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Sipp Guatemalan Tripp

Hi! The Sipp family is taking a trip to see our new family member, Maria, and to se the country of her heritage, Guatemala!

Diary Entries

Saturday, 24 February 2007

Location: Guatemala city, Guatemala

Today, I woke up, and waited for maria to wake up, when she did, we went to a breakfast buffet, and found out only my mom can feed her. She loves bacon. We then went back, watched tv, had pizza, Ect. until my dad and me went for a walk around. We got a taxi to the city square. We saw a free show of guys playing marimba in a latin band. And we also saw the Guatemalan version of the white house, The presidential palace. It was bigger, better, and more expensive than the white house. We went in and got a tour. We found out that during the Guatemalan civil war, a person in a car came up and put a bomb on the car and ran, and it blew up half the palace, but now it is reconstructed. We then found out that the president dosen't live there, he has his own house. Then we toured more palacy things there. And then we left and went to a huge national cathedral. It wastn't mary centered like the other churches. There was a wedding going on so we didn't stay. Then we took a taxi back to the hotel. Ate dinner, and went to bed.

Friday, 23 February 2007

Location: Antigua, Guatemala city, Guatemala

Today I woke up in Villa Antigua and got dressed. I went down to the breakfast buffet with my family because we finaly had time to do so. My mom ran into a"omlete Bully" who was bullying her because he said he already ordered with another person but my mom got her's first. After that we left and got onto a taxi and started to drive to Guatemala City, when we got there, we started seeing skyscrapers and a huge tower for a mcdonalds(no not a corporate headquarters), and our 10 story outdoor heated pool fancy shmancy hotel. When we drove in you could look one way and see a giant fountain or the other way and see a giand spinny door with gold edges. On the lobby floor, every thing on the floor, walls and ceiling was made of marbel, what I mean by fancy shmancy. We went to the receptionist and he said we couldn't get a room till like 11:00, and we didn't, so when we did, we unpacked and went downstairs to wait for Maria. When she got here, she was awesome. We left the lobby and went to our room after. Maria had a little thing she did which was like "cht!!" and it is like her version of "Hey you!!". She cried about losing her foster parents for three days. but by the end of the day, she knew us by name and would cry if my mom left the room. She is very smart, at 2, she can climb up and down stairs, brush her own teeth, open and close bottels you have to screw with, and more. When she got something, it was hers, and no one could have it exept her. At night, we went to the piano bar, I played like 20 songs and she loved it. Then we went back to our room and ate dinner, and then we went to bed.

Thursday, 22 February 2007

Location: Antigua, Guatemala

Today, I woke up, and unlike the other days, we finally had some time to stay at the hotel room before we left. After that time, we got a cab and went to the school where Kristina works. We were kind of late it was the end of her class. She taught art and english to kindergarte n through 4th graders. she was teaching art. She was a good teacher all the kids agreed. We had them ask us questions so they learn a little english. After that it was recess and olunch time, so she said she would talk to us about the school. First we saw where all the classrooms were, very small unfotunately, then we went to the playground room. compared to the classrooms it was huge. They had a wooden playground set that was built months ago by the church in Dover. Lunch was served as choclate covered frozen bananas (I had one), fried pig rind (pig skin with ketchup mostly), fruit frozen together like a popsicle, some nacho like little tortillas and various other snacks. We noticed that there was barbed wire around as they been robbed twice and they have to have guards at night and a gate guard child for the day time. After that we took a tour with one of Kristinas friends, whose name was Juan, one of the best English speaker that we met besides Kristina. But he thought that he wasn't very good. So next we went to a very large gold chuch from the sixteenth century. We went inside and it was very interesting and different from our churches. So you look through an d you see a large huge golden stand behind the alter, with two statues of famous saints and then youlook up, you expect to see a crucifix with Jesus on it or something like that, but no, a giant statue of Mary with a golden crown with a hugh aura of gold around her but with dark eyes, you could see some kind of evil in them. I noticed that every statue of Jesus in the church had him suffering and there was even one of him in a coffin, I wonder why. If you went to one side there were lots of priests tombs in the walls, then if you looked to the right from that side there was a golden stand, and a statue, a cross in the background with a shining dove at the top, at the right was what looked like jesus with a cross staff, and on the left was a man, close to looking like jesus, with a green pyramid in one hand, a cross in the other, a green pyramid above his head, wearing green robes. Jesus and the other guy were both standing on the heads on people. I guess it stood for father(the robed guy), son(Jesus), and holy spirit(dove). There was something cool going on at the time, people were dyeing woodchips with veggies, and making beutiful designes that looked like a woven carped, I was told by Juan that it was for walking through during a precession. I later learned that when the pope comes to guatemala, they make a 14 kilometer path like that from the airport to the city square in Guatemala City, Then he just would walk through it. After that, we went to another church, The oldest place in Antigua. The church was extremely old, and creepy, more like a monestary than a church. In the chapel, there was nothing because it was destroyed in an earthquake. He showed us a monk's tomb, It was creepy as can be, lots of candels around a coffin with a statue of Mary laying on it covered with flowers. Juan said that if you are alone, sometimes you can hear moaning. He led us into what was the dormitory. In the center there was a nail in a brick. If you stood on it there was a weird echo that no one else could hear. Trust me I heard it.After that we went to another part of the Church where monks were punnished, it was a little corner with a hole in the ceiling. A bad monk would sit there and get water poured all over him all night long, and nights are wicked cold in Guatemala. After that Juan had to go to school, He was 19 and in 9th grade, It is sad that you have to go down grades because of no proper education, like there was a 14 year old in 2nd grade. After that we went out to lunch with Kristina.Then we went to an arch, the most famous symbol of guatemala. It was built so nuns could go through the arch to cross the street without being seen by pedestrians. Then we went to the market and Kristina left. We bough lots of stuff, and had the best bargin ever, It was 2000 quetzel to 450 quetzel because the merchant was so presistent. We then rode a little three wheeled thing called a tuk-tuk, it was the bumpiest thing ever. When we arrived in the hotel we just ate, watched a movie, and went to bed.

