Another day, another blog. I am not getting any better at this. I am finally getting to know Xela a little better, and I spent the week/ weekend before last being a good tourist, and seeing many of the sites that make this place what it is…
The photo above is of Parque Central, taken from a cafe in the Pasaje Enriquez. The Pasaje Enriquez is big yellow open-air building, containing cafes, restaurants, bars and tour agencies. I think that Parque Central and the surrounding area is probably the most beautiful place in Xela, but also the most touristy. At Cafe Enriquez I had my first cup of real Guatemalan coffee, and it did the trick, that night I was able to stay out dancing until 5am.
This is the Fuentes Georginas, a natural hot spring in the cloud forests about 30 minutes away from Xela. The springs form three separate pools, each one a little cooler than the last. Allegedly if you drink the water straight from the falls it has healing properties, but I tasted it and it kind of tastes the way a boy’s locker room smells. You can also hike up the mountain through the misty greenery for a view of the highlands, but I opted to stay in the water and get pruney instead.
Once again, cheesing it up with my two favorite Danes. We are standing in front of the main church in Parque Central. The old church was destroyed in an earthquake in the early 1900s, but they kept the original facade, and built a new church directly behind it.
Xela is divided up into three different zones, Zone 1 being the most busy and touristy. My Spanish school and homestay are located in Zone 1, along with Parque Central, and most bars and restaurants. This photo was taken on the outskirts of Zone 1, when I was walking with some friends to a cafe called Blue Angel that lets you rent/watch movies for 10 quetzales a person. We stumbled upon our friend Dan the Canadian, who was playing his guitar on the arch and enjoying the sunset.
Saturday I took a stroll through Zone 3, all the way down to Xela’s zoo and surrounding park. Zone 3 has a completely different feel than Zone 1, people seem more relaxed, and you feel like you can breathe a little easier without the constant traffic and smog from cars. The zoo itself was pretty nice, not much compared to the good old San Diego Zoo, but still very enjoyable. We saw two jaguars having sex, honestly it was pretty gross, although the dozens of elementary school kids on a class field trip were loving it.
Finally, here is an example of a typical meal at my homestay. Present at every meal is a cup of tea and a bag of plain white bread from a chain bakery called Xela Pan. The tea flavor changes at every meal, sometimes Wilma buys different herbs from the market and boils them in hot water, my favorite is the lemongrass one she makes, but other times we have local flavors from a bag, like rosa de jamacia (hibiscus) or canela (cinnamon). This meal, a tamale con papas, and our enchiladas con carne, are my two favorites.
Alright, that is it for today. I don’t have much to do this week besides study Spanish and try to recover from this stomach virus I picked up, so I will try to update soon about my vacation to Tikal, Semuc Champey and the Rio Dulce this past weekend. Besos!