The stay at Backpackers was lovely, but finding it in the dark Friday night was quite comical. The english name made things interesting, and it's tucked back off of a side street so you can't just happen upon it from the main road. Hearing Chris try to ask for directions was cracking us up, especially when Chele "translated" giving the vowels different sounds and saying the syllables a little faster. It's hard to type, but hopefully you can imagine the spanish inflection. Those who can't will just have to find me stateside. Since then none of us have been able to say backpack without smiling and saying "behckpeyhkers" with some giggles.
So we arrived late Friday night, but were so happy to be able to leave right after school instead of taking off early (like 4am!!!) Saturday morning. We checked out the dorm and it surroundings the best we could with all the darkness, and all laughed at our slightly nervous attitude with staying there. None of us had stayed in a dorm, but we had heard great things about this place and had faith that we would enjoy our time there. We ended up meeting some really nice people, including a great couple from Canada who love to travel, sail and meditate. It is amazing the things you can learn just stopping to say hello to someone! But I'll get back to that later...
OK, so Friday night we celebrated Irene's birthday over dinner, and then slept a long sleep, all agreeing to wake up easy and have a slow Saturday morning. Breakfast was perfect. We must have sat at the table for hours! The view from the open-air restaurant was absolutely beautiful, the coffee was rich and satisfying and the homemade bread with jam was super tasty. The three of us girls sat chatting about all sorts of things, and then eventually decided we ought to do something while we were there. We walked across the bridge into town, and enjoyed discussing the semejanzas and differences between their market and our beloved vendors in Peña. Lunch was a delicious indulgence into some Guatemalan street food. They had fried pacaya, which was more exciting to the eyes than the palate. Irene and I battered and fried some once with Leah. It turned out tasty, but we thought we'd botched the whole batter and fry thing since we all lack experience with that technique. Turns out ours was way better than the "real" thing, so that was exciting. The Guatemalan chile relleno saved the day. I think I had three before we left! So tasty, and the woman who made them was so friendly and cheery I was happy we stopped at her stand.
|Coconut water and a breather walking across the bridge in the heat of the day!|
|This is Irene's plate, and she said the fist was tasty! The pacaya is in the middle under the tortillas, and the chile relleno is the little mound of glory on the right of the plate.|
Some of the group wanted an early start Sunday morning, so we were up with the birds (that saying makes less sense after living here, but I've come to think they might never rest...). Saturday afternoon Irene and I purchased a watermelon to tag-team on the ride home. The couple I mentioned from Canada? They are used to this type of travelling and came prepared with various kitchen tools. They lent us their knife to hack into the watermelon, and were apparently expecting a crazy mess wondering just how we thought we could turn a watermelon into road food. They brought me a cleaver and cutting board, and looked at me like I was nuts when I took the watermelon and cleaver down to the dock saying I didn't really need the cutting board. Once I showed that we just hack the melon in half, cheers with a pair of spoons and enjoy scoop by scoop, they were stoked to try it next time they walked into town. She said they'd always eyed the watermelon, but weren't quite sure how to work it into a manageable on-the-road snack. I am so glad we could help. Central american watermelon is sugary sweet, and sharing a watermelon with a good friend and good chatter is one of my favorite activities these days. On the drive home I also learned a new, easy (granted, messy!) way to eat mango, but I've already posted about that. It works best with the smaller, avocado-sized mangoes, but I've seen it done with the big boys too!
Visa extension can be a hassle to get organized, but we always manage to make it a good time, and sneak in a little adventure!