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Location: pacaya and antigua, Guatemala

Today, I woke up at 5:30 in the morning along with my family. The tour guide picked us up at 6. We drove for an hour and a half. On the ride, we saw a sunrise. The sunrise was different from home because it had to go over the mountains and through the mist. When we still were driving, the tour guide said we were going to the largest active volcano around, Pacaya. We drove up about a quarter of the way up the mountain, took pictures, went to about halfway, and got of. We got a mountain guide, and rented to horses to take us up a little bit. Riley wanted to name his sprinkles, but it was already named Princessa. Me and Ri both got our own horse for a bit, then my mom was getting tired so the guide said we could get me and Ri onto one horse and she could have one. At first I was in the front and riley was in the back, but riley kept falling off, so we switched. When we rode on horses, a father and his son led them. The father and his son kept talking about how much the son needs to learn English and the son kept saying no. When we got to a rest point we dismounted, and looked off the mountain. We saw Guatemala City in the distance, a geothermal power plant(one that uses heat from underground to steam water and turn turbines) used for the volcanic energy under ground, and lake Adadlon. We then kept going and eventually made it to where the horses couldn’t go any more. As we were walking over the grassland, out of nowhere popped this huge pile of volcanic rock in a line shape leading up to the summit, which was hundreds of meters away. The Guide says that pile of rock was flowing lava eight months ago, And that the huge lava field we were about to go onto was also only from eight months ago. My brother came to like a dog that had no collar and followed us up the mountain, but it didn’t go farther than the beginning of the lava field. The field was basically a giant plateau of black rock called basalt, some had iron in it. As we went across it, there were holes with heat coming out of them, the guide says that the holes lead to lava deep underground, and said not to touch them. He then took his stick and put it into a hole, and it instantly burst into flames. He also said to not touch the rock with your hands because they will cut them and you will bleed. None of us did. We kept going on, and my brother said he couldn’t do it, so she said he could have a whole pack of candy if he made it to the top. When we did, it was up to 5 packs. As we got to the top, the lava was amazing. My dad would describe it as “Your garage in lava flowing down at .00001 miles per hour”. We stayed at the top for a good 15 minutes and watched it move ten feet. The tour guide said it was like 900 degrees because we were so close to the lava, feet away. We didn’t go to the top of the mountain because the terrain there is so unstable; one wrong step can trigger a tremor. And then we got the perfect example, an avalanche suddenly busted out of the top of the volcano but didn’t hit us. We then went back down the mountain, and when we reached the village we started in, it was up to 7 pieces of candy. We then left, drove back, watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. After that, Mrs. Vennible, our gym teacher’s daughter, Kristina, took us out to dinner. We went to a steakhouse. Both she and I had a philly steak cheese sub, riley had a plain steak, and Dad had a shrimp kebab with Mom. For drinks I had lemonade, which was way richer here that home, so did my mom, Ri had diet coke, Dad also had diet coke, and Kristina had a cool shake thing called a licuada con fresas which is blended up strawberry with milk and varios other ingredients. For dessert we had lots of cakes. But I had a licuada con fruta, which is milk mixed with strawberry, pinaple, papaya, melon, and various other ingredients. After, we walked around, went to the beautiful central park, and to the coolest mcdonalds on earth, because it had a outdoor park with a fountain and benches, a place called mcinternet which was an internet café corner, and a cool fountain indoors, along with a beautiful playplace area. We then got a cab and went to bed. I had to type this tommarrow.

