Saturday 12 January 2013
Highlights: ‘Stolen Bus’, Farewell Dinner
I enjoyed a good nights sleep at my homestay after the children tired me out the night before. I was able to recharge my iPhone and iPad swapping around my charger. The bano (toilet) was basic and I didn’t use the cold water shower. My host family were extremely friendly and yesterday was a real highlight of the trip. At 7 am I said goodbye to my family and was taken back to the local tourist office to reunite with my tour group.
As we waited at the dock it was obvious that everyone had positive experiences of the past 24 hours. We all exchanged stories of our experiences. It seems like I had one of the latest nights of the group, I expect showing photos using my iPad and then the children playing games extended the night somewhat. James stated that his gift of chicks went down really well. Our boat ride back to Panajachel only took 30 minutes this time for some reason, we must have been going a lot faster.
We had breakfast at a local restaurant recommended by Andrea, this was the second time for most people in the group. Laura rejoined us after styling here due to be unwell and she appeared to be much better. The orange juice she ordered came in a glass better then her head! Not sure if that is a great idea with a 4 hour trip back to Antigua planned 🙂
We had an hour before our planned van pickup and we spend the time shopping or in some cases visiting ATMs for additional cash for shopping. At 10.15 am we learnt that our van had been taken by another group from a different company. The van was called back, I wouldn’t want to have been that tour leader when he’s group were ordered of the van :). I was really impressed with Andrea’s professionalism, she keep everyone informed and happy despite the delay. The van / bus when it arrived was big enough for 24 people so everyone was happy with this comfortable transportation.
The drive back to Antigua was actually a lot faster than expected so despite losing an extra hour in Panajachel we got to Antigua at our originally estimated time. Quick showers by everyone and we met up again with Andrea who then took us to a laundry facility and then a tour company to book activities for tomorrow which is officially the departure day but we have 13 people continuing on so people are keen to do activities.
Our farewell dinner was a nice affair at an upscale restaurant. Andrea made an nice speech highlighting why she enjoys travel and thanking us for being a good group and supporting local communities with sustainable travel. Andrea bought a lot of energy and excitement to the group and we will miss her. Josie also gave a farewell speech since she is leaving at 4 am tomorrow, I know I will miss her enthusiasm. And finally we celebrated Laura’s birthday two days early and tried to embarrass her, something I think we failed to achieve 🙂
Tomorrow we will met three new tour members and our new tour leader.