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Mini x phase

As our trip continues and our understanding of the culture and history of Guatemala deepens, us students were presented with a mighty task. As preparation for our upcoming student planned mini trip, ominously titled x phase, we were given our sunday afternoon, following a rather flawed world cup finish, to test the waters of group led trips. Prior to Sunday, the students were given time to plan out the expedition and work out logistics and details, including the pricing and timing of events and services. Admittedly, before our expedition,many of us were nervous about what was ahead, as this was to be an entirely student led expedition, which could prove to lead to many problems along the way.  The first step (and last) of our expedition was to negotiate transportation to Santiago. Luckily, since my homestay father had told me the night before that the lancha drivers, (the name of the boats on the lake) would often charge tourists higher rates than locals. Because we had done the same trip from Santiago to San Juan, we knew the approximate rate that our trip would incur. In order to bypass the extra charge, we enlisted Nicte, our local instructor, to negotiate the travel, arriving at 20 quetzals a person for each leg of the trip. The lancha ride was a bumpy but enjoyable one, and was captained for some of the time by my fellow Dragon Max. Once we arrived in Santiago, we were surrounded by vendors and people offering items for sale. As a group we made our way to the city center, ducking and weaving through traffic and throngs of people. Once we had dragged ourselves through the urban mess, the pangs of hunger set in, as our group desperately searched out a place to eat. Before the expedition, our group had opted to use street food as the means of refueling, but it did not present itself in the way that we wished, with carts and clear cut specialties. Instead we chose to eat at a restaurant that was questionable in its speed with delivering the food but more than passable in the quality. After the meal we split up into three groups, one being the instructors, and were thrust into a treasure hunt of our own design. First we had to find the local church, which was built in the 16th century. After that we went to the market to find a food that we had never seen before, my group settling on a strange fruit. Then, for our finale, we rushed to find Maximon, a local legend that signified the unification of the Maya religion and catholicism, relying on directions from locals. After this treasure hunt was completed, we went our seperate ways, going on shopping sprees and eating copious amounts of ice cream. After we were reunited, we went back to our lancha and went on home. Although our expedition was not a perfect one, it was great practice for our final X Phase and a valuable learning experience.