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Location: Varios towns, mainly santiago, Guatemala

Today I woke up and got dressed, our tour guide picked us up at 7 A.M. We then left on a long three and a half hour trip. at first, we left Antigua and went onto a new highway, paved and not with stone. The guide told us it was made two months ago. It was all in a large manmade stone canyon on the side of the mountains. In a while we went through a coffee plantation. I saw how the plantation owners liven in large haciendas. We kept driving and went through a town. I saw how people advertised things on there houses to make money. Probably the biggest thing advertised was Orange Crush Soda. My brother noticed that first. Another big advertisement was Tigo, a cellphone company. We kept driving on and went through a village. I noticed how people lived in scrap metal shacks and recycled huts, I noticed how greatfull we should be for the money we have. We kept driving on and I found out from the guide that the volcano only smokes every two or three weeks, and we were lucky to see it. we kept going on through more villages for a long time until we were just on the mountain with no settlements. After a while, in the middle on nowhere in the range, there was a small market, we didn't buy anything though. As we kept on driving, we saw more markets like that. We were almost to Lake Atatlon, and we saw it, it was the most beutiful thing in guatemala. We saw farther away, there was a cemetury, that looked like it was a city of colored buildings. The guide told us that people can't read or write so they have a little colored building for there family, if you can remember your color, you can find your grave. we finnaly arived in a little tourist town on the side of the lake, it had a market called orange crush plaza. We got on a boat and rode to the other side, to a market town called Santiago. we got off and the guide led us to a church, with 18 steps to get up to it, one for every month on the mayan calender. The church was beutiful, and interesting. There were no roofs on churches like this one until the 1800s because the people belived that you needed to see heaven. The candle place, you know, where you light a candle and say a prayer, was different, you light a different color candel for a different prayer. We then went to the market and spent all the money we had. We bought some mini bannanas that my dad had to have, a wooden piano carving that was a drawer secretly, a mask, a cool cloth, a wooden snake, and much more. People would do anything to sell somthing, it wold be like "100 quetzel" "No 75 quetzel" "fine eighty" "75 or no deal" "fine here you go". We left to go to the other side of the lake, some kids begged for change, we felt sorry for them but we had none. we went back to the other side of the lake, I went to sleep for the car ride, and we went back to the resort, and now I am typing this. I will go to bed after. Cya tommarrow!!

