Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Comida Tipica (Typical Food)

Here I am eating a typical Guatemalan lunch.

I've got guacamole (avocado "salad"), rice with tomato salsa (a little spicy), fried cauliflower, and tortillas.

In most meals, we usually eat beans too. The most popular beans are black beans, and they are cooked two ways: refried and boiled. The refried beans are first boiled, then they are mashed up to create a thick paste.

We eat this black bean paste by itself, and also put it on tortillas and bread.

My favorite Guatemalan food is chili sauce-- its quite spicy but it tastes great! I put it on everything.

Whenever we finish a meal, we always say, "buen provecho". This means "good meal" and is a way to thank the cook and express happiness with the meal.

Of course, in English we just say, "Yummy!"

Monday, November 12, 2007

Lago Atitlan

Last weekend I went to Lago Atitlan ("lago" means lake). Lago Atitlan is a huge, beautiful lake in the mountains of Guatemala. It was created when a giant volcano exploded. After the explosion there was a huge crater (hole) left behind.

Water filled the crater and created Lago Atitlan. That's why Atitlan is called a "crater lake".

Now Lago Atitlan is a popular vacation spot. There are many small towns and villages around the lake. I took a boat to a small village called "San Marcos". I stayed in a small guest house called La Paz. It was in the jungle and was surrounded by banana trees, papaya trees, flowers, and lots of other plants.

Because its in the mountains, the weather was not hot.

The only bad thing that happened was that a thief stole a cell phone from my room! I was staying with three other people, and the thief opened the door and took the phone from a bag. Luckily it wasn't my bag!

Somebody woke up and the thief ran away.

Other than that, everything was very nice and I enjoyed walking around the lake.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Spanish School

Hola (hello)! I have been going to Spanish school for one week and its fun. I am learning a lot of new words. For example:

escuela (school)
comida (food)
mi nombre es (my name is)

Everyday I go to school at 8am. I learn Spanish for 5 hours each day. There is a lot to learn!

But I am a good student. I always listen to the teacher and I do my homework every night. I really love Spanish!

Adios (goodbye).....

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Day of the Dead

I visited the Xela cemetery on the Day of the Dead (November 1st). The cemetery was different than most American cemeteries. In the front, there were many tombs. These were similar to the tombs you see in New Orleans. Families rent the tombs, and if they don't pay the rent, their ancestors body is removed and cremated-- and the tomb is rented to someone else! The tombs are used by the richer families in the town.

In the back section is a large hill covered with regular dirt graves with headstones. These are similar to American graves, such as the cemetery in Franklin. Families pay only one time for these, so the regular people use this section.

On the Day of the Dead, many families visit the cemetery. They clean the tombs and graves of their dead family members. They put bright flowers on their graves.

Also, many families have picnics next to the tombs of their ancestors. They eat, play music, and chat. It was like a big party. Many children were flying kites.

Many women were dressed in colorful dresses. Though we were all in a cemetery, it seemed like a happy day.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Central Xela

Here I am in downtown Xela. Behind me you can see the central church. It is a catholic church-- most of Guatemala is catholic.

The church is located in the central park area of the town, which is called "Parque Central" in Spanish. On weekends, lots of people relax in the central park. Ice cream sellers walk around the park, pushing small coolers. People sit and talk, have picnics, and visit nearby markets.

Though Guatemala is south of Mexico, Xela isn't hot because its in the mountains. The town is surrounded by volcanoes (luckily, they aren't active)! The temperature is warm during the day, and cool at night. Its perfect.

Today I'm going to eat some ice cream and walk around the markets.

Flying to Guatemala

Hi everyone. In the picture above, I am flying in an airplane to Guatemala! This is my first time to leave America and I am excited.

As you can see, I got a window seat. I like to look out the window as we fly.

The trip to Guatemala is very long. First we go to San Salvador, in El Salvador. Then we change planes and fly to Guatemala City. I am going to a place called "Quetzaltenango, Guatemala". This town is the second biggest in Guatemala. The local people call it "Xela" (pronounced Shay-la). So after arrival in Guatemala City, I will take a bus 4 hours to get to Xela.

I am going to Xela to study Spanish for two weeks. I will go to a Spanish school everyday for five hours. Maybe I can teach you a few words in Spanish!