By now I’m home from Guatemala, the trip just got too busy between work and fun to get my updates up. But I’ll still be sharing, today is Day’s 3 and 4, and next week I’ll do a post for 5 and 6, as well as a recap of pictures.
Day 3 – 4: August 31 – September 1, 2015
Contrary to my family teasing me that I was just there to have fun, that certainly wasn’t the case. Day’s 3 and 4 were both full of meetings and presentations. It was a great experience though. With 15 offices around the world, in addition to our two U.S. offices, there are a lot of people that I talk to, email and work on projects with that I had never met in person. I now feel like these people truly are my colleagues, and it was great to get to know them. There is so much that I still need to learn at my job, and this conference gave me an increased sense of purpose and motivation.
I said this in my previous entry, but the resort was beautiful. It used to be a convent and includes 5 different museums. There were lots of statues, water features and plants everywhere. There were also lots of birds, including a few different types of parrots that sat out during the day, but I always missed them when I was out with my camera. The staff and service was also great, even though there was usually a language barrier. Between the resort and going out into Antigua for lunches and dinner, I was surprised how many words and phrases in Spanish quickly came back to me from my few years of high school Spanish. The only issue is that now that I am back in the States, I keep responding with “Gracias” and “Si,” out of habit.
We ate breakfast every morning at the hotel and the evening we had a hospitality suite, but our lunches and dinners were on our own. I usually tried to mix up who I went out to seat with and what kind of food I was trying. On Day 3, a really big group went to a restaurant right next door to the resort that looked that it would be really good. The menu was significantly harder to interpret than others had been and the staff didn’t know any English. I ended up ordering something that I thought had beef and green salsa in it, and my boss order the same with red salsa. Almost an hour later we still didn’t have our food and had noticed that other tables of our colleagues had already gotten theirs even though we had ordered first. When we finally got our food mine was in a salty green soup/sauce (not salsa) and the meat was long white strips with a few different weird textures and was very chewy. At first we thought it might be some sort of seafood, and I like to try, new and different things, but this was just too much. Others in our group got food that was meant for other tables or didn’t get anything at all. All things considered, it was the only meal that was a complete fail. Later on that evening I was chatting with one of my colleagues from Mexico City about it and we eventually figured out that my dish had been tripe – beef stomach! I’ve had things like beef tongue and pork brain that I enjoyed before, but the stomach is not one that I plan on getting on purpose ever again.
A few more highlights:
-The water pressure at the resort was ridiculous, how is it that a country like Guatemala has that more figured out than the United States? #priorities
-My legs hurt SO BAD from the hike. The part of the resort where our meetings were at was a good 5-8 minute walk from my room, including stairs. I got on the treadmill every day for a short jog to try to keep from getting too stiff, but I don’t know how much it helped.
-Our trip was during Guatemala’s wet season, so the rain came in almost every afternoon, but that also meant it was a bit cooler there, probably averaging a high of 80 degrees or so each day. Where the meeting was held was across a large courtyard from the entrance and the restrooms… so while it was raining, there was a huge umbrella that they used to get us across.
-Our rooms did not have AC only a fan and windows. It was nice to be able to leave the balcony doors and windows open, except that there were also mosquitos at night. I haven’t even tried to count how many bites I have on my legs.
-On Day 4 I figured out that you could get up on the roof in one area of the resort, which gave me a wonderful view.
-All over the resort there were basins of water with red rose petals in them. Like every other well-attended detail, each day the gardeners would scoop out any petals that looked even the slightest bit bad and replace them with new ones that they very carefully plucked.
Thanks for checking out my travel journal. Have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend! I’ll be back next week with my last two entries!