Thursday, February 19, 2009

Xela 2

As promised, here is some more info and an update on how we're spending our time here in Xela. Above is our lovely apartment building, the aforementioned Pasaje Enriquez. It's actually being renovated externally right now, but I doubt it'll be finished by the time we leave at the end of the month.

So, where have the 4 weeks since the last blog post gone? Well, we finished our 3 weeks of Spanish at the Celas Maya school (above). I tell you, three hours a day is intense! I don't know how some people manage as much as 5 hours a day. Since then, we've both been teaching English. I've been doing entirely 1:1 classes in a couple of local schools and averaging around 15 hours a week. The pay isn't much to shout about (around US$2 an hour) but it certainly adds a new experience to our trip. Rach, on the other hand, has landed a job in a school for children and is really enjoying it. It's not altogether that different from her old job back home - in fact this week she's had at least one day of being snowed under with lesson preparation, which felt strangely familiar to both of us! Teachers reading this blog will sympathise. It's a good thing we're only planning on doing it for another week or so!

We've been really enjoying being in one place for a while. Xela is a good place to be; it's got a few tourists like us and, consequently, some really great restaurants and bars. Most (foreign) people here seem to be staying for a good while, learning Spanish, working and volunteering.

On the downside, Xela is pretty darn cold at times. I don't know how we picked the coldest place in all of Central America to stop for a couple of months. We're coping though: Rach found a (GAP!) jacket in a second-hand shop for about US$6 (sorry about the US-centric use of US$ all the time; you get used to thinking in US$ here to convert between local currencies).

Our other 'coping strategy' is regular trips to the nearby hot springs at Fuentes Georginas. It's an hour or so trip up there where one can lounge in three pools of varying temperatures from bath-like to scalding. Apparently it used to be a little cooler until a recent earthquake re-jigged some of the volcanic vents and a new, hotter source was revealed. Having said that, a different guide book says it used to be hotter but is still worth a visit. (We find it helps to have more than one guide book to remind yourself that guidebooks aren't always right.) Sorry we don't have any photos; it's so steamy there that photography is almost impossible.

Xela has a beautiful Parque Central that's always bustling with activity: shoe shiners (Lustradores), children playing, pidgeons, foreign students... It's flanked by the Cathedral (of course), which is being rebuilt but has retained the original facade. Our building faces onto the Parque from the opposite corner.

So, there you have an update on our time spent in Xela. We've certainly enjoyed it, but I have to close by saying that we're looking forward to getting on the road again (and seeing the rest of Guatemala)... can't wait.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's great to catch up with your latest news. Really enjoyed the slideshows, especially Chichicastenango - amazing clarity of colour.
Love Diane and Pete