Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Guatemala: Day 1

I've been debating how I should blog Guatemala. There are so many stories from beginning until the very end. I'm sure most of you heard about the adventures coming back, so I'll save those for a later blog so you forget about them and can re-live the experience later :)

So it was May 21st and we set off to the airport, driven by the one and only Abby Ytzen. She dropped us off and sent us on our way. Our flight was on time and not cancelled...Guatemala wanted us to come, it just didn't want us to leave later in the adventure. So anyways, we pit-stopped in Miami for a couple of hours and caught our second flight which was delayed about a 1/2 hour. We landed in Guate and breezed through customs. It was MUCH easier than US customs usually are, so we were extremely thankful for that.

We wandered out of the airport and were greeted by a flock of people. It was like we were rock stars. okay, lies, but there was a big group of people...most of them holding up signs for everyone walking out of the airport for transportation purposes. It took us awhile to spot our ride, but we eventually found us and he told us that he would be going to get the car and to stay put. Only he said it in Spanish and had to use motions to make sure we understood - we hadn't gotten our Spanish feet underneath us yet. So up he pulled and in we hopped and off we went.

We didn't even make it out of the city before the nauseousness hit both of us. There was a lot of traffic, but we both took it in stride and were greatful to finally make it outside of the city limits and be on our way to Panajachel. Little did we know the adventure we were about to be taken on...

Picture this: you know those roads in movies in which you look like you're about to fall off the side of a mountain? Yep, that was the type of road we were on FOR TWO HOURS. take driving over smugglers notch and multiply it by about 50. and then add this to the equation: Guatemalan driving (worse than driving in Massachusetts, shocking, I know). There are no rules. Well there are, and the rules include passing as you whip around corners going way too fast. I literally prayed THE WHOLE TIME we were driving...in between waves of nausea and sitting there laughing at how funny this scenario was and taking in the absolutely GORGEOUS place we were in. Driving through the mountains was simply beautiful. I wish I could put into words how beautiful, but I could never do it justice, so I won't try.

So up we went. And down we went. And around we went. And back up. And back down. And back up. and through some small towns. And up. And down. As I prayed that we didn't fall off the side of the mountain, I simultaneously prayed that my lunch stayed in my stomach so I didn't have to puke over the side of the mountain and accidently tumble down.

So as we're about two hours into our drive we come up to this:


If you think this means "take care for your life," you're right. And why was there this sign? Because we were about to drive over a canyon being held up by what looked like two boards. Aye. I was laughing at this point.

So we kept driving and FINALLY I saw a sign that said Panajachel: 8km. WE WERE IN THE CLEAR!!!!!! except...the driver hit the gas and FLEW up and down one more mountain until we hit the cobblestone of Panajachel. As we drive into Pana my legs and hands go tingly and I tell Ryan. He asks the driver to pull over using his Spanish (still not sure what he said...) and the guy asks if I'm going to be sick. I tell him no and that I think I'm only going to faint. So I sit back and then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I lurch forward. Ryan, being the wonderful and amazing man he is, whips open the door just in time for my Hawaiian Pizza (complete with full pineapple chunks) to come out ALL OVER the street in Panajachel. Whoops. Not a great first impression, huh?

So I finished my puking and off we went to a hotel to see if there were rooms available. Our first stop: Hotel Posada de Don Rodrigo. Fail. They only had one night. So we walked a block with our luggage (no easy feat with rolling luggage on cobblestone streets, but again, I have a wonderful husband). We checked out where Ryan stayed with his Gordon trip and weren't thrilled so we tried a THIRD hotel...Jardines de Lago. We peeked in at a room, they offered us a price we could not resist...and then we resisted. We felt SO awful that all we wanted was comfort...okay, all I wanted was comfort...so off to the Porta we went. Ryan ate a quick meal and we were back up in our room passed out by 8pm...

So that was day one, truly an adventure and we wouldn't have it any other way!! more adventures to come, I promise. :)