A Travellerspoint blog

January 2010

No estamos muertos... solo de vacaciones!

"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.



Posted by KimJay 15:41 Comments (1)

Planificación Familiar

Need a vasectomy? Then Guatemala may be your best bet!

sunny 65 °F

10 things more expensive than a vasectomy in Guatemala:

1. A personal 8-inch pizza.
2. All-you-can-eat pancakes in Antigua.
3. One night for a single bed with shared bath in the cheapest, dirtiest hostel we could find in Antigua.
4. One hour of Spanish classes at San Pedro Spanish School.
5. Postage to send 1 postcard from Guatemala to the US.
6. A worn out, second-hand American T-shirt.
7. A large bag of Cheetos.
8. 4 imported Snickers candy bars.
9. A pair of flip-flops in my size.
10. A five-minute taxi ride in any large Guatemalan city.

Just a little context: Not too long ago, there was a flier posted at Centro Maya advertising a weeklong Family Planning Clinic. Aside from standard family planning advice, it offered vasectomies for men and tube-tying operations for women for Q25 or about $3.15. Both Kim and I asked if it was a typo and were assured that it was not. Low, bargain prices are the only way they can get people to even consider these operations. This is a particular problem with men who typically don´t want to do anything that will compromise their masculinity, although it is widely known that vasectomies are way safer and less invasive than the alternative for women. Family planning is a particular problem among poorer families who cannot afford to support the kids they already have, let alone any new ones. It´s just unfortunate since many men feel that the more kids they have, the more masculine they are compared to other men. Machismo at its best!

Anyway....for any men considering a vasectomy you might want to consider Guatemala since $3 has got to be cheaper than the operation in the US, even if you have insurance.

Posted by BenjaminE 09:11 Archived in Guatemala Comments (2)

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