Reigning animals

It literally rained cats and dogs last night … After a powerful thunderous and brilliantly-lit storm subsided, I was rudely aroused by a focal chorus of about 100 excited growling and barking dogs who kept me awake into the waking hours of my normal day. I gave in to wakefulness, after miserably failing to drown out the noise with a pair of earplugs, and spent some time trying to memorize my growing list of Spanish vocabulary.

Today’s afternoon school activity consisted of a drawn-out but intriguing visit to Salcaja (a Mayan town 30 minutes from Xela) to witness and experience the Tuesday-only market filled with local handmaid Mayan clothes; it proved to be typically expressive and colourful 3rd-world country market (flies engulfing slabs of meat, mud and garbage strewn everywhere, an incredible assortment of tropical veg and fruit — very much appealing but questionably safe for any Americanized stomach, etc). Then went to Central Americas oldest church – built in 1524. Quite beautiful maintaining all the while a very simplistic form and structure. After tearing ourselves away from the bonds of an incredibly enthusiastic tour guide, we then corralled ourselves into a tiny room to bear witness to a local man weaving a reel of traditional Guatemalan cloth (brilliantly patterned, colourful and specific to each town/region). From my understanding, it takes 8 weeks for him to weave the material for 1 complete skirt (Huipile as it’s known indigenously).
Salcaja is also famous for its two specialty liquors, Caldo de Fruitas which is fermented fruit & rum, as well as Creole Rompopo which is made from egg yokes. We had the chance to sample and potentially buy some of the traditional ‘fruity moonshine’. Quite strong and tasty; however, not my 1st liquor of choice :).

The time had come for me to buy another phone card for my cellular. Got excited because today was ‘double time’ — basically you get double the time for the money you spend. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that the card expires within 15 days {which actually doesn’t make it that much of a bargain as I wouldn’t necessarily use up that amount of $ so quickly}. Oh well, lesson learned. Thank goodness for Jeanie, another student along on the afternoon excursion (she’s fluent in Spanish). She was able to help me with setting up and retrieving my voicemail as well as helping to add my time to my phone. It’s hard to realize how complicated the simple things in life can become when you don’t speak the language (whether it be that of a foreign country, a computer or of life in general).

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