People We've Met Around The World
There are a lot of cool people around the world - here are some of the one's we've met.
Alistair came to South America on the 14th of September with the plan to ride 10,000 km from Santiago to the bottom of Patagonia, up the coast of Argentina to the border with Brazil then across to Peru and back down to Santiago by the 20th December. We met Alistair on a boat from Puerto Montt to Ayeser, Chile.
While hanging out in Coyahique with Darly, we checked CouchSurfing.com for any Couch Surfers in the area who would like to hang out that night. We found Alex. We had some great conversation about culture at a cool hang-out place.
William and I got to Coyahique on Halloween. We went to a restaurant and asked the waitress if there was any cool places to hang out for Halloween that night and she said there was. In fact she came with us to hang out. Darly was the waitress.
Gladys and Fernando Contreras
The Contreras' were our first homestay in Chile thanks to the Toro family in Kentucky. They are very active in their church and are super-nice. They let us stay in a part of the house that was sectioned off with its own bathroom and bedroom.
We arrived at their house at 3AM so we didn't see them until the next day. When they met us they were very surprised because they thought we were going to be Hispanic.
They have a cute little dog named Luna which became our first Chilean friend.
Lara and Claudia
Although they are both German, they are quite opposites. Claudia has what I believe to be the typical German attitude about life. Nothing is sugar-coated. She's also one of the only Germans I have met that doesn't speak English - only German and Spanish.
Lara always has a smile on her face and is Ms. Adventurous. She was the first one down the waterfall on the sketchy rope, the only one to jump off the cliff and was always looking for a different more exciting path then everyone else when traversing the beautiful landscape of Semuc Chempey.
Lara almost joined us for a leg of our Chilean journey, but wasn't able to. You can see both of them in podcast Episode #7.
Mike, Monolo and Carmen
This dance trio own a dance studio called "Salsa Max." I went into their studio to see if they'd be willing to exchange West Coast Swing lessons for Salsa lessons. So we danced a lot in the studio and the Salsa club called La Sin Ventrua. I also taught a "Funky Line Dance" class in their studio before we left Guatemala.
Spending most of her life outside of the Czech Republic, Iva speaks mainly English and has forgotten much of her native language, Czech. She went with us to Semuc Chempey and you can see her in podcast Episode #7 as the one who was poking my feet when I thought little fish were biting me.
Becky is another fellow CSA student. She is staying in Guatemala for many months working with a foster home for girls in San Cristobol. Becky is the one who had the crazy truck story to tell in podcast Episode #7. Becky is awesome because she likes to dance. ;)
While studying Spanish at CSA, we ran into Lisa who is staying in Antigua for a few months to better her Spanish. She went with us to Panajachel and you can see her in podcast Episode #6.
Blanca and Melanie
Blanca works as a teacher at Shalom School in Guatemala City. I met Blanca several years ago when I came down as a computer teacher. Melanie is a student at Shalom School and Blanca's sister. Blanca is not Melanie's teacher though.
Both girls can dance Salsa and now a little West Coast Swing. You can see a brief clip of me Salsa dancing with Melanie followed by a clip of Blanca's smiling face in podcast Episode #2.
Lisa & Kathi
While we were getting our groove on in Panajachel with the locals, Lisa and Kathi were doing the same. Being the only other white people around, we struck up a conversation and realized that they are some really cool German chicks. Kathi showed me a cool Bavarian dance that we were able to dance to the local music. We stopped at a cafe afterwards and danced a little more.
Brian is an Anesthesiologist from Arkansas. For the past 3 years he has volunteered with Health Talents International, an organization in which doctors from all over the world join together for a week to volunteer in a place that needs their help. This year Brian took an extra week to come to Antigua to study Spanish before meeting the rest of the team to work in a clinic in Guatemala. Brian is the guy in Episode #5 who was nice enough to walk all the way across town to buy drugs for me when I was too sick to get out of bed.
Doobie-Smoking Couch Guy
At our shady Guatemalan hotel we were staying at, I was talking to William across the balcony that opened up to the outside. Below the balcony was a guy sitting on a couch smoking some "wacky tobacco".
I was telling William that I was trying to shave down the runtime of our latest podcast. Couch Guy spoke up.
CG: What are you here for?
Me: We're traveling around the world.
CG: [Nods his head. Awkward silence].
Me: So what are you here for?
CG: I'm on a spiritual journey.
Me: That's cool.
CG: [Nods his head an takes a long drag from his cigarette.] You know anything about the Mayan calendar?
Me: Yeah, I know a little bit about it.
CG: Do you follow it?
Me: No, I just know a little about it.
CG: What do you know about it?
Me: Well, basically just that the world is supposed to end on December 12, 2012.
CG: But what do you know about it?
Me: That's all I know about it.
CG: [Dramatic pause. Nods head.] It's important.
CG: [Lots of awkward silence.]
Me: Well, it was good talking to you...
We met Doug and Brandon while studying Spanish at CSA in Antigua, Guatemala. They are working with an organization in Antigua to help fight against trafficked people. They are great guys and you can see more of them in podcast Episode #6. Brandon is the official negotiator and Doug is the cray dancer at the end.
This guy came up to me in a cafe in Guatemala and looked at my MacBook Pro and said, "I got a joke for you. I was too poor to afford an apple, so I bought a lemon." That one didn't even deserve a courtesy laugh - not even from a punny guy like myself. After the joke he preached to me for almost an hour. Here are some snippets:
WC: I'm from the only state in the United States.
WC: Yep! .... Where are you from?
WC: Kentucky!? I've never met anyone from Kentucky. Do they even have enough people to put in that state?
WC: So when are you going back home?
Me: In a year - September 2009.
WC: The States won't be there. With the way the economy is, it's clear form the bible that we're in the end times. God told me the States won't exist in a year.
WC: You know you should always go to the original text when studying the bible. The translations are always off. Some of them are so far off that they aren't even scripture like the NIV. And The Message is just as demonic as that ko-ran or the satin bible. [...] Every single one of these Spanish translations of the bible is just way off. Not even one of them is even close. They are misleading the sheep.
We met this British-trio in the Beagle Barn in Antigua, Guatemala. William and I were about to leave when they came over to our table and asked if they could take our place. We started chatting and found that Leza and Dave are a married couple who are traveling the world together. They have been to many places already and met up with Hadley a few countries back. They were planing on traveling with Hadley for a few more stops before Hadley would go in a new direction.
They told us about how cool Semuc Champey was and because of that small conversation, podcast Episode #7 exists.
Matthew and Melissa Hyder
Matthew and his wife Melissa are William's cousins from Michigan. Melissa graduated from Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Matthew from Wheaton College in Illinois. They are currently living in Chicago, Illinois working with Youth Outreach Services and were kind enough to open their home to us on the first night of the trip. Melissa also makes an awesome breakfast.