Monday, 19 February 2007

Location: Antigua, Guatemala

When we woke up in the morning, it was amazing. It was like the first time we realy ever saw Guatemala. We got out of our suite and went into the courtyard, it was amazing, there was a huge fountain in a garden surrounded by arches, and behind those were the room doors. After that we got dressed and explored the resort, "Villa Antigua". When we were walking around the main lobby, we saw a door leading into the reastraunt, "Los Chimenaes". We got a breakfast buffet there, it was good food, and my mom tricked my brother into thinking that Guatemalans don't eat lunch, just a big breakfast and dinner. Later, I told my brother that it wasn't true. Later, we explored more. The resort had two pools, a parrot park (a little place full of parrots), a disco bar, whatever that is, a large confrence room, where a conference was held all day, and numerous board rooms. While in one of the hallways full of boardrooms, I found out how to turn on the fountains, and did with every one I saw. After that, we took a tour of the city, starting with the jade factory. On the ride there, my brother had altitude sickness the whole ride, and I noticed that, all the of the buildings in one block were the connected, and that the roads weren't paved, they were rocks embedded in the ground. The jade factory was interesting, I found out that jade comes in many colors, and that all the stuff they make is by hand. Then, we continued on the tour. The next thing we passed by was some ruins, but we didn't get to go in those. Then we went past 14 yellow chapels, one for each of the mayan-christian steps to following Jesus. then we found out as we were passing by, that coffee is a cash crop in Guatemala, and is grown only under a large tree. We then stopped at some ruins. I got out and examined them, They were the almost fully in-tact ruins of a 16th century church, and then I saw it, the active volcano on one side of the valley Antigua was in, it was amazing. On the ride to the next destination, the tour guide was talking about religion, He said there is a Guatemalan religion that was unnamed, and they technically worshiped corn, not kidding. Then we arrived at our next destination, a public wash centur. While we were there, we noticed cops with huge machine guns, and I've heard they arent afraid to use them. We then went to our next destination, a macedamia farm, and collected macedamia nuts. We also bought a bag of chocolate covered macedamia nuts for 20 quetzel, the currency of Guatemala, in which 7.70 quetzel eaquales 1 dollar. After that we went to a market, but had trouble bartering with the spanish speaking merchants. One time, I was trying to buy a ring, but I kept getting nothing but too small or too big rings, so I ended up not buying anything. My mom bought gatorade though, my brother drank it and felt all better. After that we went back to the resort, and went swimming. After that we spent 50 quetzel on an hour of tennis. Then we went on a walk through downtown Antigua. It wasn't anything like downtown Dover. The good houses had metal shingles and painted walls, the average house had wooden shingles and slightly painted walls, and the poor house had rotted wooden shingles with plantes growing on them and unpanted bad walls, the poor houses were most common. In Guatemala people think of it as disrespectful to wear unformal dressing in public, so we couldn't wear shorts even though it was hot out. after that we went into a store, it was barely 5 by 15 feet, and every wall was a shelf, merchandice included, cereal, milk in a box, and ice cream, after that we went back to the resort, had pizza, watched star wars episode three with spanish subtitles, and typed this blog, and now I'm going to bed.

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Recent Messages

From Justin
Glad you're having a good time, John! Have you ever played in a piano bar before? I've done it a couple times. It's pretty fun to do.
Response: Yes it is fun, No I haven't played before, but I was well recieved by the international crowd.
From Colby
i think its safe to say that my day beat yours. i woke up, took three giant steps to the left, got some grub, took three giant steps to the right, fell asleep, and woke up the next morning. hah! that totally beats volcanic eruptions! just kidding. sounds like quite the trip though. keep writing and ill keep reading.

From Dorrie
It' sounds like everyone is having a great time and the weather has been nice and warm, it think it got up around 30 today. I checked the cats & fish with Michael today and everyone is great (one cat hiding). Riley, Michael is keeping your shark company until you get home. Diane you can watch Grey's online (I just finished last weeks) and no commericals!! John I have totally enjoyed reading your diary entries. Hi Jay!!
From Pete & Ellen
Hi John!
From looking at the pictures it looks like you are having a wonderful adventure! We can't wait to read about your new sister. Pete and I have been reading the blog every day. How many months are in the Mayan calender? How large were the coffee plantations? Hope you are all having a safe trip! We're looking forward to more pictures, we feel like we're there with you!
Be safe, and love to you all!
Pete & Ellen
Response: The coffe plantations were huge and the mayan calender has 18 months
From Ron Smith
John, as a former newsman, book editor and writing professor I want to tell you that you are doing a great job of reporting. I will have to send your name to my alma mater, Boston University's School of Communication, so they can recruit you.
By the way be sure to stay up late one night and go see the disco bar. You will learn something about your mother and "Dancing Queen."
Your Uncle, Ron
From John and Susan Batty
Wow, John! What an amazing writer you are! We feel like we are right there with you climbing the steps into the church! John's favorite parts are the references to Riley (aren't little brothers great?) We're wondering if Riley is going to show off his unique talents to the local villagers...Can't wait to hear more.
From Cousin Mollie again!
PS. I just looked at all the pictures and she is ADORABLE! I can't wait to meet her. Oh, and I play tennis too! I'm actually playing indoor this winter too...maybe we can play sometime! I'll have to start one of these journals myself too, next year I'm going to England and France! Talk to you later!
From Cousin Mollie
Hey mom just showed me this. It's so cool to read! I hope everything is going quite well and that soon you'll be with Maria! I can't wait to read more, and if you have a screen name e-mail it to me or something, it'd be cool if we could talk cause I haven't seen you since you were very little and we would cuddle all the time! I miss you, hopefully I'll see you this summer at the reunion! Lots of love!
From Justin
Hey, John and family!
Glad you guys are enjoying the warm temperatures in Guatemala! Are there any music stores down there? lol Can't wait to see you guys again. BeyondBlue is playing at Henry Law Park in downtown Dover on May 19th at 11:00 AM. Hope you guys can make it!

