Mexico to renew their visas, so I got to puppy sit their 2 ADORABLE puppies! They are both incredibly little and I loved taking them down to the lake several days in a row. The smallest one is too little to walk around town, so he had to be carried in a purse.
- Cheryl and Jim announced that they are actually leaving Salud y Paz and moving to Honduras to start a clinic there. I had been getting really close to both of them lately, so it was really hard to hear that they were leaving. Today at work we had a meeting to figure out what them leaving looked like for the clinic. I don't think anyone realized how much they both did until that meeting. I am going to miss having them around, but am looking forward to visiting them in Honduras!
- I also spent 5 days in Xela last week celebrating Semana Santa (Holy Week). Here are about 50 of my favorite pictures from the week. Know that even though that is a lot of pictures I could have easily added about 100 more.
On Wednesday I took a chicken bus to Xela by myself. It actually was a pretty easy bus ride which I was a little worried about because you sometimes hear about scary things happening on chicken buses. The embassy sent out a warning stating that Americans are not suppose to ride them anymore. However, it is pretty much the only way to travel around Guatemala unless you want to spend money on shuttles, so I still take them pretty often.
When I got to Xela the bus let me off at the big bus terminal and Heather and Jose came and picked me up in Jose's car. Xela is the 2nd biggest city in Guatemala and it is where another one of our clinics is located. A lot of our Guatemalan staff live in Xela and it is where Guatemala Tours (company that we get all of our translators and drivers from) is located.
Wednesday night we went downtown to the central park in Xela and hung out with friends. I met a couple of drivers that I hadn't worked with before and some of Jose's family. It was fun to be back in a city and actually go to a restaurant that looked like it could be in Texas. Pana is so small and touristy that I really loved being back in a city for awhile.
Thursday morning we drove for about an hour to get to Las Fuentes Georginas which are natural hot springs outside of Xela. The sulfer smell reminded me so much of the hot springs I go to every summer in Pagosa Springs. Actually driving around Guatemala often reminds me of Colorado. It gives me a comforted homey feeling that I love. This waterfall was beautiful and flowed into the hottest of the springs.
Mayan Alter. There were probably about 15 of these set up around the lake.
Heather and I decided that we were going to try to take as many roommate pictures as we could during the week... get excited.
These are the carpets that each church makes. Apparently there were fewer than previous years, but I thought the ones I saw were gorgeous. They are made out of sand and dried flowers.
Our guide thought I needed a picture with these orange and green berry things. He even positioned me this way after I tried to take a picture just standing next to the branch which he didn't like.
Sunday after lunch Heather and I headed back to Pana. The direct chicken bus from Xela to Pana wasn't at the terminal, so we had to take a different bus. We walked through the terminal trying to decide which bus could get us closest to Pana and while we walked around guys would grab your arm and try to force you to get on their bus (the more passengers the more money they make). We hopped on the back of one then was told there wasn't anymore room even though there was a seat open. We finally found a seat on one bus that would take us to Los Encuentros from which we would have to take 2 additional chicken buses to Pana.
We got on the bus and after awhile had to share the seat with 2 other girls (imagine the most crowded bus you have ever been on then add 150 more people and that is what a normal chicken bus looks like). When our stop was coming up I had to stand on top of our seat and try to get my bags down from the rack above while the bus was still driving around sharp curves, so I was falling everywhere. Then they stopped the bus for about 30 seconds and when we couldn't get out of our seat to either one of the doors in that time they started driving again. Heather started yelling in Spanish (she later told me she was yelling at people to move and for the driver to stop the bus) and we kept trying to push our way off the bus. We were in the middle of the bus and had to climb over everyone to get off the back of the bus. I was literally stepping on people's laps and climbing over seats to get off the bus. It slowed down a little, but not much when Heather and I jumped off the back of the bus. It was one of the scariest situations I have been in here. I told Heather that if she wasn't with me I probably would have ended up just going to Guatemala City.
We found the next 2 buses we needed to get home to Pana and decided when we got back to town to go to church. We got off the last bus right at 4 which is when Soloman's Porch starts, so we just walked in with our bags. It was a smaller crowd because so many people travel during Semana Santa, but it felt good to go to church on Easter.
So this blog just took me about 4 1/2 hours to write. Between uploading the pictures and writing everything down it takes a lot to write a blog. Sorry this one was so long. I'm using my blog as my personal journal, so even if I don't think it is really entertaining I still want to write it down to remember everything. Hope you all had a beautiful Easter!