July 23, 2012

Guatemala Continued-- The Coast

So I realize it's been almost 2 months since we got back from Guatemala. I have a really good reason for being so delayed... I promise... Anyway I've forgotten a lot, so this will be pretty short.

We drove down the very windy road all the way from Xela to Malacatan. Driving in Guatemala is a different experience. It is one of the most mentally draining things I've ever done. You will be driving down a 2 lane highway, through the mountains, dodging buses and trucks that are trying to pass someone in your lane, also dodging the people on the side of the road and sometimes walking or standing in the middle of the road selling goods, dodging potholes and speed bumps that are BLACK and of varying sizes that you can't see until you are right about to go over them ( A slight miracle our rental car came back in one piece, no?) and then you throw in rain like this:

That is what it looked like with the wipers on high. We were sure we would be involved in a serious accident and possibly not come back alive on many occasions. It didn't help that we had experiences like the scorpion and Jon's allergies.

We arrived though and stayed in a decent little hotel. It was honestly the nicest one around. What would be considered a dive in the States was our nicest hotel in the area. The real kicker for the hotel was that it had air conditioning. A huge plus when you are in a place that is near a 100 degrees and 100% humidity. We had a good time. Visited some of the families that Jon knew on his mission. The other nice thing about our hotel was that it had a little restaurant on site. It was one of the few places that Jon and I ate where we didn't end up with a serious case of what the missionaries down there refer to as boo. So we stayed there both nights because of the air conditioning and the great, sanitary cook. (TMI?)

We arrived in the evening that first day and ate dinner, found a little store where we bought a whole bunch of candy (Most of which is sitting in my cupboard as we speak) and laid low for the night. We had just come from the temple that morning. Jon gave me a car tour of Malacatan and we found the LDS chapel. It was one of the largest buildings in the city, so pretty hard to miss!

The next day we drove down to the beach, it was about a 45 minute drive. It was HOT, HOT, HOT, I have never been somewhere so hot in my life. It was a black sand beach so the water looked grey but when you got in the water it was so warm.

Look at us, aren't we hot:
I'm actually a little shocked we didn't get roasted there. It was melt your face off hot. (How many times can I say hot in one blog post? Don't worry more to come. There is just no way to adequately describe how hot it is, other than to say hot. If we were talking I would be saying hot with an emphasis.)

Here are some pictures of the beach. It was kind of dumpy, very third world, but beautiful in it's own way.

We ran into some missionaries there, walking the road, looking hot and miserable. We offered them a ride and they took us up on it. We were actually seeing if they had keys to a church building so we could use a sanitary toilet. Those are hard to come by when you are out in the middle of no where! So they helped us out and then had us drive them around for a bit. I don't know that they had anywhere to go really, but they were so grateful for our air conditioned car in the middle of day in Tecun Uman (sp?) You should just be impressed I've been able to spell everything else correctly so far! Actually one of the missionaries was stung by a scorpion while we were with them. I'm pretty sure the scorpions were all out to get me that trip. Needless to say I was a little freaked out.

We headed to Coatepeque after the beach and visited some of Jon's favorite people he taught there. We were glad we did, because their family is facing some serious trials right now and I think it meant a lot to them to see Elder Laudie and have someone care about what they were going through.

This is Lucy and her Dog. She sat on my foot and wouldn't let me leave when we tried to go. She also would switch between Jon and I having us scratch her ears. She loved to be loved! She was a great guard dog too. Every time someone came by the place she was on full alert until they were safely past and she knew her home was safe.
This is her daughter Wendy and some of her family. We were able to visit with them for awhile as well. Wendy met her husband, who was a member of the church, after Jon had baptized her. They are the upper class in this town and were living a happy life until he was diagnosed with cancer. The prognosis is a little bleak, but they are hopeful he will pull through.

Back in Malacatan we went through an outside market looking for goods to bring home and walked away with some clay serving dishes that I had seen and fallen in love with at one of the restaurants we ate at. Perfect for serving salsa and guacamole in a stylish way. I love them. We also walked away with a lot of other cool  souvenirs including a mask that Shayla refers to as the monster mask. She loves to put it on and roar at me. It was an interesting experience and I love so many of the souvenirs that we looked at. One thing I didn't love so much was dodging men carrying large slabs of raw meat on their backs. It was different than it is in the U.S. It was also blasted hot under the tents and Jon and I had to just get used to being sweaty the whole time we were there!

This was our only ride in a tuk-tuk during our trip. a little cab that is attached to a motorcycle looking thing. It was an experience!
Again we are so hot... I know I said this would be short. I lied. Oh well. I'm sure you're dying to hear about Tikal! After this we found our rental car (We took it to a mechanic to have him glue a plastic piece back on... darn speed bumps. I guess we almost made it back with it in one piece.) and drove back to the capital, Guatemala City, so that we could catch a plane the next day to Tikal. Oh the adventures!