God Bless

PS. Pastor Steve says hi!
Response: Thanks Justin, we probably can make it, no music stores down here, lol, weather good though, Hi pastor steve!
From John
What about your new sister, you have not said anything about her yet. Have you seen her or taken her on any of your trips?
Uncle Bob
Response: No, we are going to see her on friday.
From Pastor Brian
Hey John, sounds like you've seen some really neat stuff. The cemetery must have been pretty unusual, but colorful.
Have a great day, can't wait to read more!
God's Blessings,
Response: it was unusulal, Thank you
From John
Thanks for all the information on your trip. It is very interesting to read and view your pictures. Have a good time. Uncle Bob
From Aunt Maggie
I love your journal, John! I look forward each evening to checking on your adventures every day. Please give your Mom and Dad a big hug from me, then hug Riley, and then make them all hug YOU for me!
I'll be tuning in tomorrow!

Response: Thank you, My dad says hi
From Tammy
Thanks for including us by letting us read your journal. How cool is that! I'm going to be 'with' you on your trip. I'm looking forward to reading your journals. Keep them coming! I've already learned some new things. I thought 'jade' was just green, right? hum... And I love mac nuts. yummy. Not sure about worshipping corn though.. but us Americans sure worship lots of stuff with 'corn' in it!
have a great day.
From Dorrie
Well Diane - Leaving Logan wasn't so bad, I only had to loop around by the terminals once after I dropped you off (I see what you mean, I was on my way into the tunnels but cut to the left at the last minute). Have a wonderful trip, I'll check in with you later John.
From Elyse Cookson
Hello John,
It sounds like your first day was awesome. Chocolate covered macedamian nuts...yummy! Did you know fifth grade teachers need those to survive through the rest of winter. When do you get to go hiking and see the mountains? I can't wait to hear about that trip. The weather was very cold yesterday, just like it has been everyday. If we had been in school it would have been indoor recess, AGAIN! Today, is supposed to be almost 40 degrees and same for tomorrow. I am looking forward to that.
I went snowshoeing on Saturday at PCA and around the Rabbit Run trail. I fell a couple of times and had a hard time getting up because I was laughing so hard. It was my first time snowshoeing and I did it. It was pretty easy. I can't wait to head to the mountians this weekend to do some more.
I look forward to reading your next entry, John. Give your mom and dad a hug. Say hi to Riley for me.
Mrs. Cookson
Response: Thanks Mrs.Cookson, we are hiking the volcano tomorrow, I will think of you and your snowshoes.
From The Tillinghast Fami
Wow! Sound like you had a full first day! We hope Riley is feeling better - Gatorade always does the trick. We can't wait to read you next posting - keep 'em coming :-)
From Eric Ross
Hello John, It's Monday and I hope your trip down was easy. How do you like Guatemala City? I haven't been there in 16 years. Looking forward to reading about your trip. PS Tell your dad we're picking tonight... Eric
From Terry J
Hey! You're probably in the air! Post lots of PIctures if you can!! I'll check back! I bet you can't wait to meet Maria! I've seen some pictures and she's a sweet heart!

From Uncle Russ
Hi John,
Nana and Da are staying with us and Da is not comfortable getting e-mail on my computer so if you send them something directly send it through me. I will be printing out your daily updates for them to read. Have a wonderful trip and say hello to Maria from all of us.
From Chris
Good luck and Happy Chinese New Year
From Tim Battye
Dear Sipps,
YOU CREATED A TRAVEL WEBSITE!!! Can't wait to read all about it. We found a sock hat for Riley to go with his sockpants!!! Maybe it will give him EXTRA strength\motivation
during wrestling!!!
CANT wait for the next update. Tomorrow we will be in New Zealand.
Response: Thanks tim, i would like that sock for Ri!
From tyler
Hi john i miss you already even though youll only be gone a week. Our family hope you have a great trip
Response: Tyler, I miss you too
From The Tillinghast Fami
John and Family, Thank you so much for including us! We will follow your trip each day so make sure you keep us posted. We are so very excited to meet Maria in the spring - you are a very special family welcoming a very special girl into your lives. We wish you a very safe trip and can't wait to see all the pictures when you return. Take care and best wishes.
From Eric Ross
Jay, get on the ball and find those tickets! John, looking forward to reading your updates.
Response: Thanks, Good my dad found out they were electronic tickets!