Presenting XelaMap

What has Sean been up to? Where is he? What is he doing? I realize it’s been a long time since I’ve posted here. I really have no excuse, except that I haven’t had anything super-exciting to write about. I’m still in Xela. Here I am, and I do have news.

Cover of XelaMap

I’ve been working at an internet / graphic design place. In March and April, I was coming to this place pretty regularly because their were only two computers so it was pretty fast. One day the owner, José, and I were chatting a little bit and he mentioned that he wanted to make a map of Xela. He had the map part already but wanted a foreigner to work with him on adding extra content. I expressed interest and returned the next day to talk more about it.

Here, after a month and a half of work, we have the first edition of the XelaMap. There are mistakes, and we are going to change lots of things for the next edition, but in general I’m super happy with how it turned out. The people using it seem to like it a lot, too. Please take a look! The thing that makes our map different from the other ones that are available is that we have lots of useful information. Check it out and let me know what you think here. If you have any comments or suggestions I’d love to hear them.

Additionally, I’ve started doing some web design and other stuff with José and his brother Jonathan. Our business name is XelaSpace. It’s becoming a real job, but the map is still a lot of fun.

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Some Pictures

I’ve been taking pictures only occasionally here in Guatemala. Here are a few of them.

We took a trip to Semuc Champey:

And here are a few random pics from Xela:

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Things I have learned in Guatemala (so far)

  • A bit of Spanish.
  • To like (maybe that’s not the perfect word) instant coffee.
  • Related: to appreciate real coffee.
  • That around $3 US per hour here is enough to support myself on very few hours. The kind-of-sort-of-enforced minimum wage here in Guatemala is around $7 per day.
  • That I really like learning languages, or at least Spanish.
  • That learning languages is difficult and frustrating but very rewarding.
  • That I like teaching English even though I’m not very good at it (yet). I’m studying this in addition to Spanish.
  • That a meal without tortillas is missing something very important.
  • Many more, too, but I’m not writing them here.

I’m alive! I’m still liking it a lot here. I’m working most days, but only a couple of hours. I’m learning lots. Have any questions? Post or email!

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Guatemala: day thirty-one

Estoy todavia en Xela. Pienso que podría quedarme aqui durante un rato. Trato de encontrar un trabajo, porque necesitaré dinero en el verano. Yo querría enseñar inglés, pero si no puedo encontrar un trabajo de maestro, que probablemente buscaré un trabajo en un restaurante o una barra. O no. ¿Quien sabe?

Mi amiga Astrid regresará a Xela hoy. Ella estaba en Suiza por seis meses, aprendiendo alemán suizo y “disfrutando” de la nieve. En sus palabras “¡Suiza es una grande bola de nieve!” Espero con ansia escuchar sus historias.

Tambien, espero cuando ella mostrará su ciudad. Yo exploré la ciudad un poco mientras estaba corriendo, pero es seguro los conocimientos de mi amiga son mucho mejor.

He corrido estas dos semanas en Xela. La altitud es un poco difícil, pero he empesado a ajustarme. Miren mi runningahead.com pagina por más detalles (¡y mapas!).

Más temprano esta semana escribí un texto para tarea. Sin embargo, me gusta ese texto bastante que querría publicarlo aqui. Es simple y corto pero tiene un fin sorpresa. Espero que les guste a ustedes.

Cada dia entre semana, Ricardo caminaba a la escuela. Usualmente, no hacía nada interesante. Sin embargo, un dia fue especial. Este dia, un martes, Ricardo pensaba él ganaba la lotería, porque mientras caminaba él encontró un maletin lleno de dinero.

¡Ahora él era rico! Comerá en restaurantes buenos. Comprará todas las cosas que quiere. Antes, no tenía dinero suficiente para ir al cine, pero ahora iría siempre. Antes, no podía visitar otros ciudades o paises, pero ahora podría.

¡Que lástima! El dinero era de Zimbabwe y así no valía mucho. Él compró un helado.

El Fin.

Hasta luego.

En Inglés:

I’m still in Xela. I think that I will stay here for a while. I’m trying to find a job because I will need some money in the summer. I’d like to teach English, but if I can’t find a job as a teacher then I’ll probably look in restaurants and bars. Or not. Who knows?

My friend Astrid is returning to Xela today. She was in Switzerland for six months, learning Swiss-German and “enjoying” the snow. In her words, “Switzerland is a giant snowball!” I look forward to hearing her stories.

Also, I look forward to when she will show me her city. I have explored the city a little while I’m running, but surely her knowledge is much better.

I have been running these two weeks in Xela. The altitude is a little bit difficult, but I have begun to adjust. Look at my runningahead.com page for more details (and maps!).

Earlier this week I wrote a text for homework. However, I liked it so much that I wanted to post it here. It’s simple and short, but has a surprise ending.

Each weekday, Ricardo walked to school. Usually, nothing interesting happened. However, one day was special. This day, a Tuesday, Ricardo thought that he had won the lottery because while he was walking he found a briefcase full of money.

