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Guatemala, September 2001


Taken on my first full day in Antigua. This is the back of the Antigua market, where the trash pile is.  I managed to "find" it after being lost in the market for some time.  I took this picture, watching some dogs playing, while stand next to the trash dump - a huge pile of organic, et all, trash. 

Antigua

After my 1st rotation in the hospital, pediatrics, I understood how little I was able to communicate with the Spanish speaking population.  How my lack of communication affected their standard of care.  Motivated, I discovered a program to study Spanish.  John Hopkins had a traveler's diarrhea vaccination study which would pay me $600 to study Spanish for a few weeks in Antigua, Gutatemala.  So, my destination was chosen.  Unfortunately, a week before I left, circumstances arose such that I couldn't participate in the study.  But, I was set to go to Anigua. 

While beautiful and fun, Antigua is a tourists' city.  Where I spoke more English at night than Spanish. I had fun, but didn't learn as much as I could have.  


Notice the road?  It's paved with stones.

 

The poorer side of town.  These are houses on the left.  The road leads up to a beautiful of overlooking the city.  I had never seen poverty before my trip to Antigua, not like this.  Even those well to do in Guatemala,  would be considered as living in poor living conditions in the States

 


Monterrico

 

Monterrico, the beautiful western coastal tourist town.  
My first side trip from Antigua; I was royally ripped off by the school, 
but it was still enjoyable.

 

Here I am with 2 tortugitas, baby sea turtles.  We got to purchase, handle, and release the tortugitas as part of a fundraiser.


Another gorgeous view.


The Race

 


The Finish

 


While the scenery was interesting, the only wildlife I saw were these cranes.


My baby sea turtle, racing for the finish.  Alone, how I felt for much of my stay in Monterrico.

I went on a swap tour to try & see some wildlife.  
Pictured is an unrelated tourist group.

I also got to see a wild dolphin, jumping in the wild one afternoon, 
but I won't bore you with those pictures, as the dolphins are specks.

 


Tikal

My second major trip was to Tikal, a collection of Mayan ruins on the northern border of Guatemala.
Where the picture was taken from on the right, a ruin at the top of a hill. It was a steep climb on stairs up there but well worth it. The 2 small people on the bottom right are the 2 girls I went


The Skyline of the forest.  2 visible temple structures rising out the forrest. 
 The view was wonderful.  

Pisote, a very cute animal. This one was in a pack that ran directly across our path.

 

We walked into the park in the early morning & climbed the large main monument to watch the sunrise.  There were some howler monkeys in the trees pictured here.  It was very peaceful.


While I was there, some sort of ceremony was taking place in the main plaza.  Hearing about indigenous Guatemalatecuns' superstitions relating to cameras, I didn't want to take any pictures of people's faces.

 
Pose from one of the girls I went with, Beth.  
She had a great sense of humor. 


Sunrise in Guatemala City, while waiting for the bus on the way back to Antigua.  A beautiful sunrise for  such a not beautiful city, but the sky was amazing everywhere.

 


Chichicastenango
Chichi, as it is known, is a huge market.  Located at a higher altitude, I remember it raining the entire time I was there.  Ah well.  At least I got a pretty good deal on a swinging chair (at least I hope).


Some locals waiting for ride?  Those baskets contain birds that were on their way back from the market.  How do those women carry those baskets?  On their heads.  (no wonder they're all so short! jk)

The dress of two different ages.  Left, traditional Guatemalan garb, and on the right... typical Guatemalan garb.


The end bit of the most memorable ride of my life (so far). 
 My 1st hitchhiking experience.  The four of us were sitting in the back of a truck, hoping it wouldn't rain.

 


Lago Atitlan

Vulcan Plakaya?

My last trip in Guatemala.  The the beautiful peaceful, Lake Atitlan.  The surround scenery includes 7 volcanoes (as the locals like to tell us).  I didn't visit the drug city, but I did sit out on the dock for hours to enjoy the scenery. The sky was so dynamic and beautiful.  ("So beautiful!" my favorite phrase in Espanol while I Guatemala)
I climbed up a volcano.  It was hard, but worth it.

This is Dorothy's sillohuette against the sky.  I just thought it looked kinda cool.  :)






Above the clouds.

 


Misc.


My host family, and 2 casa-mates. 


Kathy, my Spanish teacher.


Julia, the cook. She was so nice!  She invited me and my casa-mates to her place twice.  Her accent was hard for me to understand, but I got to practice a lot with her.