Guat's Up? A Mini-Vacation in Guatemala

I would be lying if I didn't say I have been extremely stressed lately in job hunting. Perhaps I'll eventually reveal all of the notes on that, but leaving teaching is difficult. Enough about that, I decided to give myself and the muse a fun little break (it would cost me more than I thought in the long run), but my wanderlust is insatiable as I knew I wouldn't be able to enjoy Africa during this summer. Guatemala would be in a rainy season and the transport from Guatemala City to Antigua would take awhile, but the trip would be a lot of fun.   

In the two days I was there, I would enjoy some wonderful Guatemalan stews, explore jade jewelry (huge resource there), good coffee, tons of crepes, exotic ice cream flavors such as curry peanut butter & maple hazelnut. Exploring the cheap markets of the city for a tamale was also fun with all of the kind people that I met throughout my travel. It's a nice and relaxing tourist town where everything is for the thrifty and the locals are amicable. I also want to make a note of all the good beer brewed in the country, it's surprising including the Gallo (chicken) beer and the people's love for the animal.

The big highlight of the trip was ATVing through the mountains and almost volcanoes through a foggy, muddy and rainy Antigua. Many of the views were beautiful - photos to come later - and looking through the mist, exploring a local village of Mayan descendants during a Corpus Christi celebration and seeing the lush greenery of city was a sight to behold. 

While unfortunately I was only able to see Guatemala City and the Fuego, Agua and Pacaya volcanoes from afar the rest of the experience was a tranquil and refreshing experience overall. As I said, travel is spirituality for me and even at the low points in my life I still need it.

Check out Guatemala, it's low prices, Mayan culture, friendly people (including the guys who sell flutes for some reason???? - Peru is the land of pan flutes, Guatemala is textile), and relaxing times will have you wanting to relax there forever.

Travelblog: Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon

Saigon is the city that made Vietnam grow on me. For some reason my original post on this was deleted so this probably won't be as strong a post as it should be. 

I had a great time in Saigon from the rooftop bars, motorcycle traffic again, the French buildings, and the East meets West fusion. I would see the Reunification Palace which was the last stronghold of the democratic South Vietnamese army, the Cu Chi Tunnels of the skilled Vietcong, and the War Remnants Museum (where the American war's atrocities are seen next to the "kind" treatment of American soldiers, though John McCain will tell you that his time in the Hanoi prison was anything but). The latter two were done on 4th of July as I also got to shoot an AK-47 which overall made for a fairly un-American celebration. I would also be driven by ladies in ao yais (traditional Vietnamese clothing) around parts of Saigon, including a more affluent place where rich people spent their money on empty apartments for money pools.

Food wise I went to my 3rd cooking class with Chef Tan who drove me on her motorcycle, cooked with me and picked ingredients from an organic garden. I had a great time with it overall. We made Banh Mi (the best I've ever had), Chah Cuan (a sour soup from Southern Vietnam), Papaya salad (I'm obsessed with it), and mung bean dessert. The food here is top notch and healthy, it can not be overstated.

Lastly, the people and country began to grow on me at this point. Saigon is a quirky place with a lot of fun. Whether it's the motorcycle traffic or the Vietcong dressed coffee chain servers, Saigon stays with you.