An Old Friend (Parramos)

We got a late start this morning. I told the boys that they could relax till about 11 in the morning. At about that time we headed to a local bus station. The station is about a 20 minute walk from our place. To get to it, you have to walk through a very lively market that has everything you could possibly imagine and everything is negotiable. I told the boys that the bus station we were going to was not going to be like anything they had seen before.

When we arrived, it did not disappoint. We are used to stations that have typical city buses. Here in Guatemala they use what are called Chicken Buses. A chicken bus is an old school bus, usually decommissioned ones from the US, that are restored and used for public transportation. They do not just fix the motor to get them running, they also chrome them, add paint, and install sound systems. They still look like school buses but they are amazing. Many of them have lights and in the evening they look like travel party buses. This is normal in Guatemala, but for us it is completely foreign. We got to the station and it was impossible to tell which bus we needed to take to get to Parramos. I asked someone to help us and he pointed to a colorful bus across the lot. We entered through the rear emergency exit, of course, by climbing the chrome ladder they had installed. The inside of the bus had instructions for where you could sit saying that it was important to maintain space between passengers. Of course all of that went out the window when people started sitting three or four to a seat. The seats in the bus are not modified; they are the original small seats that were used when they were 100 percent school busses.

I really like these bus rides; they make me feel like a little kid. Our trip lasted around 45 minutes stopping every once and while to let people off or to pick people up. We arrived in Parramos a little after 1 in the afternoon. Hugo greeted us at the park and we were swiftly driven to his house. His home was made by Habitat for Humanity and it is a small very welcoming place with a lot of plants. We sat in their living room for some time catching up. I asked Hugo some questions about the Maya because I know that Malachi is very interested in native history. We got a chance to walk around the neighborhood while Hugo ran to grab some tortillas, and after about 30 minutes, we began eating.

Lunch consisted of Caldo de Res which is a beef soup with rice. We were able to add our own vegetables. The only one that I recognized was the carrots. The rest were pretty new to me. There was something called a water potato which looks nothing like a potato. It is round and covered in spikes. Estella peeled them for us and told us to split them open. Inside each one has what is called the tongue and it actually looks like one. When you eat it, it tastes just like a potato but with its own unique flavor. We talked for some time while we ate and had a lot of laughs. After some time we had to get moving because Hugo can not see too well when it starts to get a little dark. Estela told me to tell Pam, Alisa’s mom, Thank You and that she always has a special place in her heart and is always praying for her. We took some pictures together outside and we were back to the chicken bus towards Antigua.

When we arrived at the station, we took a little walk through the market which is huge. I am glad the boys got to see what a typical market looks like in Guatemala away from the tourist areas. You can buy anything from shoes to butchered meat and everything in between. The sights and smells are interesting but can also be a little off-putting if you are not used to them.

When we got home, Malachi mentioned that he really wanted a Little Ceasers Pizza from a shop near by. That restaurant is very popular here in Antigua. As you walk down the street you will often run into people carrying their boxes. We picked up the pizza around 8:30 in the evening. It was good, but it was also a little different. We enjoyed the meal, and I was off to bed at around 9:30 in the evening.

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