Today marks the end of our first week of Spanish class at Pepe’s Spanish Language School (I’m not making that name up.) We’ve made more progress than I thought we would. Our instructor, Carlos, is excellent as well as bi-lingual. We’ve signed up for 2 more weeks. I expect to be speaking Spanish like a native-born Guatemalan at the end of our class.
Tomorrow we will move the camper to a secure parking lot, and move into the school’s homestay – essentially a boarding house. We’re moving out of the free Turismo Policia parking lot because the deadline to leave is tomorrow. Normally tourists can park for free for 5 days. Chris negotiated a 3-day extension.
One of our neighbors was a group of 3 guys from New Zealander who bought a ’91 van in Florida, drove through 38 states and through Mexico to Guatemala. Before they moved into the police lot someone broke into their van and stole their surf boards. We’ve also had neighbors from the US, France and Germany.
I made friends with one of the two dogs that ives in the compound. He now follows us to school in the morning. He sticks around for a while trying to get in the front door, but he always manages to find his way home on his own.
We have breakfast at 7:30 at the school which is cooked by Eluvia, the middle-aged and friendly owner (I think) of the house. Class begins at 8 and ends a 12. Lunch is served at 1. Yesterday we had fish, today we had braised chicken.
Antigua is a small town. The streets are roughly paved with cobblestone. The sidewalks are narrow and uneven. If you don’t watch where you step you will take a tumble, as I did this morning when Chris and I were searching for a laundry. There are a lot of tourist oriented businesses from restaurants to travel agencies and everything in between. Chris exchanged a few thousands pesos for quetzales in a travel agency run by the nephew of our language teacher.
We learned this morning that Guatemala does not have a functioning postal system. Apparently there is a contract dispute between the Canadian post office which runs the system and the Guatemalan government. Nobody seems to know when or if the post offices will reopen. Chris wanted to mail a couple of postcards. A Guatemalan version of FedEx wanted over $10 each to ship them. No gracias!
We’re in the midst of the rainy season. The rain usually falls in the late afternoon or at night. Days are warm but not hot. Guatemala’s slogan is “Land of Eternal Spring.” I doubt the people living in the sweltering lowlands think they’re living in eternal Spring.
Some photos of Antigua: