Tag Archives: Antiguena Spanish Academy

Antigua, Saturday, 3 November 2012 to Sunday, 11 November, Day 123 to Day 131

Antigua Guatemala

Studying Spanish at Antiguena Spanish Academy back on Monday 🙂

Hi for those of you that where worried that there was an earthquake in the region measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale. Here in Antigua we only had the earth shaking for about 5 minutes. My first experience of an Earthquake which I thought was cool at the time, however what was a cool experience for me was not the same for the 40 plus people who died and many more that are suffering due to this earthquake it makes me feel guilty at the pleasure and excitement I had when it was happening as you do not realise how serious these things are till later my condolences and thoughts go out to those effected by the quake. I am safe and well.

So have not touched this for more than a week so I guess an update is required 😦

So what have I been up in the last 9 days in Antigua well here is a short brain dump in no particular order

  • The plan was to try learn Spanish so I have spent the last 9 days getting up at 6.30am in the morning doing 4 hours of Spanish a day and I can tell you it is exhausting. Can I speak Spanish well considering I cannot speak English that well and my Dutch ain’t so hot one could say I have a vague understanding of the lingo but I plan to do some more even though it was knackering I thoroughly enjoyed my self. I had two teacher Iliana for the 1st two days at the school then Mary for the next 7 days which we spent outside in a gorgeous garden which was a very pleasant environment for learning. Both teachers wonderful folks with the patients of a saint as I stutter and stumbled through my first lessons in Spanish.

Mary y Iliana gracias por sus pacientes en ayudarme a aprender a español muy apreciados 🙂 For those thinking my Spanish is that good its not I just used a translator on me computer.

Philly learning spanish in the garden with Mary

  • Do you recall I mentioned that my fitness levels where not as they used to be and something needed to be done about it so not being one to do anything half-heartedly I spent and afternoon doing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultimate_(sport) Ultimate Frisbee. Great fun but bloody knackering for an old geezer like me. Every Sunday the local expats in Antigua organise a game and all are welcome. Met a bloke called Chris who worked as a motorcycle tour guide in town who was a wealth of info so cheers mate and an honourable link to your company http://www.catours.co.uk

Ultimate Frisbee Antigua

  • While I am on the fitness binge I played basketball as well this week and did not do to bad since is was about 30 years ago since I done any dribbling (Insert inappropriate joke/pun here) Also very amusing but it is strange how folks can take a 3 on 3 basketball match so seriously it was amusing to watch if not a little sad. Our Team Me Jamie and Haley where playing for laughs and the other team seemed to be playing for life and death and we still thrashed them so the tall Aussie the nippy Canadian and the wily old crafty tubby English bloke from Holland whooped ass



  • I guess as I have mentioned Jamie and Haley and they where insistent that they get a mention in this blog. Along with Ali an another Australian girl these are the folks I have spent most of the time hanging around with this week and very pleasant company they where to as they where mostly drunk and I was sober which was entertaining for me to be the sober one for a change.


  • I spent a pleasant afternoon learning how to make Chocolate at Chocolate Factory and learning about the Cocoa Bean. Fascinating and to top it all I got to sample loads in liquid form and they like there chocolate with spices and pepper and I must say I am rather partial to it to 🙂

    • Spent many an hour just wondering around Antigua which is a beautiful city with a really cool vibe surrounded by volcanoes one of which is active so every now and again you see a puff of smoke coming from it. I spent an afternoon trying to locate some specific oil for my chain oiler I was not successful but pleasant afternoon trying in my best Spanish in a cool bike shop whose address I had got from Chris. While wandering around I stumbled into a gorgeous cemetery just as it was getting dark really beautiful and interesting place not sure on the protocol on wandering around taking piccies in a cemetery at dusk but I tried to be respectful. Another amusing session while getting my glasses fixed me teaching the optician English him teaching me Spanish as it took him ages trying to get the fiddly tiny little screws done up. Antigua was a great place to stay for a while I really loved the place






  • Its official Philly has no Latin blood in him at all and he also has two left feet. How do I know this well I tried a lesson in Salsa Dancing, which is great fun, but I do not have much talent or the hip movement to be any good at this. There was a free lesson so about 30 of us crammed into a tiny dance studio first we did the merengue and then the salsa. Changing partners every 5 minutes so I got to dance with loads of different chicas and fortunately for them they could move on to the younger more talented chicos down the line. I did a bit of practice with Haley during the week whilst playing basketball but I am still not getting the hang of it so Friday night another Salsa lesson and later to a Salsa bar where I realised I got a long ways to go if I am ever going to be able to get on a dance floor in Latin America but I am willing to give it a good old go as its really loads of fun.
  • As mention yesterday staying a Guatemalan family who has a puppy this we took for a walk a couple of times which was fun as it had no training what so ever and practical dragged whoever who was walking him and strangling himself in the process. Totally loopy

    I thought he was called Deure but found out it was something completely different!

  • The Darker side of Antigua one night me and Hayley were walking home from the pub when we went down a street with few people hanging around with an eerie silence. At the end the road were the police had cordoned it off so we could not get through. So I ask what had happened with my weak Spanish and was told that someone had shot themselves in the head so a suicide. So we go back to get to our house and it there a real strange uncomfortable vibe on the street as we get to the other end of the street a women comes racing along the street screaming and crying I guess she just heard the news. We were quite shook up by all of this and the walk back to the house very subdued. In the following days we found out it was not a suicide but the bloke had been shot in the face 5 times the owner of the bookstore opposite the school I still do not know the reason why but one can make an educated guess that there is a darker side to this lovely city.
  • And finally Jackie if you are reading this I gave you the wrong name of the boat from Panama to Columbia it is http://stahlratte.org oops sorry.

