My trip to Guatemala in 2009

All right folks, so I’m back from Guatemala!  It was fun, and it was really great to see my family again.  It was the first time in many, many years that we could take a picture of the whole family together.  Well, anyway, here the highlights of my heck-of-a-trip:

  • I went to El Baúl, a mountain in Xela (Quetzaltenango) that overlooks the whole city.  I hadn’t been there in over 10 years.  It still looked the same — with lots of local tourists, but little to no maintenance.  The only difference is that now you have to pay for entrance.   Where that money goes, however, is beyond me.  Anyway, it was fun to spend the morning there with my nephews and nieces.
  • I visited San Marcos, Totonicapán, El Eden (a village of Palestina de los Altos), San Juan and other places near Xela.  There was a small picnic area on the way to San Marcos that overlooks several mountains and volcanoes, as well as the west side of Xela with all its surrounding towns and municipalities.  I got some cool pictures there!
  • I climbed a mountain (well, drove most of the way) to reach Laguna de Chicabal (not sure how to spell it).  It’s a beautiful lagoon situated on the crater of an inactive volcano.  The beauty of this place is indescribable — it’s like being in an enchanted place where the heavens descend upon the small lake on the afternoon while surrounding the forest in Mayan magic.  There are Mayan altars all around the lake (in 20 positions, one for each month of the Mayan calendar year).  The way back is a bit tough, with 575+ stairs to climb!  Anyway, I have some amazing and even creepy pictures of this place!  It’s located near San Martin Chileverde, about 40 minutes from Xela.
  • I also went to an attractions park near El Palmar that, to my surprise, was kind of empty.  I guess not many people go there over the holidays, which is great.  That meant no lines!!!  I rode this weird thing that puts you upside down 20 times.  Then I rode it again with my sister, then again with my nieces and nephews. 🙂  It was so awesome!  Anyway, after about 10 rides, we had to take a break to allow our stomachs to recover…. and we did so by going to a really cool magic show after lunch.  This magician guy was pretty good.  He made a motorcycle disappear and reappear somewhere else instantly (while he was riding it).  He also shrunk a lady in a very weird way, and made snow from his hands.  It was wicked!
  • During Christmas (and after New Years), I visited a couple of hospitals with my nephews and nieces to bring gifts, food and a little bit of fun to the patients and their families.  We even found a couple of clowns and hired them to come along!  It was an interesting experience — especially seen the faces of gratitude and happiness on people who were in extreme need.
  • Let’s see… I also went to the Pacific Ocean.  I spent a day with my family in a beach near Tiquisate.  I think it was called Tecojate.  The cool thing about this place is that we had to cross a huge river by canoe in order to reach the beach.  On the way back, the guy overloaded the canoe with so many people that we were starting to sink!  It was pretty scary… and fun!  Later on, my grandfather told us that the river was actually pretty shallow. 🙂

Familia Monge Franco (Guatemala 2009)

Familia Monge Franco at Xetulul Amusement Park (Guatemala 2009)

Anyway, besides all the fun and the great food, I think the best part was spending time with my family.  I spent a few days with each of my sisters, my brother, and even my cousins (all of whom live in different parts of the country).  The hardest part, besides getting sick during my last week there, was saying good bye.  I hope I can go back again soon.

Slideshow video: Familia Monge Franco – IRTRA 2009

About Gabriel Mongefranco

Gabriel Mongefranco is your software developer for all things data: extraction, integration, analytics and security. He is also a blogger, a poet, a proud father and a faithful Christian. He is always eager to contract with faith-based nonprofits! Learn more.