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Old 03-20-2013, 09:50 AM   #189
0theories OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Nov 2010
Location: Eugene, OR
Oddometer: 299
02/11/2013 – 02/12/2013 – San Marcos, and on the Quetzaltenango.

Playing catch-up...

At Hostel Del Lago.

Lake level is rising.

I spent a few days in San Marcos just chilling and hanging out with cool folks. After realizing that I wouldn't be taking Spanish lessons here, there wasn't much to do except relax and enjoy the sunshine. I did take a day trip to San Pedro to do some shoe shopping with a couple of girls I met. I didn't actually shop for shoes (choosing to go get coffee while they explored the stores), but the visit to another town was nice. A couple of days in the sun and I was ready to head further west, to Xela (Quetzaltenango) to find a school and learn some Spanish. Stephen recommended a good school right off the center so I decided I would try there first and see how it goes.

Trip to San Pedro.

The Honda Unicorn!!

Chicken Saint?

San Perdo Center.

Erin and Nicki.

The ride from San Marcos to Xela was pretty short, but beautiful. I had to climb out of the valley and the road was steep, narrow and very curvy, offering beautiful views. In some places the curves were so sharp that the chicken buses have to do a three point turn to make it around! I had no such problems :) I arrived in Xela after a couple of hours riding and checked into Miguel de Cervantes Spanish School (where I ended up staying for the next 5 weeks). Obviously I liked it, although I can't vouch for how much Spanish I actually learned. The people who work here are very cool and professional. I would recommend this school for any beginner or intermediate student. Accommodations at the school (I chose not to stay with a host family for several reasons, one being able to choose my own food) in a private room that ran 800Q ($100) a month or 250Q ($32) a week.

Mmmmm... coffee.

You can see the switch-backs...

Back on the main road.

And into the clouds.

Welcome to Xela!

After settling in, I went out to explore Xela a bit. It's a great little city that's easy to settle into. Everything I wanted or needed was within 6 blocks of the school including an extensive selection of great restaurants (local and foreign food), bars and clubs, a park and lots of coffee shops and cafes. After spending a bit of time in town I kept seeing familiar faces and running into the same people. Before long it was not unusual to meet up with people I knew wherever I went. I really enjoyed that feeling of “community” more or less after constantly being in new places and meeting new people.

Enthusiastically skeptical...
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Oregon to Panama RR (Guatemala actually...)
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