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"To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower; Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour." William Blake


Morning Mangroves

March 6th, 2009 by sunflowers

This morning I was up at five to watch the sunset from within the mangroves as the area I am staying in is actually an island separated from the mainland by 60 km of canal. I don’t think that the photos do the moment justice. Oh plus I saw fish that skip along the top of the water and have four eyes (two on top and two on the bottom).

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Posted in Guatamala | 1 Comment »


Assistant ComputerTeacher

March 4th, 2009 by sunflowers

Mike who comes down to spend the North American winters in Guatemala brought down five laptops and has set up an after school class and a German girl who is here for seven weeks is teaching the class. So this week I have been helping out as I have been playing around with the idea of retaining as a teacher when I get old.

The laptops are so old I haven’t seen them that big but the kids are sharing them four to a laptop and are rapidly gaining familiarity. I really enjoyed it and at the end of the week I was presented with certificate.

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Posted in Childrens Charities, Guatamala | No Comments »


Head Hurts

March 2nd, 2009 by sunflowers

Yesterday I was playing in the waves and one caught me the wrong way and slammed me into the sand. I felt like I had smashed into concrete. My head really hurts particularly when I look to the right or move my mouth but I was hoping that it would be ok. Today I was eating lunch with Mike (who organises the teaching computers at the school) after my Spanish lesson and my head started swelling up while I was chewing so I have spent the rest of the day in bed with ice on my head. I am a bit scared to go into the ocean again particularly when a someone told me they lost their peripheral vision after a hit like that. A bit scary when something like that happens.

btw – there is only one place for internet in town and it is expensive and painfully slow. So forgive me if I don’t reply to your email until El Salvador.

Posted in Guatamala | 5 Comments »


Spanish Studies

February 28th, 2009 by sunflowers

MonterricoMonterricoI learnt my lesson in San Pedro and this time I have asked for 1 Spanish lesson before I sign up for the whole week. It went pretty well and my teacher is a lot more conversational than my last one. So I will start next week as well as helping out with computers at the local school. The only thing that I am disappointed about is that I won’t be placed with a family. But it isn’t all bad as my hotel is lovely and only £6 per night. But was really hard riding there in the sand.

Posted in Guatamala | No Comments »


Monte Rico (Monterrico)

February 27th, 2009 by sunflowers

It was a beautiful ride and just before Monterrico I had to put my bike onto a skip for a 30 minute ferry through the mangroves. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to manoeuvre my bike but Julio had said that once I took of my helmet I would have 10 blokes helping me whereas when he did it he had 10 blokes watching to see if he dropped his bike. I was slightly let down as I only had three guys help me 😉

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Posted in Guatamala | No Comments »


Hammock Time

February 26th, 2009 by sunflowers

HammockYou all might think that I am living the life of Riley. Cruising around on my bike, soaking up the sights, no cooking or cleaning, seeing beautiful people and interesting places. But personally I don’t think that I have nearly as much hammock time as I was anticipating. I had thought that most of my trip would mean merely riding between beaches. Instead my overwhelming impression of Latin American landscape so far is mountains which means slow riding and lots of curves.

HammockSo I am heading down to the Pacific Coast to do another week of Spanish, hopefully teach computers at a local school and regain my balance of beach bumming.

Posted in Guatamala | No Comments »


Old Mixco

February 25th, 2009 by sunflowers

Old Mixco

Old MixcoWednesday morning Julio took me up to the Mixco Viejo (old) Mayan ruins situated on a number of hill tops. Due to the limited access this was one of the last cities to be conquered by the Spanish. We were the only people there and beauty of the hilltop views and the serenity of the setting was spectacular.

Before leaving Guatemala City I decided to have a plate made for the bottom of my side stand as it stops the bike from sinking into the ground. I paid my £10 up front as I wanted the iron work shop to drop it off so that I could leave. When I got it, it didn’t fit and I had to pay another £15 to get it to fit. This time I left the bike with them and didn’t pay the rest until it worked but it meant another night in Guatemala City.

Thank you to Julio, Lusia and their sons for putting me up.

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Posted in Guatamala | 1 Comment »


Visiting Casa Alianza Guatemala

February 24th, 2009 by sunflowers

Casa AlianzaOut of all the things that I have done so far visiting Casa Alianza was probably the most daunting. When I arrived they only spoke Spanish to me so I had no idea what they were saying and felt quite uncomfortable. Finally someone took me to the house of teenage mothers and luckily a Swiss volunteer did a bit of translating for me and I ended up working through an English school book with Amanda whose command of English was much better than my Spanish. Still it was pretty un-nerving to see a 15 year old with a 2 year old child and 13 year olds that had just given birth.

Casa AlianzaFinally someone pointed out the two British volunteers who took over showing me around and explain the programs that were in the later stages of shutting down due to not enough funding. They used to have a boys house, a girls house, a drop in centre in town, street outreach, reintegration (follow ups with children they have placed back into families) and legal assistance.

I didn’t really feel like I should take too many pictures or probe too deeply but Sam one of the British volunteers said he had some case studies he had done that I might be able to put up on my blog later.

By the time I had lunch in the cafeteria I felt more at home and I am really looking forward to seeing the work that Casa Alianza does in Honduras and Nicaragua.

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Posted in Childrens Charities, Guatamala | 1 Comment »


Suzuki

February 23rd, 2009 by sunflowers

SuzukiSuzukiWent I met Sri in Tikal he said that he had taken his Suzuki V-strom into the Suzuki dealership in Guatemala City and they had done an excellent job. So seeing as how my bike had yet to see a Suzuki dealership and I had just hit 14,000 miles I decided to drop it in for a check up.

Even though I had emailed Juan the service manager when I tried to drive the bike up to the service centre they questioned whether my bike was a Suzuki (as they don’t sell this model here) and when I finally met Juan he said that when he first got my email he thought it was a prank as a female couldn’t possibly doing this trip solo.

SuzukiSuzukiTurns out to be just as well I had it serviced as I had almost no back brakes though for the cost of buying them in Guatemala it would have been worthwhile carrying spares.

When I picked up the bike the next day I received a Suzuki t-shirt, cap and water bottle as well as a discount. Thanks to Juan and his team.

Posted in Guatamala | No Comments »


Coco, Coffee and Condoms

February 22nd, 2009 by sunflowers

takalikThe next day we did a tour of the coffee plantation and saw where they shelled, cleaned and sorted the beans using hydro power before they are left to dry.

Then we saw the rubber trees which are tapped for the sap which is used to make rubber products and the liquid to make latex.

takalikAfterwards we went to the ruins of a Mayan and Olmeca settlement. The Olmeca’s were traders along the pacific coast up to Mexico and their stone work tended to be broader. During that time coco beans were used as currency.

takalikAll of the ancient alters have a newer model in front of them because they are still being used. Sunday the 22nd February was the start of the new year according to the Mayan calendar and this year is the year of the wind. Coming back from the ride it was hard knacker as it was cold, curvy, roadworks, dirty and windy. At one stage I swear the bike was pushed over half a foot. Apparently there was reports of unseasonal wind all over the country.

I was well impressed with Karla’s endurance for staying on the back of a thumper, not taking much luggage, videoing our adventures (though I don’t know if I needed half an hour of riding through Guatemala City) and always having a smile on her face.

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Posted in Guatamala | 6 Comments »


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