Sunday, November 4, 2007

lakes, kites, vino!

So, photos y´all!
They are as follow...
Little miss Gem standing in front of a huge día de los muertos kite. Dock looking out on Atítlan, woman carrying balls at the kite festival.

Things are good here, I´m now in Xela after a whirlwind week of kite festivaling, diving, and yoga. The kite festival has something to do with welcoming the spirits back to earth on día de los muertos. We couldn´t get a great description from anyone, but it was an amazing experience. I met some ¨locals¨ from ¨the lake¨ who invited me to go see the kites in Santiago. We took a three hour ride in a shuttle from Panajatchel to a town outside of Santiago. The festival was held in a dusty field filled with Guatemaltecas and the occasional gringo. Groups had constructed the kites on frames of bamboo entirely of glue and tissue paper. The largest had to be about sixty feet tall and all were designed around different themes. For expample in the picture the one I am standing in front of is about preserving maya traditions. Around three in the afternoon they started launching them into the sky with varying results. I only saw the Gallo beer kite stay in the air for more than a minute. The next closest attempt disengrated after three minutes in the air, leaving only the bamboo frame to come crashing back to earth. We left the festival early so as not to miss the last launcha back to Santa Cruz, but the ride home was almost as entertaining, watching all the niños fly kites across the guatemalan landscape and laughing at my driver.
The next day, post yoga, I went for a dive in lake Atítlan which was murky but successful, even though I still haven´t figured out boyancy in fresh water. It was cool to do a fresh water dive and at altitude none the less, plus the whole experience was a whopping $25 dollars. My budget can live with that.
Yesterday I took the chicken bus to Xela with Todd a friend I made in Santa Cruz. We arrived in the early afternoon and spent most of the daylight hours hiking around the city looking for spanish schools and places to stay. After two and half hours of hiking with our packs we ended up staying at the first place we looked at. Classic. The good thing was we got a sense of the city´s layout and knew we were getting a good deal on our room.
In our walking we found out that Xelaju, the local soccer team was playing that night. So last night was spent freezing our asses off at the local estadium. The whole thing was really entertaining, my vocabulary of spanish swear words has increased exponentially, and I am far more familiar with different central american fireworks. Xela won 2 to 1 with a penalty kick, it was awesome. The only sad part was that this weekend, being election weekend, no alcohol can be served. So Todd and I have plans to return to a wet game and check out the scene then. Should be cool.
Today the highlight has been drinking contraband wine out of a coffee cup at lunch. Wild times.
I start language school in the morning, wish me luck.

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