Sunday, January 29, 2006

i heart nica

i heart nica
Originally uploaded by sparkypants.
lindsey says, 'no me gusta honduras. it rained a lot. fleas bit us everywhere we stayed. i though people wanted to hurt me all the time. it was expensive to cross the borders. and the bus rides sucked.' we are in Estelí, Nicaragua, now and are liking it a lot. the town has a good feeling - people are friendly, the food is good, and our hostel has a cozy little courtyard with parrots. we are trying to get in touch with Tera for a visit, but we might stay here a few days to relax, visit a waterfall, and drink good coffee.

trip to punta sal

Originally uploaded by sparkypants.
we took a tour to Punta Sal, a national park on the Caribbean coast of Honduras. the only way to get there is by boat and the tour offered the boat trip, snorkeling and hiking through monkey-infested jungles. unfortunately, our bad weather luck struck again. the boat trip took us through the perfect storm - white caps, torrential downpour and fairly large waves for our little motor boat. we arrived at a small cove completely drenched. our guide says, 'usually its all sunny and calm here and people are snorkeling over there and lying in the sun over there.' we were huddling in little huts to stay dry. we took a short walk through the rainy jungle, but even the monkeys were hiding from the rain. it was an exciting boat trip, but the best part was the traditional garifuna food we were served for lunch. click my excited little self to see more photos.

copan ruinas

floating face guy
Originally uploaded by sparkypants.
the walk from the town of copan to the archeological site was lovely. there´s a coblestone pathway with a few stelae (maya statues) behind fences alnog the way. unfortunately the weather made for bad lighting so a lot of our pictures really suck. but the place is amazing. there´s huge trees- la ceiba trees, which have a story of their own- vines and all kinds of house plants. then you walk out into an open field. 'the great plaza' a huge space cleared and leveled by the maya and with a large pyramid in the center, surounded by about eleven stelae and altars. then there´s the hieroglyphic stairway. the longest enscription ever found in america (pre-columbus). and the ball court. then you go up to the secold level 'the acropolis' which is built upon older buildings. they have tunnels under the acropolis that you can tour, but we didn´t spend the money. it started pouring while we were there. just our luck. and the museum was closed for remodeling. a lot of the original scuptures have been moved indoors, and reproductions replace them outdoors. but walking around the ruins was like a giant outside museum anyways. click the floating face guy to see more pictures.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

we made it to Honduras

after a day and half and 5 different buses, we arrived in Copan Ruinas. our last night in Xela we had dinner at the school where we both recieved our diplomas and had to make a small speech in espanol. afterwards, went out to a local cantina called Roca Negra with a few other students and drank too much rum. this made the 8 or 9 hours we spent on buses yesterday extra-special. Copan is lovely, though: I am sweating and Lindsey is in heaven. the town is muy tranquilo and tomorrow we go to see the ruins.

Friday, January 20, 2006

leaving Xela

Originally uploaded by sparkypants.
we are leaving Xela tomorrow because lindsey needs some warm weather and ocean beaches before she cries again. we are heading to Copan Ruinas in Honduras first, then to the Caribbean coast.

Fuentes Georginas

la piscina
Originally uploaded by sparkypants.
this morning we went to the warm springs at fuentes georginas. we took a truck from Zunil through vegetable farm covered hills and into the jungle. the swimming pool is built at the base of a cliff where the hot spring water emerges. it is just the right temperature. the fern and moss-covered walls were beautiful, but it smelled a bit like a fart. i found it incredibly stressfull lying around in warm waters with such a beautiful view.

Volcàn Santa Maria

on Saturday jan 14th, we hiked up the fucking volcano. it is just over 12 thousand feet high and the trail, if you can call it that, goes straight up. the view is supposed to be amazing, but we wouldn´t know that because about a third of the way up we entered the clouds and never came out. it was wet and cold and slippery and windy. this picture is the only one we took, as the clouds momentarily cleared over Xela on our way down. the one cool thing about the day was hiking up the volcano with about 100 mayans who were headed up to the peak to perform ceremonies. little old ladies in their plastic jelly sandals and men carrying goats on their backs were our constant companions as we slogged through the mud.

a Zunil con Nery

Nery and Lindsey
Originally uploaded by sparkypants.
Nery was my spanish teacher and a cute old man. he was very sweet and a good teacher and always wanted to take us places. we went to Zunil on sunday the 15th to visit San Simon. San Simon is a non-catholic saint who is worshipped by locals. they go to his shrine to perform ceremonies and light candles. his shrine consists of a life-sized manaquin who looks vaguely like Michael Jackson - gold chains, scarves, sun glasses and gloves. he is fond of smoking Payaso cigarettes and drinking Venado rum. people light different colored candles to get different things (i.e. red=love, green=good crop). click the picture to see photos of the vegetable gardens of Zunil.

Las Cuevas de Juan Noj

Yesterday, on our last outing with Escuela Utatlàn, we went to visit the spirit of Juan Noj. He lives in a cave just outside Xela and is the spirit who can grant you lots and lots of money. Local come here to burn offerings and ask for success in business and lots of money. Marvin, the director of our school, told us that about a year ago the family that takes care of the cave discovered and rescued a child that had been left as an offering. I´m not sure if this is true or not, but we saw remnants of chickens, doves, and sheep at the cave altar. I didn´t go down in the cave, but Lindsey did. Click the picture to see more photos on flickr.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

las aguas amargas

volcan santa maria
Originally uploaded by sparkypants.
yesterday we went to las aguas amargas - this is the view from the hot spring-fed pool we were relaxing in (well, almost). it was a short bus ride from Xela to Zunil, then a short pick-up ride to the springs. the water is really hot! muy caliente. after swimming in the large pool for a while we went into the semi-private baths where it was too hot to get into the water. click this photo to see more pictures at flickr.

trip to Abaj Takalik

on saturday we took a trip to the archeological site called Abaj Takalik with Marvin, the director of our spanish school, and the other students. it was our first ride in a chicken bus - old american school buses converted and used for transportation all over Guatemala. i didn´t get any pictures of Abaj Takalik or the chicken bus, but there are a few pictures from the traffic jam we got caught in on the way back. there are many sections of road that just got washed away during hurricane stan, and quicky detours have been constructed to go around them. on the way back a semi and a tow truck towing a chicken bus got stuck on a narrow curve and traffic stopped for a good hour while it was all sorted out. the chicken bus is a really cheap way to travel, and they pack as many people as possible in them. you are lucky if you get to sit two persons to a seat. they are all painted bright greens and reds and blues and the music is blasting constantly. it was as interesting as, if not more than, Abaj Takalik. The archeological site that is available to the public is small because most of it is on private land, but is interesting in that it contains three types of monuments: Olmec, Mayan and a local type, the name of which I can´t remember.

street in xela

street in xela
Originally uploaded by sparkypants.

Friday, January 06, 2006

en Xela

we had a couple of long travel days but made it to Xela just fine. we are staying at Casa Argentina and had our first spanish class today at Escuela Utatlan. more later (hopefulle), must go find some food and coffee.

Monday, January 02, 2006

we leave in two days

almost done packing - time for a drink

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