Jamie and Jackie

So I had great time in Antigua and I will miss it the bicycle bells for the ice cream the whistle for the paper man. Fresh tortillas delivered everyday for lunch cool bars with wonderful views great little Spanish school which I highly recommend to anyone wanting to learn Spanish however it is time to move on. First Brand new country for me of this trip Honduras here I come.


Leon, Monday, 18 November 2012 to Friday, 23 November 2012, Day 139 to Day 143

Bike parked at the bar whilst bossman is trying yet again to learn Spanish 🙂

Studying Spanish at Dariana Spanish School back on Saturday 🙂

So what have I been up to this week well truth be told I have sort of grounded to halt must be the heat because I do not recall doing a lot this week. As soon as I crossed the border into Nicaragua the sun came and it’s been extremely hot and sweaty ever since making doing anything a chore so slowly slowly is the order of the day.

  • Dariana Spanish school. Back to the books again I am determined to get better at Spanish well as determined as you can be when its hot and there are lot of siesta’s needed to get you through the day. I went to the school on Monday morning and started my lesson with David that afternoon. There was huge American group still in on the Monday and Tuesday so no homestay available for me so I stayed put in the dorms in the Viavia not to conducive to learning but the cleaner Marie Therese did help me a bit with my homework. David is a young 26 old Nicaraguan lad who has only been teaching for 2 years and he does not speak a lot of English but we had a fun 5 days I am not saying my Spanish is much better but I did enjoy myself and that is the reason why I am doing this trip. I think my Spanish is a tad better but like any language it is just a case of practice practise and put the work in. I did 2 afternoons and 3 mornings 20 hours and a bit of homework in total only me there for the 1st 3 days and at the end of the week 2 others joined so very quite in comparison to the Antigua Spanish School. So a big thank you to David I really enjoyed my week with you.  I even got a certificate 🙂

    David great teacher and Nicaraguan History story teller

  • Story of Nicaragua. On our first lesson David took me into town to show me the Murals and he gave me an excellent history lesson and story on Nicaragua and explained the symbolism in the pictures. Fascinating stuff I knew bits and pieces but I never knew the whole story it looks like they have been screwed over by the Spanish then by the Americans paranoid about communism and then protecting there interests in the Panama. Hopefully they are on the right path now well rid of the imperialist colonists and making a go of it with out to much interference from the outside world if that’s at all possible in today’s world. From what I have seen it is a nice country and nice folks.(Please note this was all done in Spanish so I must be getting a bit better)

    Great murals especially if you know the story behind them thanks again David

    After revolution life goes on

  • Gouda cheese. The good thing about staying somewhere a bit longer is you can get a nice breakfast rhythm going for me in Leon this was at Pan Y Pan. A French bakery with a French baker married to a Dutch lady whom I met whilst driving my motorcycle through the bar on my first day. So you could get a French baguette sandwich and they had locally made Gouda Cheese, which was very nice. So for 5 days a morning ritual of a cheese sandwich and a cup of coffee in a nice courtyard and then to school. I do miss routine sometimes as I am continually on the move not knowing where I will be the next day so its nice to stay in a one place for a short while
  • As I mentioned in the previous posting there where 4 other motorcyclist staying at the Viavia including me so that is Chris, Chloe, Paul and Daryl and Alex and Andrea who also came round whilst in town so for the first couple of nights I hung out with theses guys swapping tall stories and trying to get as much info on the road ahead as possible with out scaring the shit out of myself. It was a bit quite after they all left but will meet up with 4 of them maybe on the way down to Panama City and definitely on the boat to Columbia

    Daryl getting the bike through the restaurant and bar

  • On Monday there was a trivia quiz night so only me Chris and Chloe left so we had a small team of the 3 of us battling against the huge regular teams. We did not do to bad but not in the prizes (Not even close :-)) These two started in Buenos Aires and are doing the same trip as me but in the opposite direction they have the same issue as me as they will be hitting the weather as they go north like I will be as I go South here is the link to there bog for those of you who like motorcycle blogs interesting reading and this is the territory Phillys is heading into. http://ccgadventures.wordpress.com
  • Saying Thank you not Gracias. Back to Spanish I have a weird block when it comes to saying Thank you. I always say Gracias which is correct however to me this does not sound like thank you or feel like a thank you so I always add on a Thank you and or merci to ensure that I have said Thank you this is totally redundant and confusing I guess it was the way I was brought up and I had please and thank you drummed into me from a young age and its still does not feel right even in a foreign language or as if I omit it I need to avoid the swift clip around me head so I add in a English thanks as well. I guess I was brought up to well as where the clip is going to come from here I do not know but I am still not willing to risk it 🙂
  • One of the things I liked about Leon was that the sirens in the town went of at 7am every morning so folks without clocks and watches knew it was time for work and they went of at 12am for lunch. Not sure if I heard them for the end of the day as well but I thought this was a great idea and a lot of my day was based on these sirens
  • Like I said quite a slow week after school I normally did some homework and hung around Viavia and at about 3pm or 4pm I would venture out as it was slightly cooler and wander all around Leon. Not quite Antigua but charming enough for wandering I enjoyed my time here but I need to be moving south.




Problem in doing a full week catch up is that I probably missed loads but I guess it could not have been that interesting if I forgotten about it already.