Posted by: Sarah | June 15, 2010


Woke up this morning to an ice cold shower. Shit. It took about five seconds to realize that the water wasn’t going to heat up and to decide that a quick rinse was sufficient and my hair didn’t really need to be washed. Que puedo decir? Standards change quickly while traveling.

After arriving to Xela after dark last night, I was excited to see that the sun was out this morning and get a glimpse of the city where I will be based for the next two weeks. First impressions – it’s relatively small (about 150,000-300,000 people, depending on who you talk to), and decidedly less developed than Barranquilla, but somehow has a charm that made me take to it instantly. It’s as if you combined the Candalaria district of Bogota with the south side of Barranquilla, but with much less chaos.

With the exception of a few gringos studying at my school and another American staying with the same host family as me, no one speaks English. I am already slipping back into Spanish mode, which was one of the main objectives of this summer’s travel. Conversations revolve around Guatemalan culture, history, food, music, places to visit, the World Cup, and how Guatemala compares to other places in Latin America. Estoy super contenta.



  1. What is(are) tameles?

    • a very typical Latin American food, made from a corn-based dough, and stuffed with meat, vegetables, cheese, etc. and wrapped in corn husks

  2. I thought that’s what they were… but I know them as Tamales… the word threw me off.

    • wow…i hadn’t even realized the typo until you said that. corrected now! thanks 🙂

  3. No worries. I thought it was a typo, but I have learned that different cultures have different ways of naming “thing,” and did not jump to a conclusion.

    Love your blog BTW… insanely jealous of you. I wish I could travel nearly as much as you do. I particularly like the way you immerse yourself in “that” country’s culture.


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