February 5, 2006

Trip to Quiche

We just returned from a 4-day trip to the Quiche department of Guatemala, where we stayed in the village of Chicaman with two current Peace Corps volunteers (one of the other four married couples currently serving in Guatemala). The idea was for us to spend a bit of time getting to know how current volunteers live day to day.

Also, this was our first solo traveling experience without Peace Corps folks guiding us through the bus system. It was a long trip...3 hours to the capital of Quiche in a crowded "chicken bus" with a bus driver that got a huge grin every time he decided to pass another semi-truck around a blind corner and 100 km/hr. (People say these things are safe....) The next leg was supposed to be a 3 hour trip to the pueblo over a mostly rutted, mountainous dirt road; but it actually ended up being 2½ hours of a bus ride, 3½ hours of waiting for construction crews (part of which was their standard 2 hour lunch break), a half hour walk to speed up our passage through another construction zone, and eventually a ride in a vehicle from our new found friends on the other side.

The scenery and the culture were incredible. The pueblo was a Spanish speaking market town with 5 different Mayan Languages spoken in the surrounding "aldeas" (small communities surrounding the market towns.) We visited one of the incredible river valleys as well as the birthplace of Rigoberta Menchu, a Guatemalan-Nobel Peace Prize winner that has made a life out of fighting for the rights of indigenous people around the world.


Tashia Weisenburger said...

What no Huelgas! That's a vocabulary word for you to look up. One of my craziest memories from Guatemala involved this!

I myself am just now recovering from my two weeks in Mexico. I was thinking about you all as I toiled over my spanish classes (30 hours in 5 days!). Have you figured out por and para yet! Brent's wedding was great- I'll try to send you some photos and traveling on my own was fun as well. No chicken buses in Mexico, but I did share the seat next to me with a birthday cake at one point and spent a good hour riding standing up back to Vallodalid!

If you need some r&r and would like the names and contact numbers of my friends, please be sure to let me know- I know folks in Retalhuleu, Puerto Barrios area as well at Guat. City.

As for sickness, well I hope you made it through. I myself got a case of Montezuma's revenge on the night bus to cancun (while mexico's bus drivers aren't quite as crazy-spending 3 hours in a bus bathroom was NOT good!). I made it back to the states, and was sick here for two weeks after I caught a cold on top of the revenge. :( All I can say is that cipro is amazing. :)

Do you know where you are going to be sent yet? What types of ecotourism? I am so excited for you all!

Did you guys make it to the old monostary turned hotel in Antigua. If you haven't made it there, try to catch it as the sites are lovely-especially at night!

Corby & Kari Lewis said...

Right on Tashia. Por/Para, what's the difference really. We're trying to figure things out on the fly...

Tashia Weisenburger said...

well you see you can sound quite silly when using the wrong one- so said my language professor. I think maybe you need to be a native speaker to really get it. :)