(ok - I was going to start adding pictures to my posts, but Blogger is being stubborn again tonight)
The Drive to Panajachel, The Apartment and Dinner
As we headed out of town, things looked very familiar. It was the same route that we took when we went to Antigua.
After about 15 minutes - I'm not sure what happened......I fell asleep. ;)
I woke up about 2 hours (or so) later. Alex had fallen asleep before I did in dad's arms and was still sleeping when I woke up.
I woke up just as we were heading into the mountain part of the trip. I was a little worried as I tend to get motion sickness, but I just kept praying and enjoying the scenery.
Just before getting into the mountains it was field after field after field of various crops; corn, lettuce, onions, etc. The views were beautiful.
I think I was prepared for the trip up the mountain from reading about everyone else's trip. It was very curvy, hilly, no guardrails, etc. One thing that made me laugh is that every now and then there would be a road sign indicating that there was a curvy road up ahead - I don't know if that was necessary as all of the road that we were traveling on was curvy!!
Every now and then we would go through a small village. There were almost always little kids hanging out by the road - playing - or just watching. I kept seeing our kids in those faces - except for my Alex. We were pretty sure that my Alex was not Mayan - at least not in his recent past - this was verified by this trip. My Alex doesn't look anything like the kids I saw on my trip. (Jennifer - I saw Sara running by the side of the road on the way to Pana - I almost gasped - it could have been her twin)
At one point we were in, what I thought, was a pretty desolate part of the road. There was nothing in sight but trees and the mountain. All of the sudden I saw this man in traditional indigenous dress walking out of the woods. Who was he? Where did he come from? Where was he going? I couldn't get this man out of my head. To me, there was NOTHING around there, and I really wondered what he was doing.
I knew we were getting close when Gloria started gathering all of their things. By this time it was raining again, but not as hard as it had been earlier.
I still hadn't had a good glimpse of the lake yet. What I discovered later is that I should have been able to see it, but with the rain/clouds it made seeing all of the scenery a little difficult.
We pulled up to Sharon's house/Mayan Families. Everyone who was in the house came out to see Alex. It was nice to actually meet Sharon and the rest of her staff. I wasn't sure what was going to happen next. I was pretty sure I had said my goodbyes to Alex (although I knew that Sharon and I were going to visit the family the next day)
Sharon then told me that she was a little worried about Manuel and Gloria getting home that night. It was starting to get dark, and it was still raining. For them to get home, they were going to have to walk about 30 minutes literally up the side of the mountain. She was also a little worried about Alex's transition.
She asked me if I would be ok with Manuel, Gloria and Alex spending the night with me in the apartment. I hesitated......for longer then I usually hesitate. Sharon quickly noticed my discomfort and said that it would probably be awkward. By this point, I got my wits back to me and said that I'd be willing to do it.
Honestly, I didn't hesitate because of having them in my room, I hesitated because I thought I had said my goodbyes to Alex and I didn't know if I wanted to do it again.
While I was processing all of this in my head, Sharon was calling Patti to see if there was an extra bed in the apartment I was going to be staying in. We found out that there was only one bed, but Patti did have an extra apartment that she offered up to Manuel and Gloria to stay in. The staff asked Manuel and Gloria if they were ok with staying the night in Pana. This way they didn't have to walk up the mountain, they could go in the van with us the next day, and if Alex had a rough night, I would be there to help out.
At this point, my heart was really hurting. I knew that this would be best for Alex, but I didn't think it would best for me.
We took the van over to Patti's apartments. Just a note for any of you who are thinking of visiting Pana - stay at Patti's!!! The apartments are great (I have a video I'll post later), it's right on a busy road on Pana so it's great for people watching, you can't beat the price ($30 per night for one person), and Patti is great!!!
We got Manuel and Gloria settled in their room, and I got settled in mine. I then went into their room to show them the items we brought for them including how to put the pack n play together. I don't know how much they got as we didn't have a translator. I then left them alone to spend some time with Alex.
I went into my room and started getting my stuff organized. This is when I figured out that there was free Wi-Fi and I could communicate back home using my iPOD. That was very interesting - not easy - but I was happy to be able to email Jay and let him know that I made it. I was also able to check my email and my blogs.
I waited for a period of time, and then went back down to their room to see how he was doing. I was very happy to see that they turned the TV on and were watching one of those Spanish soap operas. I have no idea if they have ever had the opportunity to watch TV before or not, but I was glad that they were taking advantage.
On the trip to Pana, and then in the room, Alex would make this sound that sort of sounded like "mama" and he would only say it when he was looking at me. I'm not sure if that's what he was saying, but everyone thought that's what he was doing. I tried to play it off - but it was like a stab in my heart everytime he would say it. I was also trying to read Gloria through all of this. She is 10 months pregnant, and she looked exhausted. I'm sure a combination of not enough food, the pregnancy, and the stress of having her baby boy in another country was all weighing down on her. I also can't imagine how hard it had to be on her to see her child reaching for another mom and calling her mama. My heart also hurt for her.
It was soon time to head to dinner. Sharon, Patti, Patti's friend, and I were going to an Italian restaurant and meeting three ladies from Canada who were also visiting/volunteering with Mayan Families.
It was a beautiful night and the rain had stopped at this point. We made the short walk down to the restaurant. The menu was in both Spanish and English so that made it a little easier to find something to eat.
We had a wonderful evening - great company - great conversation - and a glass of wine for me. :) At this point, the mental/emotional exhaustion was giving way to the physical exhaustion I was feeling. By the time we were done with dinner and heading back to the apartments, it was 10:00 local time (midnight at home). My day had started at 3:45 and was ending around midnight.
I put my ear to Manuel and Gloria's door as I came in and everything sounded quite, so I decided to leave them alone. I got ready for bed, fell in, and almost fell asleep immediately. I think it was a good thing I was so exhausted so I didn't have time to lay in bed missing, Jay, my Alex, and Baby Alex.
Little did I know that Thursday was an easy day compared to what I was in store for on Friday.