Tuesday, February 3, 2009

How We Managed To Completely Skip the Month of January

Well it's been quite awhile since I last wrote, but for a good reason. After Christmas in Washington with my family, we headed home for a few short days to finish packing up our home. We left for El Salvador on the 1st of January. What a trip! Before we actually left the country we got to get rerouted, after many hours in the airport, to Seattle of all places so Kent could renew his passport. It didn't expire until April, but Apparently El Salvador has a rule that your passport must be good for six months upon arrival. Nowhere in our travel itinerary was that mentioned (Orbitz), so we had a hard time getting started, but had fun hanging out in Seattle for a day. Delta rescheduled everything for us free of charge, and we sure learned a lot!

Once we got to El Salvador, we got to see where Kent lived when he worked for HELP International, and we even got to return to the ward he attended while there. On our way to Church, we took a wrong bus somewhere and ended up in El Parque Libertad, one of the most dangerous parts of El Salvador! We saw a cool cathedral while there, but it was a little scary, so we didn't stay long. We found our way to Church and got to see several people Kent knew when he lived there. We also met this Awesome couple, Erin and Jay, that are from the US and are living down there right now. Jay actually worked for HELP a few years before Kent, and now he works for the Embassy down there. Anyway, they were so kind and helpful to us down there, they took us to there beautiful home for Sunday dinner, and then back to our hotel.

Monday morning around 5am we took a bus to Guatemala. We went to Antigua, this beautiful old town that used to be Guatemala's capital. While there we decided to splurge and we stayed a night in a top 500 and the #1 hotel in Central America and Mexico, El Santo Domingo. It's an old monestary that is just incredible! We had dinner there and felt like royalty all night. Early the next morning we took a bus to el Volcan Pacaya, a very active volcano. We climbed to the top of the volcano and actually got to see the lava and poke sticks in it! It was so hot up there, and we ended up walking on 7 day old lava crust that actually had flowing lava beneath it. Not the smartest thing we could have done, but hey, it was HOT!!! From Pacaya we took a bus to Lake Atitlan, a beautiful crater lake nested between several immense volcanoes. Now at this point I should mention the road systems in Central America--it's insanity on wheels down there! The 'chicken buses' and microbuses we took down there are essentially retired American school buses that have been suped up and gutted out to make room for more seats. The roads down there are ridiculous! Our trip to Atitlan was like a massive roller coaster ride with now brakes! Ahhh! But we made it and had so much fun touring the pueblos around the lake.

After Atitlan we took an eight hour, overnight bus to the Mayan ruins of Tikal. The seats in the bus were like glorified first class seats in an airplane. It was quite the experience to say the least. We spent several hours hiking through the forests of Tikal and saw some amazing things. We got to climb the temple ruins and saw some spider monkeys, and, my favorite howler monkeys fighting! They were right above our heads yelling at each other and it was great! We went to Flores, this fun little island town for dinner. We also paid a lady a couple bucks to use her ghetto shower that was really a pipe sticking out of a wall that shot cold water at you. But after two consecutive overnight buses, even that felt refreshing and clean! There was a carnival going on there, which consisted of old American fair rides that were no longer considered safe and were sent to El Salvador to 'die.' We went on this rickety old ferris wheel that was going so fast you lost your stomach every time around! Fortunately, we survived--somehow.

After that we took another overnight bus back down to El Salvador, where we met up with Jay and Erin and there adorable daughters again. They took us up to Juayua, an awesome festival town where there were rows and rows of food and fun things for sale. We had lunch there, and then the two of us hiked down to these beautiful waterfalls. We swam around there for a bit and just enjoyed our time, and went back up to town. While up there, we somehow managed to run into a family Kent taught English to with HELP! They were so awesome and offered to take us back to San Salvador so we wouldn't have to take a bus! Before taking us to Jay and Erin's, they took us to this great mountain where we hiked up and had this amazing view of the capital, the ocean, surrounding volcanoes, and the sunset! It was amazing! Then they took us to dinner, yummylicious papusas! We had an amazing time! The next morning, Jay took us to a beach and fish market where we got to see (and smell) how many people make a living down there. We then flew home and got back into the states on January 11th. What an amazing trip we had! We have so many fun memories, pictures, and even plans of what we want to do next time we go down! Thus, the first half of January had passed without us.

The rest of our January Adventures is soon to come...

1 comment:

Kenneth said...

You guys have way to much fun. You need to move back out west soon.