Sunday, September 4

Journal: Monday August 22

This morning, we had breakfast outside on one of the patio areas near the restaurant. I had a ham and cheese omelet, but the cheese was, though prepared, not melted like in omelets that I've had in the States. It was quite good though. My Dad offered me his watermelon juice, or sandia, which means "watermelon." After breakfast we returned to our rooms and my Mom and I changed into our swimming suits and we all went to the swimming pool, which had a 20 to 25 foot tall water slide, along with some caves and a fountain. I should say that none of the pools in Guatemala seem to be very deep. Even the hot springs never got more than 4 or so feet deep. The swimming pool here was about 3 and a half to 4 feet all throughout.

The "caves" were basically cut outs in the rock, but the cut outs went up really high, like as much as 8 feet inn places. There was a fountain that came down over those openings with different amounts and speeds of water at different places. It was fun to explore that area. We then swam around for awhile and explored how big the pool was, which was pretty big. After awhile, we went to the water slide. The slide was big, but not too big. Even my Mother went on it, each time that I did, which equaled about 4. I had the most fun probably listening to her come off the slide. The description can’t do it justice, but all I would hear would be her short scream, and then a splash. It was terribly funny, and each time I heard this, it caused me to double over with laughter. Then when she asked what was so funny, it took me a few minutes before I could catch my breath. We later found out that the Guatemalans go down the slide sitting and land on their feet when they come off the slide. I can’t imagine going down a water slide sitting sstraight up. That seems to go against the “rules of sliding” for me, : There are some interesting pictures of us going down the slide and landing.

We went down the slide several times and then explored the fountains and caves some more. We went down the slide once more before finally getting out and drying off. We then went back to our rooms and changed and packed up our stuff to check out. While my Dad was loading the car and checking out, my Mother and I walked around the hotel grounds, admiring the landscape and taking quite a few pictures of the trees, the birds, and other landscaping.

The landscape around the hotel grounds was beautiful! It had many palm trees, vines around some of the trees, pretty flowers, different kinds of birds, other trees, ferns, tropical plants, and more. It's hard to describe the lush environment. We took quite a few pictures, but I'm not even sure those can capture the beauty. Many of the trees were very large. In the States, you might buy a small crocus plant for $7, that might only be 10 or so inches tall. Here, since they have the tropical environment going year round, their crocus trees are 9 feet tall. Plus, some of the palm trees with tactile circles going around their trunks every couple of inches, were 15 feet tall. My Mother said that I wasn't missing much though since this beauty is only a fraction of what I'll see in Heaven, but that fraction was pretty awesome!

When we finally pulled out of the hotel area and left Irtra, it was about 12:30. Guatemala is a country of contrasts. Even though Irtra was beautiful, as soon as we left its limits, we saw some poor people, many with no shoes, walking along the roadway. To further explain the contrast, there was several ordinary houses right by the nice city of Irtra.

We stopped for lunch at about 1 at a place that looked like a nice Denny’s restaurant. I had the special, which was a chicken sandwich, fries and an ice tea. We were on the road again by 2 and home by about 4:15.

Monday evening

After my Mother got dinner started, she took me on a tour of their neighborhood, which was in a large rectangle shape. We met some of her neighbors and chatted with them for a little while. We had to cut our tour short though, since there was the rumble of distant thunder. The neighborhood consists of about 47 lots, 30 of which have houses on them. The other 17 lots are empty and there are these empty lots every few houses throughout the rectangle neighborhood. In fact, my parents’ house even sits by an empty lot. Across the street from their house is a moderately sized field where the neighborhood kids often play soccer in the afternoons. My parents left the front door to their car port open Monday afternoon, and we heard the sounds of boys playing games in that field. That was kind of cool to hear, and for me anyway, gave it a real “neighborhood feel,”

I spent much of Monday evening packing, which my Mother helped me with, which I greatly appreciated. Especially since I brought backa few things and had to arrange everything in my suitcase just so. After we packed and got everything squared away, my Mother and I played a few last games of the Mexican Train dominos game. This seemed to go on forever, mainly because in the last game, we couldn’t find the proper dominos to end the game. Anyway, we had lots of fun. My Dad was watching TV this whole time, “vegging out” as he calls it. We had to get to bed at a decent hour since we would be getting up really early the next morning.

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