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The adventures of Fe & Chris

Archive for June 7, 2007

Feeding Fiona to the vultures

We frequently see great towers of Black and Turkey vultures circling above the hills around Xela. During one of our recent sojourns out of town Fiona was lying still and prone as she photographed a pretty plant at ground level. Meanwhile, higher up, I watched a Turkey vulture fly towards her, checking out her corpse status. Unfortunately she finished her photography, got up and the vulture lost interest. Rather a shame, as it could have resulted in a wonderful photo.


Parrots & hummers

We found our first parrots yesterday afternoon. We´ve been in town a little too long whilst attempting to learn Spanish (Fe is much better than me). Fiona wanted to go somewhere relaxing and sleep so to manage our city sickness I marched her up the hill, made her sink into an unidentified mammalian warren, and plonked her down under a pine tree. Just as she drifted off a flight of eight Pacific Parakeets screamed raucously around us disturbing her rest terribly. Life´s tough sometimes.

In contrast hummingbirds make much more pleasing dozing companions. Virtually silent and wonderfully pretty as they whizz around one´s head.

Killing mockingbirds

I don’t know why anyone would want to kill a mockingbird. They seem terribly nice, particularly the Blue & White type here. A little raucous perhaps, but there are more disturbing avian varieties. It’s been a long time since I read the book and I can’t remember why it had such a title. Can anyone advise?

La semana posada

Chris prefers short posts so I shall provide you with our activities of the last week and he can give you his highlights…

On Friday we had a wander around Xela, it is quite a large city with a small central square with old buildings that are quite attractive. The rest of the place is not particularly pretty and is full of traffic and fumes (cough, splutter). We escaped up a hill so Chris could start his bird spotting (sorry, watching) - lots of vultures and a couple of woodpeckers, but I shall leave further description to the expert. I saw some pretty butterflies too!

On Saturday we were more adventurous and tried to get to some hot springs - we were supposed to get a chicken bus to the nearest town, then a “truck” to the springs. This was not as easy as it first seemed- our Rough Guide is certainly, literally, rough! We eventually found an appropriate bus to the first town, and then promptly went past it - when the fare collector came round and realised we´d gone too far he just let us off the bus with some incomprehensible words of Spanish to help us. Instead we wandered through the village he´d dropped us next to and discovered some other hot baths (Aguas Amargas) -they were lovely - a hot swimming pool heated by the nearby volcano with spectacular views of the valley and surrounding volcanoes and mountains and rainforest everywhere. There were also some small rooms where they filled up even hotter water in a stone bath -we gave this a go too although it was mucho caliente!!!

On Sunday we went on what was described as an “easy” walk to Lake Chicabal - a crater lake (does this give away the fact that we had to do quite a lot of uphill walking?). Anyway, after much huffing and puffing we eventually found ourselves at the lake and it was beautiful - muy bonito(a?) - the clouds kept drifting in, but it was still a lovely sight and it is clear why it is one of the most important Mayan spiritual sites.

On Monday we started Spanish School and for the last few days we have been learning Spanish for 5 hours a day and living with a Guatemalan family - quite an experience! You will notice my very limited Spanish has (barely) crept into this post. I don´t know too much, but hopefully enough to get by over the next few months, hmmm…

Tomorrow after classes and another intriguing meal we set off to Lake Atitlan which sounds very nice and relaxing - just what we need after the last week!

Que hora es?

¡Buenas tardes!

In answer to Keir´s query of what other daft thing we could possibly do next, I wonder if having the wrong time for two days without realising counts?? (We just thought our hostel was a bit tardy with their serving of breakfast, by ermmm, an hour!). This did, unfortunately, mean that not only were we waking up at the hideous hour of 4am, but also going to bed at 8pm - all because we didn´t realise there was an hour difference between Guatemala and Mexico (Guatemala doesn´t do daylight saving apparently.)