Xela is the second biggest city in Guatemala, which isn’t saying much as the population’s only around 150,000. Still, after Antigua–a city not boasting much above 50,000–the possibilities seem endlessly enticing. A major difference between the two cities is while Antigua is the sweetheart of recurring rounds of tourists—the kind that come to Guatemala just for it (don’t ask me why…)—Xela’s a place that feels more ‘authentic.’ While there are plenty of Spanish schools and gringo-style cafes, most have a grittier look than those in Antigua and are concentrated in one area (Zone 1). Wandering beyond, the amount of tourists dissipate and a more realistic view of the city begins to emerge.
It’s the kind of place I have a feeling takes a while to truly understand, but might be well worth the effort. I’m spending the next week traveling elsewhere in Guate with a friend, but then I’ll return to Xela for another couple weeks.
view from the roof of my school.
My Spanish teacher said this graveyard was transplanted from another part of the city–apparently someone wanted the other land for construction. He said they still come across bones at the old site.
Gallo is one of the national beers of Guate and available all over for a $2 or so dollars.
Profamilia is a community organization that provides children with free lunch and a place to hang out to do homework after school. Sometimes they have organized English, computer or other class for the children–though I haven’t seen this in my brief time here. Many of the children go to school irregularly and work on the streets shining shoes or selling candy. Profamilia also has classes and events for adults–such as sewing and computer classes. Currently they have little funding and few paid employees/long-term volunteers. I’ll continue volunteering here when I return to Xela, so more to come….