Saturday, April 21, 2012

Drive to El Bau'l

Looking out our bedroom window to the southeast we have a good view of El Bau'l, the viewing platform  and the huge white cross on the hill.  Mike has wanted to make the trek up to the top, so we ventured out in the mission truck to get a new view of Xela.  When you drive up the mountain you start out on the Xela side, but the photo above is the opposite side of the mountain as we climb.  The views are spectacular and the road narrow and bumpy.

Looking ahead of the truck this maybe looks like a normal road.  Don't be fooled.

There is a well-cared-for park at the top, much like one you would see in the States.  Perhaps the difference is that many of the folks in Quetzaltenango can't make the drive up here to enjoy it, or pay the Q10 park entrance fee.

The base of this monument is a stunning depiction of a Mayan warrior.

The tree trunks are painted white strictly for aesthetics, as we're told.  It doesn't make much sense to us, but the people here find it attractive.

This is Guatemala's version of the alpine slide minus the sleds.  Here, there are a variety of cardboard pieces and large, smashed plastic bottles laying on the ground to ensure a thrilling ride down the slide.  

Smaller slides for smaller people.

There is a military presence around Xela.  Armed guards protect most businesses and these fellows spend the day watching over the safety of the park visitors.

Grills for public use.

The all too familiar chicken buses that provide one of the better forms of transportation.

This is the the viewing platform we can see from our window and we're looking down into Quetzaltenango, which is the second largest city in Guatemala.  We can see our apartment building from here with our binoculars. 

The dark thing on the top of the cross is NOT a dead bird.  It's a piece of artistic metal of some kind.

We're close to 9000' here.

The fields here being prepared for planting are similar to the ones in San Juan.  It was different today, however, to drive up the mountain and pass trucks parked along the side with men and boys carrying equipment to work the sides of the steep mountain completely by hand.  It's a tough job!

Unsure why this gate is here.  It's right at the edge of the mountain.

Mike has been looking for months for Xela's only Taco Bell.  We tried the shopping center where Walmart is and after getting some partially understandable directions, we found their food court.  There was a mega TV anchored above the food court where people were gathered to watch the soccer game and eat fast food. We waited in this line for nearly thirty minutes to get some barely edible food, not at all like the Taco Bell at home.

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