It's been tough traveling on the weekends because it has been raining so much year. It's rained everyday since I've been here, and far more than a normal "rainy season" in Guatemala. Every time it rains it seems like another mudslide/ bridge collapse/ some other obstacle clogs traffic and makes adventuring more of a chore than fun.
So this past weekend was yet another trip to Antigua, which isn't really that interesting to me, to be honest. However, I went with Bob, and we visited a guy he knew through his old job who was a Jade carver. This guy, Francisco, was very warm and friendly, inviting me and Bob into his home, telling me about how he gets Jade (he goes up the nearby volcano and finds it himself), and how he works with Jade using various diamond-based dental instruments, drill presses, sanders, etc. We had some hot chocolate and cookies while there and some good conversation (his Spanish was easier for me to understand, as he was polite enough to speak slowly). Hopefully it won't be the last time I run into this guy (who reminded me distinctly of Gandalf):
The next day, we travelled to a Macadamia nut farm, had a small breakfast, met the owner (a guy who really liked to tell jokes, and expected you to laugh at them. A bit awkward, but still a very friendly guy) and then visited the old town (San Miguel Escobar) where Bob use to work when he first came to Guate several years ago. There was a goodbye party for a friend of his with steak/ beans/ cake/ rum all served in a tiny, humble home. Really cool, a lot of fun, met some interesting, self-admitted hippies and whatnot.
I'm hoping to get to Atitlan this upcoming weekend, before leaving for DC with my teammates....