Monday in Antigua

After a long night of rest we were eager to start the day. First on the agenda was finding a bank in the city so we could book our room for the rest of the week, pay for language school and have enough spending money while still keeping to our budget.

Banks in Central America are a little different than in Canada. The biggest difference is that they are highly secure. Most of the banks have armed guards, metal detectors or vestibules where the interior door can only open once the exterior door is closed. It is a little intimidating at first but all the people are really friendly – even the guards with shotguns.

Once we took care of our lodging we set out to find a language school. After walking down the cobble stone streets for a couple minutes we pasted a small bakery stand that had the most interesting attendant; a dog. No joke, there was a dog standing on his hind legs looking us dead in the eyes and telepathically asking us if we would like anything. We didn’t buy anything but having a cute dog reel in customers is probably the greatest marketing scheme of all time.

Right around the corner from the bakery stand I saw a sign for Spanish School. When we made our way to the entrance we recognized the name from our Lonely Planet guide book. Inside we were greeted by a lovely young lady named Marybel. She gave us a brief history of the school and how they are involved with the community. Ixchel Spanish School promotes women empowerment by employing only women in the community that are the heads of their families. After a quick tour we knew this is where we wanted to spend the next 4 days learning Español. We also made plans to meet with Marybel later in the day so we could go see the place where we would be volunteering, Los Patojos.

Being quite excited for the upcoming week, we went to go find some delicious food. We stumbled upon a small cafe that served crepes with Nutella and bananas. The cafe had a lovely outdoor courtyard where we sat and enjoyed our breakfast.

After breakfast we headed to the bustling Mercado (Market) where we needed to pick up a few items. Markets are all about your bartering skills and you should never take the first price that offered. Bartering makes the experience a lot more fun and definitely worthwhile. Though I recommend having some Spanish language skills before you have a go at it.

At 2pm we met up with Marybel and we took a chicken bus to Los Patojos. We got a quick tour and met some of the volunteers. We sat in on some of the activities and participated in a game of fútbol. After a couple hours we hopped back onto the chicken bus and back to our hostel.

Once we were recuperated we headed out for a walk around town and to find a place for dinner. We found a funky little place that served Thai food. It was a small change from the local cuisine so we were up for it. Being that it is technically a “school night” we’re settling down early so we can rest up and be attentive for tomorrow’s class. Buenos noches amigos.

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