Deep blue sea, darlin’ on the deep, deep blue sea. I could not get that Grizzly Bear song out of my head pretty much the entire time I was on my eight day cruise around the Galapagos Islands. Cruising around on a luxury yacht is definitely several steps up from the grimy dorm room hostels I am used to traveling in, but lucky I have a Grandfather who made my voyage aboard ‘The Millenium’ possible. For this I am so grateful, because it really was life changing. Every single day felt like being in a National Geographic documentary, with each day somehow managing to get better than the last.
I just finished my last day of Spanish classes, maybe ever. It feels great, this last week stopped being fun and just felt hard. I sort of miss making the silly mistakes I used to when I first started studying, it always gave me something to laugh about at the end of the day. Thinking that someone was saying ‘I love you, stupid’ instead of ‘I love you a lot,’ telling people I was pregnant instead of embarrassed, saying I wanted to ride a ‘cowboy’ instead of a ‘horse’… those were the good old days. Luckily, I’ll be staying with Tatiana and her family for another three weeks, so I will still have an opportunity to practice, which is what I need the most at this point. Still, when people speak Spanish quickly, to me it sounds like they’re speaking in tongues, need to work on that…
‘The usual by-passer is a woman sauntering slowly down the road with bundles upon bundles balanced on her head. These woman are pillars of wonder, defying gravity while wearing the ho-hum aspect of perfect tedium. They can sit, stand, talk, shake a stick at a drunk man, reach around their backs to fetch forth a baby to nurse, all without dropping their piled-high bundles upon bundles. They are like ballet dancers entirely unaware they are on stage. I cannot take my eyes from them.’
I am currently reading The Poisonwood Bible, and this quote describes far better than I ever could the way I felt every time I saw the Mayans in Guatemala walking down the street balancing all kinds of crazy things on their heads. I really do miss it.
I was woken up this morning by what I would have sworn were gun shots, and the eruption of car alarms that followed… And thus begins the next three months of my life in Ecuador. Yep, after my whirlwind three week tour of California, I am already back in Quito. My time in California flew by, I managed to pack in Coachella, U.C. Santa Barbara’s All-Gaucho Reunion, and a visit to the north to see almost all of my extended family… I think I only slept five nights in my own bed, and now I am really looking forward to staying in one place for longer than a couple days.
Turns out, the ´gun shots´ I heard this morning were part of a celebration they have during the month of May for the Virgen… I didn´t really understand all of the explanation my family gave me, but the more time I spend in Latin American countries, the more I love how celebrations don´t just last for one day, they really know how to draw out a fiesta over the course of a week, or in this case, a full month.
I forgot to mention in my last post that I’ll be spending the next eight weeks in Guatemala living with a host family, taking Spanish classes, and hopefully finding someplace to volunteer once my Spanish starts to become halfway decent. The plan right now is to stay in Xela for five weeks, head over to Antigua and continue taking classes while watching the Semana Santa festivities for another two weeks, and then travel for the last week, hopefully seeing Semuc Champey, Tikal, and the Rio Dulce, depending on how ambitious I’m feeling by that point. Right now I’m a little bit worried about safety, I have read mixed reports, although I heard the same things about Ecuador, and I didn’t have any problems when I was there.