I´ve realized over the past few days that I´ve really adjusted to life here. It´s much slower, much simpler and I can´t believe that I haven´t checked my cell phone in a week! These past few days the heat has been really intense along with the humidity where you have a constant layer of sweat. For a few nights there has been just as extreme storms with the rain falling from the sky and a concert of lightning and thunder that goes on for hours.
Two days ago I went went with a group of about 16 teens and their younger brothers and sisters to the Cerro Cahui Biotopo. It´s a beautiful hike where we saw monkeys who came closer when we stopped to take a look at them. It was a family of about 6 of them. Although I´ve been warned that they sometimes throw things at you or try to take things off of you like your sunglasses, they just dangled from the trees and appeared just as curious about us as we were with them.
After hiking the Temples in Tikal the day before, I was a bit exhausted hiking up this big hill in the Biotopo but having 16 kids all wanting to go further to reach the lookouts, once we got there, I understood. The view was incredible and from a distance I could see the dock where I spend a lot of time resting and swimming in the lake. This lake is one of the things I am going to miss most. It´s stunning natural beauty, the gift it gives me of cooling off from the heat, and the many friends I´ve met who come for the same reason.
That night I brought a bag of gluten free pasta that I brought from home to the Italian restaurant next door for Angelo to prepare with one of his yummy sauces served with some wine from Chile. I´m trying to stick to my gluten free diet here as much as possible but it´s difficult. Over the past few days I´ve also eaten more vegetables compared to the first few. We played a game with a little girl there, taking turns hiding her stuffed animal dog, closing our eyes and telling each other if you are hot or cold, of course in Spanish. She was pretty darn smart as to where she was hiding it!
Everyday I´m getting up around 7am which is so unusual for me, especially because that means that it´s 6am at home. Usually I get up around 8am and I go to bed anywhere between 11pm to midnight. Here it´s been between 9-10pm. I´m wondering if I´ll be able to keep that up at home…
Yesterday I spent the morning at the dock swimming, reading my book and having lunch with Allison. We prepared a fruit salad that included papaya, apples, bananas and strawberries sprinkled with fresh lime from trees on the hotel grounds. I then went and met Dy (Dyana) from Australia who is here volunteering. In the morning she assists the town doctor and then everyday at 2pm she goes to the kids center and does arts and crafts with the little ones. I brought them some construction paper, some glue and some Play Doh to contribute to their supplies. It was fun watching their creativity come alive with the masks they made, one of the many creative ideas that Dy has come up with to keep them entertained.
After visiting with the kids I walked down the hill and went with Allison to go see Estella and her beautiful 5 year old, Esmerelda. We all went swimming and as dinnertime came upon us we had fish dinner prepared for us by Estella served with pasta lefovers and salad. There was a family there visiting from Guatemala city. Their little one, also 5 and also named Esmerelda, was such a comedienne. She kept wanting to tell me joke after joke which of course was difficult for me to understand but with further explanation from her parents, I got it and was able to join them in laughter.
This morning I was supposed to meet with the teens again to learn more English. After waiting for a half hour which is normal here, unfortunately no one showed. I don´t think it´s because of a language barrier, I know the days of the week pretty well. Is it lack of motivation? Did their families say they have to stay home and do their daily life chores? Rather than pondering about it further, I decided to go to the internet cafe, do another blog entry and will enjoy the rest of my day. I do hope I get to see them again.