"But haven't you been on vacation this whole time?" you might ask. Well, everyone needs a vacation from vacation when that vacation is 6 months long. So after New Year's (which consisted of a celebration with bombas and sparklers with the kids in the backyard, the likes of which I have not known since New Year's circa 1998), we took off again for some highland "trekking" near Nebaj.
Trekking is very similar to hiking, except instead of an established trail paid for by the government you go traipsing around the muddy paths that border the barbed wire fences of people's land. People here aren't of the run intruders off with a shotgun persuasion, which makes the experience much more enjoyable than it would be in the USA. In fact, while walking to these towns--some of which are only reachable on foot--you are most in danger of being invited into someone's home to have a delicious meal for $1 (as we were one day). (As to the danger, I also could swear that I heard a jaguar in the bushes while we were in the mountains, but later on down the road I heard a pig produce a very similar growl.)
Unfortunately, the highest part of the Guatemalan highlands is more like Oregon in March than what we are used to in Guatemala. And without a guide to advise us against our endeavors--only a poorly written trekking guide--we soon found ourselves ankle deep in a mix of mud and horse poop in barely passable paths in the pouring rain. Oh, how it made me yearn for home!
(Here is the possible jaguar/pig. It is much cleaner than I was by the end of the day.)
Having nothing but cold showers to look forward to at the end of each day, we soon wussed out. We headed to Coban to see the biggest Orchid nursery in Guatemala and possibly all of Central America. That was fine. Lots of flowers and such. Here is an orchid for those of you who don't know and also a picture of Ben in his orchid heaven (though they were rather light on the orchids this time of year).
Still it was raining... so we went to the beach! Where we enjoyed 90 degree humid weather, releasing sea turtles into the ocean to be eaten by all of God's creatures, and long days reading and drinking licuados. There is not much else to tell... except that one night Ben got over 100 mosquito bites... putting himself at high risk for malaria.
This is what he was like all week:
Dirty beach dogs... doing what dirty beach dogs do all day... who knows:
Ben eating a fish bigger than his thigh:
We are back in San Juan now, hanging out and making our plans to come home (eventually). Here we are making tortillas! Despite our smiles, we both failed horribly at this task.