Guatemala Honduras and Guatemala 2005

No hablo Espanol!

It was my last day in the luxury of the hotel today, so I made the most of the hot shower and chilling out. Dom and Doreen came to get me at 10am and took me to my homestay, where I’ll be until next Sunday. It’s with the same family as Rufus (another volunteer), and they own a printing shop in Antigua, so the place always smells of ink! I think there’s three daughters, two sons and a granddaughter, but I might be wrong – lots of people coming and going!

Haven’t really done anything today. Feeling very disorientated: not many people speak much English and I don’t speak Spanish! No-one in the family I’m living with speak much English so today was pretty difficult.

Went to watch Guatemala vs. Mexico World Cup qualifier in a bar in town with some of the other volunteers. Deafening screams when Guatemala scored their second and Mexico had 3, but Mexico eventually won 5-2.

Still out of sync.

Guatemala Honduras and Guatemala 2005

Free Day in Antigua

I woke up around 8am, and took my time getting ready since I haven’t got anything to do today. Showered – hurray! Got a really nice breakfast, which I ate outside in the hotel garden. I was sat in the sun for all of 15mins and got sunburn! But cuz of the angle I was sat at, it’s only on one shoulder. Look a bit like a Rhubarb & Custard sweet.

Dom came to see me to say that basically, I could do what I wanted today, and there was a get together for the volunteers that night, and someone would be along to fetch me. Spent the day reading Da Vinci and went into Antigua about 4pm. Got a latte and a huge slice of apple pie in a cafe, for about 2.50. Luckily, people here can speak enough English to understand me and say stuff to me, and I can sometimes understand what they’re saying in Spanish!

Antigua is built in blocks, surrounding a central plaza. Its fairly easy to find your way, but all the streets look very similar, so it can be a bit daunting. All the streets are cobbled: not the place to live if you like the suspension on your car. It also has a very strange traffic system: everyone here seems to know where they’re going, but I have no idea how.

Outside of my window in the hotel, there’s a huge Volcano (Volcan Agua). I could see it first thing this morning, but it clouded over before I got a chance to take a photo.

Some of the other volunteers arrived around 7.30pm to go to Dom’s house, where I met the rest of them. Doreen showed us the news which was broadcasting a road and a bridge we needed to travel along to get to Honduras. The road is totally flooded: it’s in the valleys, so all the runoff from the mountains is heading down it towards the sea. The bridge has a section that needs repairing before anyone can cross. There’s about 10 yards missing. They reckon they’ll have it fixed in 5 days.

Still a bit out of sync: I was getting tired by 9pm.

Guatemala Honduras and Guatemala 2005

Heathrow: Point of No Return

Woke up at 5.30am, left at 6.30am and got to Heathrow around 7am. On the way into the car park I wasn’t paying much attention to the radio, but caught the bit about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes going to have a baby. I turned to look at Mum, and she looked horrified. The story before that – that I didn’t catch – was that there had been a hurricane in Central America that killed 110 people. She wasn’t too impressed when I started laughing about the fact that it had completely passed me by! Oops!

Checked in, got some breakfast, phoned Dad to say ‘bye’. Went to departures and said bye to Mum. That’s when it really hit me, now that I was by myself, that I really was going to the other side of the world. Only lasted til I got through to the shops though! Bought a new memory card for my camera, body spray, and a small alarm clock in case I can’t figure out how to turn my watch back!

Distance to Miami: 4421 miles. That’s a long way. And I still have a fair bit after that! Taking off was pretty cool: I was right over the wing so I could see us jutting through the clouds. And it was so bright above the clouds covering London: brilliant blue skies.

Watched Dark Water, Bewitched and CSI on the plane. CSI was probably my favourite. Only got about 30mins sleep. Irritating couple in front kept messing with their chairs, going down then up then down, and on and on. No need!

Miami sucked. It’s always sunny and gorgeous on the TV. We arrived in rain. There was more cloud in Miami than in London. And the airport’s rubbish: all corridors, not much in the way of shops. Got some food, read more of The Da Vinci Code. Had quite a wait between flights so had a bit of a wash and felt a lot fresher. Still smelled though. Wasn’t really tired which surprised me since I’d been up for 16 hours. Texted Mum to say I’d got that far, and got Gillian’s text too.

Best parts of Miami:

  • the view when we took off: blocks and blocks of houses and hotels, and almost every one with a pool; and it was clear by that time so we could see the Caribbean too.
  • meeting a Chelsea fan at immigration: actually, he was the immigration officer. Said if I’d have been staying in Miami he would’ve shown me the city!

Sat alone on the flight to Guatemala so lay down and fell asleep. Quite disappointed that it was dark when I woke up and we were coming in to land: all I could were twinkling lights below. Dom and Doreen (work for GVI, the company I’m volunteering with) met me at the airport and took me to the Hotel San Jorge in Antigua, Guatemala. Very tired and smelly by this point.

