Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mexico City
On Sunday morning we left from the institute here in Puebla for Mexico City.
Pyramids at Teotihuacan
On top of the moon pyramid
We shared an aweseome hotel room for our first 3 nights in Mexico City
On top of the tallest building in Mexico City, El Torre, right after we experienced an earthquake...happy to be alive
El Torre behind us
Leaving our hotel for the baile folklorico
One of he many dances done during the Baile Folklorico
El palacio de bellas artes, where we saw the dancing
In a museum about bull fighting
The largest bull fighting ring in the world
Musuem of Anthropologie
With our host mom, Laura
The Mennonite church
The reinactment of the crucifixion
Creepin on cute babies
Visiting the Pyramids in Tula

We quickly became friends with the few kids at the church. Louise with Oliver and Emilio.
Emily with our families beetle

Friday, March 30, 2012

Puebla, Mexico!

So we've been in Puebla for 2 weeks now and we're loving it here! We have quickly adjusted to the new city, atmosphere, culture, and have formed new routines. We both are in an advanced Spanish class in the morning and then have a two hour conversation time with a native speaker. This has been a highlight for both of us as it's a great opportunity to both speak Spanish and get to know that city of Puebla. Puebla, which is the capital of the state Puebla, is one of the wealthier cities in Mexico. There are many museums, art galleries, churches, and events are constantly going on. 
The past two Wednesdays we went on afternoon trips to the neighboring cities of Cholula and Tlaxcala. In Cholula, we got to see many pyramids and ruins. In Tlaxcala, we visited a museum, a church, and got to see a bull fighting arena. 
While very different from Guatemala City, Puebla has been a great experience so far. Some highlights have been talking with our conversation partners, having more freedom and independence, trying Mexican foods such as cactus, living close to friends, and hanging out in the big park downtown after classes. On Sunday we leave for Mexico City for Holy Week celebrations...and we will of course be celebrating Emily's birthday as well!

Louise with her host parents, Meche and Pepe

Emily with her host mom, Gloria
One of the many colorful streets in Puebla
Puebla has lots of great outdoor seating 
Don and most of the girls outside a museum in Tlaxcala
We were in Cholula during the equinox and there´s a ritual to climb the pyramid and receive energy from the sun.  This is us on top of the pyramid soaking up the energy:)
The view from the top of a pyramid
In front of a Catholic church in Cholula
We love our leaders, Don and Ester!
Louise with her conversation partner, Myriam, at a train museum

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Free Travel - The Best and Worst Week of Our Lives

Thursday morning began our free travel week with a bang. Four out of eight did not show up at the bus station at the planned time because the taxi never showed up. They arrived around 40 minutes later than planned but thankfully we all made it on the bus to Puerto Barrios. We then faced unexpected traffic long enough to watch 2 full Jackie Chan movies at a stand still. We were certainly surprised to arrive in Puerto Barrios 3 hours later than planned. When we finally arrived in Puerto Barrios, we easily found our hotel which was nice. We stayed  2 nights in this small port town relaxing. On Saturday, we left by ferry to Punta Gorda, a port town in Belize. The ferry was certainly interesting, we all got soaked, and the waves were about 10 feet high. Our lives flashed before our eyes many times. We were very happy to safely arrive in Punta Gorda, Belize.

We then traveled by one more boat and ferry to our destination, Placencia, Belize. These ways of transportation were also very interesting. We arrived in Placencia close to dark, and unfortunately went to the first hotel we saw advertised. This was possibly the worst decision of our lives. Although the hotel was very safe, lets just say its accomodations were not up to par. If we would have decided to stay in this hotel all of our nights in Belize, most of the group would have had to stay in the same room as strange traveling men. Because of this, we decided to change hotels and move closer to town. We changed from our hotel called Seakunga, to a nice beach front beautiful cheap hotel. This was possibly the best decision we made during free travel. Four people stayed in each room. We had TV´s, Wifi, hammocks, and mini kitchens. We spent our days relaxing on the beach, and our nights eating in different Garifuna restuarants, and listening to live music.

On Wednesday, we left by ferry once more. This time to Livingston, Guatemala. The ferry ride was not nearly as horrible or terrifying as the first time. Once we arrived in Livingston, we found our hotel and spent the rest of our day relaxing and exploring. On our final day of free travel, we took a ferry tour of Rio Dulce. We got to visit an indigenous women´s coop and school. We also swam in a natural hot spring. We saw an island of birds, mangroves, and a castle. The tour took around three hours and we arrived in the town of Rio Dulce. Sadly from there, we boarded the bus back to Guatemala city. Our week of independence and adventure had ended.

Our final day at CASAS

Puerto Barrios

Our hotel in Puerto Barrios


Our ferry to Placencia


Caught in an akward moment

Our hotel after Seakunga

Our first real starfish experience

Livingston at a restaurant

A wonderful bird is a Pelican. His beak can hold more than his belly can. I wonder how in the hell he can.

yes. that is a pot of beans

Many children living on Rio Dulce canoe to school every day

Castillo de San Felipe