Sunday, June 24, 2012

Pasabien River

Saturday night, I stayed in the town square with Luis.  The place was bustling with activity, and there were about 100 people hanging out in the park area on benches, while kids raced around on bicycles and a few cars circled around blasting party music.  I met a lot more people who knew Luis, and they were all super friendly as well.

Waterfall in River Pasabien
Today on Sunday morning, I went with Luis and his family to River Pasabien, which is a cool stream that comes directly from the mountains where a lot of people go to swim.  Cool water is a luxury here because in Estanzuela, the drinking water comes from a hot spring deep underground, so all of the tap water and shower water is naturally hot (which is very nice during the winter, but not as great in the summer).  The river was very picturesque, with a waterfall and a great view of the mountains. 

After we returned from River Pasabien, I went with Luis to see some more farms around Estanzuela.  We saw papaya and cantaloupe fields, and also visited Luis’ friend Mario who owns another cattle farm.  I learned about the whole process of raising cattle from the calf stage until they are fully grown, when the cattle are shipped off in trucks to make beef.   However, Mario told me that he was going to need to relocate his farm soon, since the Guatemalan government is buying a large part of his land because it is in the way of a highway that is going to be built.  The highway is going to stretch all the way from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, to compete with the Panama Canal. 

Mario at his cattle farm in Estanzuela
Today, I also tried some authentic Guatemalan foods.  I had cheese and pork empanadas for lunch which were delicious.  For dinner, I went out with Luis and his friend to a tiny place that made churrascos with corn tortillas in Zacapa.  We ate in the street, and the churrascos were excellent.  In addition to food, I learned a bit about trees in Guatemala today, and saw some Ceiba and Guayacan. Ceiba is the national tree of Guatemala, and Guayacan is a tree common in Estanzuela which looks like a giant-size Japanese bonsai tree and lives to be around 80 years old. 

Tomorrow, I am planning to resume work on the project, and finish assembling the metal parts of the UNS and make a table for the UV scanner as well.  I will run some more tests with peanuts in the UV scanner, and as a few people suggested I will get some better pictures of the UV light in action.  Yesterday, I bought a cooler to keep all of the peanut samples that I collect this next week, so that I can refrigerate them to prevent the growth of Aspergillus Flavus before the samples are analyzed in the lab in Guatemala City.  That’s all for tonight, and I’ll be in touch soon.  


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