Now he was rich! He would eat at good restaurants. He would buy all the things that he wanted. Before, he did not have enough money to go the movies, but now he could always go. Before, he could not visit other cities or countries, but now he could.

What a pity! The money was from Zimbabwe, and thus not worth much. He bought an ice cream.

The end.

Later.

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Guatemala: day twenty-three

Jenny requested that I post in Spanish. Seems like good practice to me, so here it goes. It’s pretty simple, sorry. English follows.

Estoy in Quetzaltenango, se llama Xela. El nombre de la ciudad en la lengua de Quiche es Xelajú, pero para abreviar, “Xela”. Yo vino aqui del Lago Atitlan el lunes pasado. Xela parece una grand ciudad, pero yo pienso que es más pequeña que Portland, Oregon. La ciudad es la segunda ciudad en Guatemala.

Cinco dias por semana, más o menos, yo estudio con mi maestra, Alejandra, usualmente por tres horas. Por la noche, yo hago las tareas y a veces encuentro algunos amigos con quienes suelo estar.

Desde ayer, yo vivo con una familia. La madre de casa, Eluvia, cocina esayuno, almuerzo, y cena cada dia. La comida es simple pero buena.

También, yo tengo un numero del telefono aqui: +502 4082 5795.

En Inglés:

I’m in Quetzaltengo, called Xela. In the Quiche language, it’s called Xelajú, but Xela for short. Xela seems like a big city, but I think that it’s smaller than Portland, Oregon. Xela is the second biggest city in Guatemala.

Five days per week, more or less, I study with my teacher, Alejandra, usually for three hours. At night, I do my homework and sometimes meet some friends to hang out.

Since yesterday, I live with a family. The mother of the house, Eluvia, cooks breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day. The food is simple but good.

Also, I have a telephone number here: +502 4082 5795. (to dial from the states or canada it’s 01150240825795 or send text messages.)

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Guatemala: day thirteen

I’m still in San Pedro, just about to finish up my second week of Spanish lessons. It’s gone well, and living here is really great. These days I’m cooking eggs and toast for breakfast in the hotel kitchen, then eating out for my other meals. Most meals cost between 15 and 30 Quetzales, which works out to $2 to $4 or so. The hotel is 25Q per night, which is about $3.50! School is the most expensive thing here, but I think I’m going to take next week off just to study.

On top of the prices, the place is great. If it’s sunny, which it is most days, then it’s hot during the day. At night it gets a bit cool, around 10 C, but it’s not too bad. During the day I like to go swimming (only twice so far, but so what), to read in the hammock, to hang out with other kids at the hotel, to study, to eat, and to walk around. There is a good lending library at one of the local bars which I’m borrowing books from. There are also a few good hikes around here, but I haven’t done any of them yet. A few of the bars show movies every night, all pirated and some brand new. There are plenty of things to do!

I think I’m going to stay in San Pedro for another week or two and then move on to Xela, with a probable stop in Antigua to see my friend Rebecca.

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Guatemala: day six

I’m in San Pedro. I’m learning, slowly or quickly depending on how you look at it. I’ve met some neat people. I’m one giant bugbite. It’s hot in the day and cold in the night. It’s beautiful. Today I ran for the first time in Guatemala. It was difficult, both because of the altitude and the weather. I have to go to school now. Hasta luego.

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Guatemala: day one

The most important thing about that is that I don’t speak any spanish. I’m doing fine, though (so far, at least).

The Guatemala City airport doesn’t have an ATM in it. What’s up with that? It’s undergoing renovations so they don’t have ANYthing there right now. Pretty much just a bunch of taxis. I got a taxi and had the guy take me to an ATM in a gas station, (“I don’t have any money to pay you” translates pretty well) but it was still weird.

I overpaid a lot for the five minute taxi ride (70 Quetzales), but he took me to the bus that got me to Panajachel, a three plus hour ride, for 30Q, so it all worked out fine.

I’m spending the night here and heading across the lake tomorrow to find my school. Talk to you soon.

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A Quote

I’m reading Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins, and I really like this quote:

When the band began again to play, it worked into an impromptu arrangement of “Barbie Doll’s Hysterectomy,” a little number from the repertoire of Hoodoo Meat Bucket. This, of course, in honor of Ziller, who, toward the end of the piece, was persuaded to replace the old Apache on drums. Oh my. Yes, yes. Everything they’d heard was true. In and out of the melody, crossing the beat like a jaywalker dodging taxicabs, accentuating the offbeats, creating counterbeats, he drummed like a thousand-handed deity: Kwan Yin, all arms and bliss. (page 29, emphasis mine)

I love it! Also, a quick trip to Wikipedia reveals a Buddhist legend about Kwan Yin and the thousand arms.

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Winter Mix

I’m stuck in the Denver Airport. It’s cold and wintery outside here so it seems appropriate to post a link to dmoefunk’s winter jam collection.

Enjoy! (I know I am.)

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