Antigua week 3
Jan 21, 2009
|January 23, 2009
Hi everyone, and thanks for all the wonderful comments and emails. We love hearing news from the homefront, as we are a bit isolated out here.
The past week we’ve been hard at work at our Spanish schools. To help the kids concentrate a bit better, they now have their own teacher, which seems to help. We feel like we are slowly learning this language, though still have a long way to go.
This past weekend we took off for some beachside relaxation. We went to a small town called Monterrico. Imagine your typical sleepy beachside town... Monterrico is that town on Ambien! One small dirt road, Avery few hotels (all single story and small) and scattered beachfront restaurants is all that there was. No tourist shops hawking cheap sunglasses, t-shirts, and snowglobes. Only some Mayan women selling empanadas, cups of ceviche, and assorted frutas. The sand was black volcanic and set to grill your soles should you forget your sandals. Nothing but beach and palm trees in either direction as long as you could see. The ocean was gorgeous and lusciously warm. The only glitch in the whole thing was that it was fairly unswimmable. The small to moderate sized waves crashed right onto the beach into a deep recess just past the entry. There was a very strong and dangerous undertow, and everyone cautioned us not to swim there at all. Gillian and I still porpoised around in the waves, as we could touch, but the kids did not get much water time. Alex braved some waves (with a lifejacket on), and quickly had to learn how to dive under waves. Apparently, that lost its appeal quickly.
We invited Rosie, the kind and quiet 19 year old mayan-born housekeeper for our host family, to come with us. Though she has lived 2 hours from the ocean her entire life, she had never seen a beach, the ocean, or sand before. Seeing this paradise from her wide open eyes was a treat in itself. No work, no cleaning- just lying in hammocks, sipping smoothies and playing in the sand. We could only imagine what she must have been thinking, as she is not the chattiest, and we couldn’t read her thought bubble- but it must have been both sweet and bitter. How fortunate we are all!
Our timing there was perfect, as we caught the last weekend of a very busy turtle hatching season. In an effort to preserve the local turtle population, which lays its eggs on this beach, a preserve has been set up. Here they let the eggs hatch safely and keep the baby turtles until saturdays. Right about sunset, they have a “liberation” celebration. For 10 Quetzales (around $1.20) you can “rent” a baby turtle for a couple of minutes. Everyone lines up along a straight line facing the ocean. About 3 meters away is another line, en route to the ocean. First turtle across wins the owner a T shirt (or other prize). Annika’s turtle came in second place. Alex’s turtle (aka “gimpy”) eventually crossed, but I’m not betting on him in the bigger game of life.
Now back to the Spanish immersion!
Love to you all.
Peter forgot the biggest news of all..We have been re-married :)
We spent Wednesday afternoon at a women’s cooperative that sews and sells native mayan clothes (to help preserve their culture). They were kind enough to do a demonstration and explain a traditional mayan ceremony to us. Little did we know we would be the ones getting married. With Linda and Robert as our parents we dressed up and played our part. Apparently getting married involves a lot of sewing on the part of the bride. Each bride must make at least 9 items to the groom’s family. They craft beautiful tapestries that serve as table clothes, blankets, baby slings, and bags all in one. At the end of the ceremony the mother-in-law gives the new daughter-in-law a fancy new apron and sets her to work making cakes and coffee. If she does a good job she gets her man. Yes, I would be a very old single mayan woman today if I lived here.
Tuesday we were reconnected with America as we watched Obama take his oath of office. What a great day!! We celebrated that night in a beautiful open aired hacienda with a bunch of other Americans.
Other news... Our volcano erupted today. In the middle of Spanish school we heard a loud boom. We all climbed up the hill in the back garden and saw a huge poof of smoke from the top. Needless to say, I am not clamoring at the chance to climb that one. (ed. note. this happens daily. Better to have small pressure relief valve, No?)
Lastly, a recipe for Erin- HORCHATA!!!!!
Tere, our host mother made horchata for lunch the other day. It was the best I’ve ever tasted.
1 part rice 2 parts water.
Let sit for 2 hours.
Add sugar to taste then toss it all in the blender.
Sprinkle with cinnamon pour over ice and enjoy.
Drink and be merry.