Sunday, August 28

Journal: Friday August 19

(I had 3 pictures with this post, but I had trouble posting them due to mislabeled buttons on Blogger. Therefore, I will put them on my website. I will tell you tomorrow where you can find them.)

On Friday, I had breakfast to the sounds of fire crackers and a mariochi band. Apparently in Guatemala, a celebration can happen at any time, day or night. It seemed kind of weird to hear fire crackers at 8:30 in the morning though. One of the neighbors was celebrating in their garage.

About mid morning, we left for some hot springs which are close to an active volcano, which is why the springs stay so warm or hot. That was a lot of fun. The springs were set in several natural looking pools, with stones all around the edges and tops of the pools. I found this particularly interesting since I love textures and shapes. There were about 4 or 5 different pools, each with a different degree of water in them. A few were really cold, and there were some that were really hot. I also discovered, much to my amazement and enjoyment, that all of the pools, or at least the ones I went in, had tiles on the bottoms of them. It seems that tiles are big players in Guatemala.

One pool was the hottest and next to it was one that was luke warm, not real cool but not burning up either. When looking on the wall of the luke warm pool, I found several holes that had PBC pipes inside them. There were several of these holes which were around the pool in various places. The water that was coming from all but one of those holes was warm, which led me to believe that there were several of those pipes fixed to the hot pool, and they went to the moderately warm one. There may have been other holes and pipes in the other pools. I don't know; I never went into any of the others. I had a lot of fun exploring this moderately warm pool and soaking in the hot one, so did my parents I think.

Another interesting thing about the moderately warm pool was it had a diving board, of sorts. The board wasn't really a board, since it was made out of stone, so you really couldn't bounce on it. The interesting thing I found was a sqrare or rectangular hole at the bottom of the pool right under the stone diving board. I was able to put one of my legs through the hole and to the other side, but I couldn't feel if there was a covering where my foot was. Thus, I concluded that this was another one of those holes, but this time, it went from the "kiddy pool" to the moderately warm pool. Why they put it at the bottom though, I'll never know. I should mention that of the pools I was in, the hot and the moderate warm one, they were not that deep. Maybe 3 feet in the hot one and about 4 or 5 feet, in certain places, in the moderate one.

There were several chairs, some regular and some lawn chairs, that were in the various pools so that you could sit or stretch out in the chair and soak in the warm or hot pools. This was really enjoyable. Also, there were quite a few shelves built into the ppools, especially in the hot pool, where you could sit or stretch out and put part or all of your body under the water, which felt good as well. Although, it took me awhile before I found comfortable positions on some of these.

Around the entire pool area there were several mountains. My parents said it was a beautiful view. My Dad even took several pictures of me in one of the pools.

We stayed either in or near the water for several hours, having lunch at some point during all that. We finally had to get out because it looked like rain. Guatemala has two basic times of the year, in place of seasons: its either the dry or rainy season. Rainy is from May to October and dry from November to April. So, if it starts sprinkling, it may be hard to tell if it's going to really rain hard or just sprinkle.

After we dried off and got changed, we stopped in a restaurant that was right by the hot springs. There were about 8 or so paraketes, some light and dark blue and some yellow. These created a good background noise to the restaurant. We all got ice cream bars on a stick, which were chocolate with almonds. When we finished we came back home. I think we might watch a movie tonight, but I'm not sure. The hot springs was the main activity for today. I think we might go to a shopping area tomorrow, which should be interesting.

Interesting observations or facts of Guatemala City:

As we were driving out of the car port and down our neighborhood streets, my Dad said he saw a man who was walking a cow on a rope leash, with the rope around the cow's neck. My Dad said that sometimes during the day, you might see several cows in a grassy field grazing, and then at night the cows would be "picked up" by their owners and walked back home.

The movie theater sells ice cream bars as part of their consession. I must say that I've never heard of being able to buy ice cream bars at a movie theater before. It was very good though. It was the same thing as the ice cream we had today, except without the almonds.

Guatemala City has 2.5 million people living in or around it. Thus, it's the largest city in the country. And, they have "rush hour" just like we do in the States, though some of their main roads are not nearly as big as ours, having only 2 or 3 lanes on each side. Also, there is only one English speaking church in the whole country, and it's in Guatemala City.

The people in Guatemala are very security conscious, many of them having walls or bars around their houses or businesses. My Mother said that for shopping at a business, you would go up to the bars and tell the owner what you wanted to buy. And then they'd bring it to you.

Same thing with our immediate neighborhood: there's a wall around several houses, and a guard stationed at the gated entrance. In fact, there was a wall around the hot springs area that we were at today.

There is public transportation, of sorts, here but it takes a different meaning. They don't have fixed routes for the busses. You just get on when you see one that stops, pay a fare, and try to find a seat. There may be times though that there are no seats, so you either stand, or you could climb on the outside of the bus. My parents say that there are people that actually do this, just pay the fare and climb onto the back bumper and hang on. Not the best method of travel in my opinion. In addition, none of the busses have wheelchair lifts on them, nor do any of them announce the stops for blind people. The state of disabled people is not good here, as I'll get to next.

If you don't want to ride on a bus full of people, you could take a pickup truck. Same as before, pay your fare and climb in the truck's bed. The drawback here is that you are exposed to the elements, whether they be sun, rain, wind, or others.

Disabled people here don't have much of a life. There's no government assistance, like Social Security, nor is there much of a chance for meaningful employment. If you're blind, then you're pretty much left to begging on the street. My parents said that its not uncommon to see a blind man (no blind women for whatever reason), walking along with a cane or stick, carrying a cup or bowl that they collect money in. I have also learned that you hardly ever see a blind person with a guide dog. I know that there must be some, but they just don’t go out into public for whatever reason. And, it need not be said that since there’s not many laws protecting disabled people, nor are there likely any laws protecting service animals (guide dogs), or allowing them to go into businesses. Like many other things, this appears to be one of those education areas, where you educate as you go along, except that there’s no laws to support your education of why your dog should be allowed in the business. My Mom said that there's much more opportunity for me in the U.S., and much more support. Though I didn't ask, I would imagine that there's not much in the way of organizations of blind people, given that most of the blind people are beggars. Also, on the same topic, my parents said that you don't see hardly anyone in a wheelchair. If nothing else, the state of people with disabilities here makes me appreciate the help and support I get living in the States. Even though government assistance may not yield much, its better than nothing, which is what they get or don't get in Guatemala.

That's about all for now. Until we talk again: Wayne.

No comments:

Post a Comment