This was my first trip to Latin America, and I really enjoyed seeing the two countries.
In Guatemala, our tour guide took us around the country for four days, visiting Mayan villages and markets.
I especially loved the bright colored textiles, and I bought some to hang on my wall or display on my table.
Both countries were very lush, with beautiful mountains and lakes and rivers.
And I loved the food. Every chance I got, I ate guacamole and refried beans.
At one restaurant, there was a woman making corn tortillas throughout our lunch.
That same restaurant had a baby deer begging for food at some of the tables.
I also appreciated the Spanish architecture in both countries - with festive indoor courtyards decorated with plants, colorful birds, and flowers.
It was a memorable trip for me -- a completely new experience.
I truly enjoyed seeing the simplicity of the lives of the people living in the countryside.
It reminded me of times long ago, when as a young child, I would stay at my grandparents' farm in Canada.
Many of the Mayans, in particular, live without the benefit of many modern conveniences.
They wove their own fabrics, and used those fabrics to carry other products to market. They also made baskets and used them to carry everything from produce to live chickens.
Our Mayan guide, who was born and raised in a Mayan village (but who had lived in Paris for three years, and traveled in Europe, and was a very talented and well educated young man who spoke four different languages) compared the Mayan people to our Native Americans. He said they both valued the land and nature.
In both Guatemala and El Salvador, the people who lived in the countryside seemed very hard working. They also seemed happy and friendly.
One woman whose son (one of eight sons) had taken her to lunch at the same restaurant where we were dining wanted to know what we thought of her country. We told her (with our guide translating) that we thought it was a beautiful country and we were enjoying it very much.
She asked how much time we had -- because she wanted to take us home and make us a home cooked meal.
Pretty nice, don't you think?
After this trip, I am planning to work on my Spanish some more, and build up my very rusty skills.
I would like to be able to communicate better - in what I hope will be future trips to Central and/or South America.