La Cumbra

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

DAY 26
PACAYA

Hey All

Just a quick update with a few photos. Things are going well so far. My Spanish is improving slowly and I'm now able to speak to my teacher Alex without using English (more or less!!!).

The weather over here is crazy at the moment and I think that the rainy season is starting a month early!

I visited and climbed the active Volcano Pacaya last Saturday. It was an interesting experience to say the least. There are two tours a day (6am and 2pm) from Antigua (1.5 hours by bus). I chose the 2pm tour. Bad Idea!! Going up was grand but coming down, not so grand!! Have a look at the photos below. There was no health and safety of any kind to speak of and on our decent, the heavens opened up on us. It was pitch dark and we had 3 torches between 12.

All that said it was an amazing experience but if anyone ever tells you they're going to climb Pacaya, tell them to opt for the 6am tour! A guide and a tourist were killed the day after I was there!! Scary stuff.



BLOW HOLE, PACAYA STYLE ( WOOD BURNING OVER IT)


GOING UP!



SCARY!!
THE CARAVAN


HEALTH AND SAFETY?

MAGMA!

ANOTHER BLOW HOLE (VENT)



LORD OF THE RINGS!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Summary of my first two weeks here

Im not up for writing much at the moment so heres a little compilation i put together for you all. Hope you enjoy! If your intersted the backing track is from a Guatemalan band called "Bohemia suburbana" and is called "los sueños de tansú". Great tune

video

O.K well maybe I should write a bit. First two weeks have been interesting to say the least. I am as you already know currently studying Spanish 4 hours a day for 4 weeks. Its not easy by any means so all those of you who told me spanish was an easy subject to learn, baaaaaa, I understand now that yee didn’t have a clue yourselves ;-)
Though in saying that, I think im slowely getting there.

I arrived in Guatemala during Samana Santa (basically a very holy week in Guatemala), in which the locals come out on the streets in big numbers to celebrate/morn the crucifixion of Christ. If you look at my first movie attempt above you´ll see examples of Processions held in Santa Tomas (where I currently live with my host Family the Liche´s) and in the city Antigua. The Procession itself is an enormous wooden creation that must weigh a serious amount and is carried by the locals through the streets. You will also see many examples of very decorative saw dust carpets (Alfombras). The people actually used the insides of a specific plant, then lay this "sawdust" on the ground and then place the color. It is very skillfully done as you can see from the videos and photos but during the Procession all the Alfrombras are all destroyed by the crowds!!

My daily routine for the first 4 weeks is as follows

7.30am Breakfast and 30min walk to Santa Lucia for School!!

8.30am to 12.30 Spanish Classes

12.30 to 1pm Lunch

1.00 to 2.00 Lucky to get use of the schools computer and internet(this will end in just over a week though!!)

2.00 to 5.00pm I work on a local project down the road. Its the construction of a school building for 150 kids. I will have more photos and vids of this in the coming days. The building materials and construction are funded entirely by donations and I think they´ll be needing more cash soon.

5.00 to 10.00 Walk home, wash, eat me din dins (the food is very good in the host family im with at the mo), study!!!! and then go to bed. Its weird that it might sound early but I have no trouble sleeping. I think that trying to adjust to the new language is very tiring.

As you can also see from the video above, I visited a school in Tactic. The school itself is one of the better ones in Guatemala but the toilets (if you can call then that) are not fit for dogs. I am currently in discussions with local builders and am trying to get an approximate price for separate boys and girls toilets. I will be providing all the details including plan drawings and costs of the proposed Toilets and photos of the originals. I am hoping, with the help of some of you, to raise the funds required to build the new ones. Again all details to follow.

Well that’s about it. I have another week and a half of Spanish lessons and construction work on the school down the road and then I’m off to Chiantla for my permanent placement.

Thanks for reading and please try and circulate this blog to everyone you know. The more people whop subscribe to it the better. It only takes a few seconds and its free!!

Adios for now