March 31, 2011

Wee Bit Wednesday On A Thursday!

I miss Wee Bit Wednesdays!

Between midterms, vacation, and more midterms I've barely had a chance to stop by here, let alone the blogs of other ladies. 

It's good to be back!

{one} if you won a trip to Disneyland/world, who would you take with you?
Probably my cousins' kids. They're 8, 5, 4, 3, and almost 1, and they would have SO much fun!

{two} when was the last time you listened to a CD?
At my mom's house; she has a great collection of Jazz.

{three} what spice/seasoning is your favorite?

I love freshly ground black pepper, cilantro, and curry. Not all together!

{four} if you were in a band, what kind of music would you play?

I would probably play piano. 
I played jazz piano for ten years, but I hardly remember anything!

{five} if you could have personally witnessed one historical event, which one would it be?
The big bang.
Too historical? Haha, fine. The building of the Pyramids was probably pretty cool.

{six} if you could go back to school, what would you study?

I already am back in school, but if I had to do it again I'd do exactly what I'm doing now. I'm getting a Master's of International Affairs in Human Rights and International Media, Advocacy, and Communication.

{seven} if you could go to one sporting event, all expenses paid, which one would you see?

   Whatever event had the most young, fit, close to naked, male athletes. Maybe crew?
I'm not a big sports person, but I'll put up with it if the, um, talent is worth watching :)

{eight} do you drive an automatic or a manual?
I drive neither (I don't drive), but I can drive both.
Not well.

{nine} are you comfortable speaking in front of people?
Yes, but I'm happier in front a smaller crowd.

{ten} have you ever experienced an earthquake?

Yes, several. 
The most recent was the Aquila earth quake that I felt all the way in Rome.

Don't forget to link up with Leigh!

March 28, 2011

Weekly(ish) Photo Essay: Antigua, Guatemala

Here is the last batch of my photos from Guatemala!

We spent the last two days in Antigua, a beautiful little town about an hour outside of Guatemala City. If you didn't know you were in Central America, you would almost say you were in Europe!

There are so many beautiful gardens and courtyards and archways, but the gardens are filled with tropical plants, the courtyards are filled with woven tapestries, and the archways are filled with taco and fruit vendors.

It has all the aesthetic charm of Europe with the passion and vivaciousness of Central America.

We spent the first evening walking around and seeing Antigua by night and hanging out with my friend Osione whom we'd run into in Panajachel.

Apparently MacDonald's is almost a luxury in Guatemala, and we found the most beautiful MacDonald's in the world. It had a lovely courtyard with a fountain, floral arrangements, and even real china!

The next day we walked around some more, taking pictures, going shopping for gifts and souvenirs, and using our last day in Guatemala to take advantage of all the delicious street food we weren't going to be able to eat again.

We visited the only five star hotel in Guatemala, built on ruins and surrounded by beautiful gardens, by day and by night, when all the ruins are covered in candles.

Back to the main square we got some beers and Lee and Osione danced to some drummers.

Later at night we met up with some of Lee's boyfriend's friends and hiked up a hill above Antigua to see the sunset behind the volcano and see the city from above.

On our way down from the hill Barbara and I stopped back at the five star hotel to take pictures of the candles, while Lee and her boyfriend went off to spend a last evening together.

 At this point both Barbara's and my camera batteries dies, so these are the last photos I have. But we spent the rest of the evening getting our last delicious tacos, packing, and getting a drink at the Irish pub, and randomly running into the guys we'd celebrated St. Patty's Day with.

We sadly went back to the hostel around midnight because we had to be up by 3am to make our 4am shuttle to the airport. Miraculously we managed to sleep for three hours and actually wake up in time, and we sleepily made our way to Guatemala city to come back to the US.

Overall this was a spectacular vacation. It was exciting, relaxing, new, delicious, and fun. Not to mention cheap! The entire vacation (air fare, transportation, accommodation, food, entertainment, and gifts... including the costs of the ATM fraud and bank fiasco) cost me about $750. 

Definitely a great vacation option for those on a shoe string budget, as long as you have an adventurous spirit, and can put up with the occasional cold shower.

March 25, 2011

Weekly(ish) Photo Essay: Lago Atitlan, Guatemala

After recovering from spending a whole day dealing with bank and police drama, Barbara and I spent the morning at the hot springs before getting on another long bus ride to Lago Atitlan, a huge lake at the base of two or three volcanoes, surrounded by cute little towns on the lake's shore.

We headed to San Pedro, an adorable little idyllic lush village with a gorgeous Spanish school where all teaching happens in a tropical garden, delicious little cafes, and a number of bars owned by relaxed and barefoot ex-pats.

We stayed in the lovely Pinocchio Hotel, where every room had a balcony with a hammock that faced the beautiful lake, surrounded by palm trees and fragrant flowers.

The first night we were there (Wednesday) we had a yummy dinner at The Clover, the local South-Asian-food-serving Irish Pub, and then had some drinks at Buddha Bar with some hilarious British "gap years" (adorable 18- and 19-year-olds taking a year off between high school and university), staying in our hotel, who were all kinds of exuberant and fresh-faced. Needless to say, they were very entertaining.

We turned in early to wake up for a 9am yoga class al fresco, taught outdoors in an exquisite garden surrounded by greenery to the sounds of the lake and the birds. So peaceful.

Then we had yummy fruit shakes and took a very agitated and wet boat ride across the lake to Panajachel, a town less cute than San Pedro, but with an amazing market; the perfect place to buy all the presents we needed to bring home.

 And on the streets of Panajachel we randomly bumped into a friend of mine from school! What a small world!

Later that day Lee and Royer came to meet us, and they went to have a drink with Barbara while I got a wonderful massage.

That night was St. Patty's Day, so we went back to The Clover and parties Irish-style with a bunch of Americans who had come down prepared with St. Patty's Day gear.

Friday morning we spent the morning tanning on some boulders by the lake before having a delicious lunch at Buddha Bar and rushing to make our shuttle to Antigua.

Stay tuned for photos and stories from Antigua and our last couple of days in Guatemala!