We then took a quick trip by her Mom's home to pick up some of the food she prepared for our dinner at Estuardo and Melissa's house. We hosted Estuardo last year through the F.A.C.E.S. Program, which Sandy is President of. His sister, Melissa, was also in the USA, studying at a different school and living with a different host family. However, she spent much time with us, so I claim her as family, too. Guisela, their mother, and Daniel, their father, were there, as well as Sandy's husband, Raul, who is an opthamologist in Guatemala City. We were treated to a spread of native Guatemalan food: Pepian~ a meat dish of chicken and beef, lots of spices and green beans, added to some native vegetables! Delicioso! Served with that was rice with corn, freshly prepared refried beans with Guacamole and sour cream, and fresh hot tortillas; Tangerine juice was our drink of choice. For dessert Guiseal served friend Plantano, topped with sugar and a very unique and delicious hot drink called "Atol", a creamy corn drink with cinnamon. They have a beautiful home, with plush tropical gardens. As we were leaving, Estuardo presented me with some gifts for me and my family (including my mom and sister) and Guisela also gave me a gift. She is an architect who understands much English but speaks little English. Yet, a hug and a smile mean the same thing, no matter the language. Some pictures from our evening:
Estuardo and Melissa's house
Back to Sandy and Raul's we went and nearly collapsed from exhaustion! We were up at 3 AM to be ready for a 6 AM International flight! Slept like a rock all night and woke up feeling well rested. Sandy and Raul
After a quaint breakfast at Sandy's, prepared and served by Heidy (pronounced like "Haiti"), we went to Hotel Camino Real to catch the Atitran for the 4 hour drive to Lake Atitlan via a 30-minute layover in beautiful mysitcal Antigua. Silly me left the Guatemalan cell phone (loaned to me by another Guatemalan friend, Lissette, who we will stay with for 6 nights on the last end of the trip) on our first Atitran. God was good to remind me to look for it after we had only been on the 2nd bus for about 10 minutes, so our driver called the previous driver, who will deliver it to me at our hotel tomorrow. WHEW! Meanwhile, Sandy had loaned us a "Magic Jack" to use through our hotel phone line and my computer, where we can call into the States for free! God is so sweet to bless our lives from the little to the big things.
Arriving in Atitlan, we began our photo shoots of this amazingly beautiful tropical paradise. In so doing, we met some friendly neighbors, Parrots or Cockateels. After posing relentlessly for us, one walked right up to me, and as I began to squat down to photograph him, he began pecking on my camera bag. Well, that was no problem. I was not mad. However, his counterpart was jealous and began walking (pigeon-toed, I might add) toward the bag to share in the fun! Oh, no, no, no!!! This was nothing to be shared, so the 2 began to fight (see photos). Then the darned 2nd one came over and pecked my little toe, peeling the skin back and causing me to bleed. Guess he or she showed me who was boss, huh?
Much, much more to come! Wish you all were here to enjoy it with me!