the visit

As I mentioned, my brother visited us for a week. Life was low-key and simple while he was here.


*He and the kids cooked up some snails and crabs legs. The kids ate
the crab legs and he ate the snails (though part way through he
announced they tasted of “pond bottom” and quit).

*He played lots of 10 Days in the USA with the kids.

*We went to Cobán for church and afterwards paused in our trek across town to watch a soccer game.

*My brother was about as fascinated by the market as I am and took to making trips to town and coming back with random food.

*He visited the kids’ school with me and went with my husband to Bezaleel.

*He borrowed a neighbor’s guitar and sat out on the porch strummin’ and a-hummin’ while the children fell asleep.

got to experience riding in very full buses. (In the above photo, you’re looking at five of us.) Once we counted 28 people
in a 12 passenger van. It always cracks me up when the ayudantes (bus
assistants) tell us to make more room for people because there is
supposed to be four in a row, or five (or six or eleven or whatever),
and we just look at them blankly because, hello, we can not shrink our
leg bones, thank you very much

*He wanted a picture of himself with a gun-wielding guard, so I (and
the guards) obliged. We agree that it was the most excitement those
guards had all day and probably all week.
*The only touristy thing we did was on Saturday when we went to a reserve and hiked up to the top of the forest to see out over Cobán and Chamelco (sort of).

I want to start getting to know this area a little better. There are so many incredible things to see in Guatemala and the best place to start is right where we are. However, because simple day trips with six people can end up being quite pricey, and because it’s much easier to stay at home than to try to navigate the aforementioned stuffed buses, I often don’t even bother. But a friend mentioned this forest reserve to me. She said things like “close by” and “easy to get to” and “cheap,” so we slapped sunblock on everyone, filled water bottles, and set out.

(When a kid waves this in your face and screams SPIDER, things happen.)

Despite the fact that we chose the absolute worst time to visit a reserve—between 12 and 2 pm when all the animals and birds are snoozing their way through the shimmering heat of day—and despite the fact that the guide sprinted instead of walked, and despite the fact that a couple of my kids have no endurance for long, uphill, speed walks in the woods whatsoever, it was a splendid little foray. We got to do stuff like power walk through lush woods and see out over the whole of Cobán and glimpse a Toucan and examine an ant hill and see the most incredible camping spot ever—a perfectly level area shaded by two huge stands of bamboo and with a thick ground cover consisting of dried bamboo leaves. The reserve has gardens and pineapple plants and rhubarb (which I wanted to steal) and a swimming pool and velvety soft boxer dogs. We can go back any time to picnic, swim, and hike, the owner said. We just might take him up on it.


  • jenny_o

    And I am so weirded out by spiders that I still thought it was one after reading the caption, despite the many legs … which I can see only now, after reading teekaroo's comment 🙂

    A beautiful place to visit. Were there any mosquitoes?

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