Having Spaghetti in Guatemala

Yesterday morning I arrived in Antigua, Guatemala. I was a bit groggy after two nights of travel, and inadequate sleep. The strong coffee I drank thereafter invigorated me. On arrival I drank coffee at the airport café. Later my landlady, Doña Olga served me coffee in her living room, and in the afternoon I had more coffee in a colorful local coffee shop painted in bright red, green, yellow and purple.

For breakfast, Doña Olga prepared an omelet, fresh mango, pineapple and melon, a healthy fare indeed. Lunch consisted of tuna salad and spaghetti with sauce. For dinner we were served broccoli-soup, bread, ham, cheese and another kind of spaghetti.

“We” were a young interesting couple with a 5-year daughter from Quebec travelling around in Central-America, and a young woman from Denver. The latter is enrolled in a volunteering program wherein she works at a shelter for exotic animals. She also studies Spanish.

After breakfast I visited my newfound friend Deet, who has lived in Antigua for over 20 years. She lived in Chicago for 50 years and had come to learn Spanish in Antigua. Presently, she enjoys reading the winter weather forecasts from Chicago and would not dream of returning there.

In the afternoon I went for a long walk. I even found a bank that charged only a couple of dollars to exchange my American dollars to Guatemalan quetzals. On my way, I also visited one of the many language schools. I signed up for four hours of private lessons in the afternoons in one of the schools. The lessons were about six dollars an hour.

In the evening I studied some Spanish grammar and tested my vocabulary by using Duolingo on the Internet. It is a fantastic language-learning platform with about 70 different language courses across 23 languages. It is designed in such a way that language-learning feels like a game. For those interested, the link to the program is: www.duolingo.com.

My last thought before falling asleep at 8 pm was: why have a letter H in the Spanish language when it is never pronounced?


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