Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Final Guatemalan Post

After a hard mornings work on the website and on Nikki and Scott’s presentations, Anne and Enrique invited us over for lunch. Lunch was amazing. We had a rice dish with chicken and chilies amongst other things. I am going to have to get the recipe. For dessert, Anne served us the “Ultimate Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich.” The outside tasted like a warm peanut butter cookie with big peanut chunks and inside there were two different kinds of jellies: watermelon and strawberry jelly. They were fantastic. After lunch, it was time to have some fun. Anne took us to a canopy tour about twenty minutes away and the ride was not easy because the road to the tour had thousands of potholes, so we had to swerve left and right to avoid them.

Once we got there, it was time to strap up. Because of my size, it took awhile to get me ready, and they needed about four extra carabineers to make sure everything was secure on me. Once everyone was strapped up, we walked up the swinging bridge and it was time for our adventure. Elmer and Earl were our guides and were definitely pros at the zip-line. This was definitely one of the highlight moments of the trip. Everyone had a great time and no one was afraid of heights. There were about 12 to 15 different zip-lines that were part of the course, and the majority was around 50 ft. high, but some were 75 ft, and a couple was a 100 ft. high in the canopy. Some of the lines our guides told us not use the break and not hold on. They called it “monkeying.” That was a lot of fun except for I hit some leaves and branches, and I almost hit my head on a tree and other things because of my size and length. Sometimes we would not make it all the way to the end of the zip-line so we would have to pull ourselves to the end. It was quite the workout, plus being at the top of the canopy was very smoldering and we were all sweating profusely. Nevertheless, we had a great time and I can’t wait to go zip-lining again soon. Our next escapade was to Ix – Lu. It is an old Mayan site that Anne showed us around, and we climbed to the top of an old pyramid that the Earth has reclaimed and now just looks like a big hill. Ms. Anne also found us some ancient pieces of Mayan clay pottery.

After looking at the Mayan ruins, we raced back to Gringo Perdido to catch a glimpse of the superb sunset. To get a better view I put my camera in a zip-lock bag and swam out to the floating pontoon boat right off the shoreline of Lake Petén. By the time I reached the boat I was out of breath because I could only swim with one hand to keep my camera dry and above water. Just in the nick of time, we were able to capture some perfect pictures of the sunset as it slowly sank into the horizon. Following our swim was dinner. It was delicious as usual. We started with a chicken broth and potato soup and a cabbage, carrot, and raisin coleslaw. The main course was two burritos with vegetables inside. I have grown very fond of the habenero hot sauce. I have been using it more liberally each meal we have. I guess it is somewhat of an acquired taste. For dessert, we had a bowl of succulent rice milk custard that tasted like Coldstone Sweet Cream Ice Cream.

The only thing left to do was some stargazing and talk with each other, and then it was lights out to get ready for Sunday.

Sunday started early with a 7:30 AM breakfast. We had hot bananas, granola cereal with milk, and a pair of eggs over easy with salsa and potatoes. The only thing necessary to add was some spicy habenero sauce. To work off our breakfast we decided to tour the Biotopo Cerro Cahui. It was kind of expensive at 40 Quetzals, but we went anyway. It was a very tough 2.5 miles hike with lots of hills. We were hot, sweaty, and tired, but all of us needed the exercise. After the hike, we took a dip in the pool, and then it was time to get ready for the presentations this afternoon. We are hoping to have a good turnout, and we believe it will be very beneficial to the locals.

As we were setting up the room for the presentation we forgot to bring the projector, so Anne and I had to run back by Gringo Perdido to pick it up. It was not a big deal because we came up to Project Ix-Canaan early enough in case something like that did happen.

Today will be our last day to use computers for e-mail and to work on the website. Tomorrow will be a fun day. We are going to see the world-famous Mayan Ruins of Tikal. It will be an early morning but the excitement should empower us to get out of the bed and on the road. That will be a day trip and we will be exhausted when we get back. Tuesday, we will have to say our goodbyes to this Guatemalan Paradise. We catch and early flight… knock on wood… we hope everything goes the way it is supposed to, and we will be able to see our loved ones Tuesday night.

Thanks to all who kept up with our blog and posted comments. We are in a pickle because we would love to stay longer to enjoy and explore all that Central America has to offer, but then also we all miss our families and can’t wait to spend Thanksgiving with them. This truly was a life changing experience, and all four of us will take so much away from we have learned and the new memories we have with each other in Guatemala. We were given the opportunity to work with the locals from Guatemala, and share our expertise on business and marketing. The ability to share our knowledge and expertise is why have all worked so hard to achieve a higher education. There is no greater gift we can give the locals here then to share with them our knowledge, and hopefully they can use and apply what we have taught them to change not only their lives but also the surrounding communities of Lake Petén for the better.

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