Week 1 - Antigua, Guatemala
After lathering our translucent skin in sunscreen, we are ready for our first day. Our first breakfast at Patsy and Joaquin's is beautiful strawberry, mango, and canteloupe with homemade granola and yogurt. Of course, we don't eat the strawberry - Traveller's Diahhrea Prevention, Phase 1.
Our host mother is Patsy, our host father is Joaquin, and their children are Samuel (8) and Andrea (18). They are from El Salvador and have lived in Antigua 2 years.
"You are family. This is your home," says Patsy. She's so sweet and we are so happy to feel comfortable.
Rachel's trying to recover from a touch of strep throat, so I find the rooftop terrace of our home and bring my book and camera. Surrounded by misty mountain valleys and volcanoes, I can't believe I'm here.
After a nap, Rachel's feeling better. We immediately feel the heat and potential dehydration from this near equator sun, as we step outside. It's amazing, and 4 quetzales for a big bottle of water is nothing (just over 50 cents). We venture out into the uneven, crowded streets, and being here still feels surreal. We withdraw money, and guard each other one at a time. We are clearly gringos.
Today is our orientation at Maximo Nivel, the local organization we're volunteering with. Until then, we roam the streets and play cards on the roof. As Semana Santa (Easter week) approaches, people pour into Antigua. The roof offers a great view. Day 1 in Guatemala is perfect.