They told me that they weren’t sure if I was going to get there: the whole area was and still is on hurricane alert. By the time I reached Guatemala, there were 200 dead and lots still missing. One of the GVI projects had been completely wiped out. Dom told me that there was a change of plan: the road we’d take to Honduras was impassable, so I would be staying in Guatemala for a week, and then going on to Honduras.

I was in bed by 8.30pm, and very grateful for it.

Honduras and Guatemala 2005

Wokingham

Packed, finally. But something is wrong: everything fits in first time! Clearly there’s something imperative I’ve forgotten. Mum wasn’t impressed with my choice of books for the journey, so she gave me The Da Vinci Code. Got my St Christopher pendant and Turkish eye to protect me too.

Journey to Wokingham was pretty uneventful. Found the services in Birmingham interesting: automatic flush, automatic taps, but push-button dryers. Go figure. Got to Robert and Gillian’s house around 6pm, although Robert wasn’t there. Also met their daughters, Lucy and Rachel. Gillian made a yummy veggie lasagne for supper and I had a bottle of red wine while Mum and Gillian polished off a couple of bottles of white.

Went to bed around 10.30pm cuz of the early start to Heathrow.

Fun day, as I’m sure you can tell.

Honduras and Guatemala 2005

Room still not tidy. Everything I’m taking is neatly laid out on the spare bed ready to pack.

Spent the day getting sorted and updating weblog. Been to Talardy for supper. Very tasty but small dessert portions!

Finally managed to download John Cale ‘Perfect’. Only taken me about ten days! Its going to be a weird two months without being able to download music. And maybe not even hearing anything I would download!

Honduras and Guatemala 2005

Last Minute Stuff

So by this time Thursday I’ll be Honduras. So unprepared! Just been in Chester getting some last minute stuff like a first aid kit and new tops and the new Franz Ferdinand album (ahem).

It occurred to me about five minutes ago that I’ve still got to pack and phone the airline to say I want a veggie meal.

Nerves seriously starting to set in. I know I’ll be fine once I’m there, but getting butterflies now. I think mostly cuz i don’t know what to expect.

Went bowling last night for a staff party/my leaving do. Probably my worst bowling ever: 69 and 72 I think I scored. Fairly certain the bowling lane sloped at the end: didn’t seem to matter how straight I bowled it always curved to the left at the last second. Won the space hopper race though! So happy about that! Photos to follow.

Honduras and Guatemala 2005

Travel Plans

Been slowly cutting down my ‘To Do List’ today. About time. Sorted out some currency and emailed Nancy in Guatemala who is organising a trip for me at the end of my volunteering. But I still have a few days to fill myself.

Plans look like so at the moment:

  • Monday 21st November: get bus from Copan to La Ceiba. Think I have a stopover in San Pedro Sula for two hours, and arrive in La Ceiba at 1pm. Get the ferry to Roatan at 3pm. Arrive at 5pm.
  • Tuesday 22nd November: activities in Roatan generally revolve around diving, which I’ve never done before. But apparently this is an amazing place to dive and its cheap, so might as well give it a go. There’s also a place called Frangipani’s Bar in a resort here, so figure I have to go there.
  • Wednesday 23rd-Thursday 24th November: get the ferry from Roatan at 7am and arrive in La Ceiba at 9am. Hoping to do a few activities through a company called Jungle River over these two days. They also have two hostels for me to choose from to stay in. Thinking of beach horse riding, hiking in Pico Bonito, the canopy zipline tour, and hiking to Rio Maria. Just hope I can fit them all in!
  • Friday 25th November: get bus from La Ceiba to Antigua, Guatemala, where I’ll meet up with Nancy and see what she’s got planned for me.
  • Thursday 1st December: fly from Guatemala City
  • Friday 2nd December: arrive in Heathrow
  • (Monday 5th December: back in work!)

So visit the site again at the end of November to see if I got round to it all!

Music

Playlists

I’ve been reading a Sunday Mail supplement recently, called “How to Walk in High Heels”. It is apparently ‘101 things every girl needs to know’. Jade Jagger’s piece is “How to compile your own playlist”. It’s basically a load of nonsense where she takes a whole page to say one decent thing: ‘each tune says and means something different to me, reminding me of a moment, a place or a person in my life’.

With that in mind, I have compiled two playlists of my own. In the first, as Jade says, each song means something different. If you think you should be on the list, and can’t find one that you think is dedicated to you, let me know! The second is just a (large) collection of my favourite songs.

