Hola Mis Amigos!
Thursday Day 6
Today we woke up early for our work with the artisans. There were three different options for artisan work: metal work, word work and textiles. The wood work and metal working teams got up early to go to San Juan and textiles stayed in San Miguel Escobar.
Ann and I stayed in town to do the textiles workshop. The lady that runs the textiles is Timoteo’s (the farmer who led us for construction) daughter. We went with our guide, Jane to their house and the fun began. We got to pick our our fabrics. They are the fabrics of traditional Huipil Guatemalan wear. There is one fabric for the top of the purse which is usually what they wear as their tops, and the bottom that usually makes their skirts is what makes the back of the purse. Each fabric is specific to a certain area and if you were to go to that town, most of the people would be wearing it. These ladies also hand weave these fabrics which can take up to a year. Picking out fabrics was so hard because they were all so beautiful!
The wood working group got to make these beautiful trays from scratch. They were all really happy with how these turned out!
There was also a metal working workshop where they could make an item of choice and weld it into an animal or shape. This group said that the work was very hard but fun, and you definitely needed patience for it. They really seemed to have a good time and some hilarious stories of the process. Especially where Karissa and puppies are concerned.
Our artisan workshops took about half the day, and after lunch we met up at the De La Gente house before catching the chicken bus to Antigua for some shopping. I am going to leave it up to the trip members to fill you in on the details about the chicken bus, but I will tell you that it s a public transportation system that gets very crowded at time. It also gets very bumpy because Antigua is entirely old cobblestone that hasn’t been repaired in a while, It is beautiful, but bumpy. Today, Antigua was much less busy than it was the first Sunday that we first visited on, It gave us a chance to see more of the city. Before we got to do any souvenirs shopping, we had a market challenge to do. We were in charge of finding and bargaining for ingredients for dinner, without a translator. The supermercado was unlike anything i’ve ever seen. It is millions of clothes, shoes, flowers, produce, and meat shoppes all crammed together, Is is both exciting and overwhelming, so thankfully we were in groups for this activity, When we were done getting our ingredients we went into the artisan market where we were cut loose for an hour to spend as we pleased. We really liked this market because we knew we were supporting the people that made these items, rather than some places that all have the same items and were less unique, It also helped because, by this time, we were much better at bargaining prices. Well, except for Nicole, it is a running joke that she is the only one who can talk up a price from its original.
When we were done shopping we caught a chicken bus back to San Miguel Escobar and returned home to start cooking our ingredients. Our menu consisted of nachos ( popular around here), home-made guacamole, pineapple mango smoothies, and chocolate covered plantains for dessert. We all worked together to cook it which made it even more delicious when we ate it. It was a blast working together to make it and laugh about stories from the market
Riding the chicken bus!
Day 7 Friday
Today was an early rising day because we are headed to Lake Atitlan! Our free day options were hiking an active volcano or going to the lake and we opted for this because of its rumored beauty and variety of activities. What a good choice that was! Aside from the super bumpy three hour car ride, this whole day was fantastic. We got to the lake around 10AM and Chau, Stephanie and Sam immediately were dropped off for zip lining. They got to zip line for about two hours and got to see monkeys and a butterfly garden along the way. The rest of us, having had enough adventure on the ride over, headed down the mountain further to kayak on the lake. The lake was beautiful and super clear. We rented some kayaks and spent about an hour on the water just hanging out. After an adventure packed week, this was just what we needed. Around noon we took a break for lunch at a restaurant in town and got to eat alongside some hummingbirds flying around us. This area is super touristy so there were also a lot of shoppes to go to for those of us who still had Quetzales left to spend. There were dozens of markets and so many things to see. We spent the rest of the afternoon shopping until we met at 4pm and headed back to Antigua for our goodbye dinner. This was the first time we got to see the night life in Antigua and it was beautiful. There were light everywhere and people eating and walking in the center park. We got to our restaurant which was moon and star themed and served only crepes. It was such a fancy place, the decorations were to die for and the waiters ordered off ipads. This also is the first time we really saw handheld technology being used. The food was fantastic and we got to eat and spend time with each of our tour guides and leaders from De La Gente. It was the perfect goodbye, even though it was hard to say goodbye.
Saturday Day 8
Today was very sad because we had to say our goodbyes to this beautiful city and the wonderful people that we met along the way. We had one last breakfast from the ladies, and got to hang our with Jane once more before our bus came to take us to the Guatemala City airport. We will all miss this city and it’s people dearly and I don’t think any one of us would trade this experience for the world. Thank you to all who helped us get here, supported us while we were here, or helped make this trip as amazing as it was. This was truly a life changing experience.
Adios mis amigos y hasta lugeo Guatemala.