Well these two weeks positively flew by. Independence week in Xela was about as fun and crazy as I expected it to be: more parades than I could shake a stick at and lots of good times with friends. Here's a brief summary:
On Tuesday night most of the city gathered in Parque Central or the Minerva Temple to listen to music and watch a few nighttime parades, but it seems mostly people went to Parque Central to stand around and stare at the groups of gringos who were drunk and/or dancing. My group definitely was an "and".
Wednesday we didn't have classes, but we gathered at the school anyway to BBQ, study, play round-the-world ping pong, and watch movies. Tasty and fun.
Thursday was class and fair. Fair = insane, but really, a lot like any fair anywhere else in the world: tons of tasty, greasy food, really expensive games that /seem/ easy, vendors vending all kinds of crappy merchandise, and carnival rides. Despite mostly being the same rides you can get on in the States, the rides were probably the most memorable. Take, for example, the Ferris Wheel. People, this thing was /scary/. And this is coming from someone who has spent countless summers (and hundreds of dollars) at Cedar Point, the most awesome roller coaster park on the planet. Here's why: 1. two person seats made of old, bendy wood that have seen a bit too much exposure to Guatemala's rains; 2. the safety bar and pin were a gate of two metal tubes held in place by a large nail bent in half; 3. the sucker spun /fast/. Like, airborne at the top, fast.
Friday and Saturday were "travel days", which is a nice way of saying that I spent around 30 hours on a shuttle or plane, or in the airport attempting to sleep. But I was on my way to see Caleb, so it was well worth it. After I met up with him on Saturday, then commenced a whirlwind week of Canadian-ness. The Canadian Rockies, I am sorry to say to my Colorado friends, trounce the Colorado ones. Banff and Jasper National Parks are simply gorgeous. The birch and aspen were turning in the park during our trip too, so every vista was a bit more stunning than usual.
We stayed for a few days in Lake Louise,
then headed north to Jasper,
and west to Golden, where we got in some good trail runs, tramped around on mountains, saw a ton of glaciers, waded in some natural hot springs, and drank a lot of Canadian beer. All-in-all, my Canadian vacation went entirely too quickly, and having spent that time with Caleb reminded me of how good I have it with him. It was hard saying goodbye at the airport, but at least this time it will "only" be 2.5 months until I see him again. Next time he's coming to visit me in Guatemala!