Playlist #1

  • Road Rage – Catatonia
  • Café del Mar – Energy 52
  • For an Angel – Paul van Dyk
  • Scar Tissue – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Sixty Mile Smile – 3 Colours Red
  • Big Isn’t Beautiful – King Adora
  • S Club 7 – Reach
  • Shinobi vs. Dragon Ninja – Lostprophets
  • My Own Summer – Deftones
  • The Final Countdown – Europe
  • Trick Me – Kelis
  • Love Machine – Girls Aloud
  • What You Waiting For? – Gwen Stefani
  • Hot in Herre – Nelly
  • Bat Out of Hell – Meatloaf
  • Tribute – Tenacious D
  • Call Me – Blondie
  • Poison – Groove Coverage
  • Boys – Britney Spears
  • Bananza (Belly Dancer) – Akon
  • Hear My Name – Armand van Helden
  • Move On – Jet
  • Hard to Beat – Hard-Fi
  • Teenage Kicks – The Undertones

Playlist #2

I’ve limited myself to one favourite per artist, except where The Chilis and The Stones are concerned cuz it’s just to god damned difficult to choose!

  • Walk – Pantera
  • I’ve Just Begun Having My Fun – Britney Spears
  • Good Girl Down – Morcheeba
  • Supermuffdiver – King Adora
  • Are You Gonna Be My Girl – Jet
  • Sunny Afternoon – The Kinks
  • Do You Want To – Franz Ferdinand
  • Train In Vain – The Clash
  • Burn Burn – Lostprophets
  • Lucifer – The Crocketts
  • John, I’m Only Dancing – David Bowie
  • Digital Bath – Deftones
  • The Chauffeur – Deftones
  • The Masses Against the Classes – Manic Street Preachers
  • I Get Along – The Libertines
  • (S)aint – Marilyn Manson
  • Born to be a Dancer – Kaiser Chiefs
  • Cutt Off – Kasabian
  • Celebrate Your Mother – Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster
  • Drive – Incubus
  • Everlong – Foo Fighters
  • Your Head to Your Toes – Hefner
  • Brain Stew – Green Day
  • Paradise City – Guns n Roses
  • Living for the Weekend – Hard-Fi
  • Muscle Museum – Muse
  • Rock Star – NERD
  • Come as you Are – Nirvana
  • The Kids Aren’t Alright – The Offspring
  • Rocks – Primal Scream
  • Just – Radiohead
  • Renegades of Funk – Rage Against The Machine
  • Don’t Go Back to Dalston – Razorlight
  • States of Mind – Senser
  • Attention – Commander Tom
  • Reptilia – The Strokes
  • Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood – Santa Esmerelda
  • Sympathy for the Devil – Rolling Stones
  • Get off my Cloud – Rolling Stones
  • Ruby Tuesday – Rolling Stones
  • Paint it Black – Rolling Stones
  • Breaking the Girl – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Suck My Kiss – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • I Could Have Lied – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • My Lovely Man – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Can’t Stop – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • On Mercury – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Emitremmus – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Right on Time – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Fortune Faded – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Good Time Boys – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Me & My Friends – Red Hot Chili Peppers

Stay tuned for more ‘things every girl needs to know’.

Other

Wwww….First posting

I’m not entirely sure what to say in this first posting.

Two weeks today i’ll be going down to London with Mum, and two weeks tomorrow I’ll be on my way to Honduras. Nervous/excited.

Still got to get my final rabies jab and pick up my malaria prophylaxis. Haven’t even thought about what I’m going to pack, which is totally unlike me (usually got a list as long as my arm and have attempted packing several times by now). Haven’t learnt nearly as much Spanish as I would’ve hoped. I can see myself getting there and getting totally lost and all the locals sniggering at the stoopid white girl not learning the language! Ah, what fun!

List of Possible Films on my flight:

  • War of the Worlds (alien invasion, mixed reviews, gets Mikey angry)
  • Batman Begins (self-explanatory, good reviews)
  • Crash (racism in LA, mostly good reviews)
  • Cinderella Man (depression-era boxer, good reviews but looks depressing. Rubbish name too)
  • Kingdom of Heaven (Crusades film with good reviews and starring Orlando Bloom, Ed Norton, Jeremy Irons and Marton Csokas. Might just watch it on mute)
  • Monster In Law (J-Lo. Need I say more? Except, what was Jane Fonda thinking?)
  • Outbreak (film about a virus epidemic with a decent cast and good reviews)
  • The Honeymooners (film about get-rich-quick schemes: terrible reviews, sounds rubbish)
  • Dear Wendy (drama about American misfit youths and guns. Sounds hard-going)
  • North by Northwest (yes the Hitchcock classic. Might watch it seeing as Psycho is the only Hitchcock film I’ve watched)
  • Madagascar (seen it in the cinema, not as funny as Toy Story or Shrek, but you gotta love those lemurs)