Friday, May 21, 2010

Antigua, Guatemala

These keyboards are going to be the death of me!  How can they be so different? I've already hit backspace at least 18 times!  Everything is in weird sorry for typos!

Okay, so I made it to Antigua.  And I've been up all night and am at my hostel now and going to sleep for a couple of hours, but I'll try and give a quick update

Well after I ate a TEN DOLLAR sandwich (Yea, TEN DOLLARS) at the airport in Chicago, I found my gate and found a corner to try and sleep in.  I'm pretty sure I fell asleep for about an hour sometime between 12:30 and 2am.  Boarded the plane at 2:30 and left a little before 3.  WHAT was I thinking with a 3am flight??  Well, I know what I was thinking, I was thinking this is $200 - what a deal!!  Won't be doing that again...I'm too old for this all night stuff! ;)  And who eats breakfast (waffles!) at 4am!?  Well I do apparently...  But it was still TOO EARLY even for me! (I’m a morning person)

The flight was about 4 hours, on a BIG jet but I just couldn't get comfortable.  I sat next to two young boys from Lee's Summit who were going to visit there family in Peru for the summer.  I slept a little, I think.  Landed in Guatemala City around 6am. 

I was surprised at how run down it is.  I guess I was expecting something, I don't know, nicer??  Pretty dirty and run down and slummy in my opinion.  So I got off the plane and followed the signs to immigration and customs, NO ONE in line.  The airport is dead at 6am!! :)  Once I got through that, I exchanged a little bit of money (only a little bit because you always get crappy rates at the airport!) and then headed for the EXIT sign.  I was told to walk outside  and head to the right and I will find shuttle buses going to Antigua.  I was expecting a big bustling bus station with lots of buses.  Like it was in South America where people are banging on the side of buses trying to get you to get on.  Well...I could see outside and see that there were TONS of people just lined up waiting, but not ONE bus to my right OR to my left.  I just couldn't handle getting heckled this early in the morning.  I am sleep deprived!  So I backed up.  Yep, I chickened out at the airport!  Haha!  I went to the bathroom, splashed my face with some cold water, and gave myself a little pep talk.  Yea, you can laugh now. :)  I had to get myself prepared to figure out how to get out of that sea of people trying to grab me and pull me in taxis.  Okay, so shocking, but turns out I was being a little dramatic.  (It HAS been like that before though in other countries!)  So feeling all brave with my tough girl face on, I walk outside and act like I know exactly where I'm going.  I turn to the left (I don’t know why – less people that way I think), and there are of course a group of guys standing there.  One of them says, "Antigua?" and I was like OMG THANK YOU!  Haha...I kinda glanced up, trying to act tough and said yea.  He said oh follow me, I take you.  I said how much, he said ten bucks, I said done and followed him to a little shuttle bus a few hundred yards away. The ONLY one around!  He told me to wait for a little bit because he was waiting on two more people.  

I sat on this curb for about 30 minutes waiting, talking to some other guy who spoke pretty good English.  He told me all about Guatemala and Costa Rica.  Then my guy came back and was like oh I'll just take you, I feel bad making you wait.  Kinda started to freak out.  SHOULD NOT GET IN BUS WITH RANDOM GUY IN FOREIGN COUNTRY ALONE.  But, well, you know, what else was I supposed to do!  So after talking to him for a little bit, I got a pretty good vibe, and hopped in.  (SORRY MOM) 

BUT - it turned out to be a good decision! He turned out to be SUPER nice, an older guy from California that moved down here to make money for his family.  He spoke perfect English, told me all about the chicken buses and how bad they are, and everything I need to know about Antigua and where to go and how to buy a phone, etc.  Antigua is a beautiful little town, ALL cobblestone one-way tiny little streets.  Surrounded by green volcanoes and beautiful countryside!  Wait, back to my driver/new friend:  He was GREAT!  He took me directly to a hostel in Antigua instead of dropping me off at the city park and making me walk. 

Hostel 5 is clean, owner (in the pic) is super friendly and very helpful.  I have a shared dorm room with six beds in it and a bathroom!  So long story short, the driver was a super great guy.  And I am one lucky girl.  So anyways, I could write more, but I'm going to bed now.  (Oh and I gave him $20 instead of $10 for being so nice and not kidnapping me!) ;)

I'M HIKING PACAYA VOLCANO this afternoon!!  Can't wait!  I'll try and write more tonight - and mom, if I buy a phone today, I'll try and text you or something.


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