The last week of house building really flew past quickly. It was hard work (again) because the site was so hard to access, so whereas before we used wheelbarrows to transfer sand and stones a short distance to make cement, this time we had to carry buckets of sand and stones about 50 feet down hill and through a thin alley to the tiny space by the house. Luckily we had three very strong guys in our group which made things a lot easier...
The house was finished on Friday and the mother gave us all an embroidered bag as a little thank you. Her husband´s profession is embroidery and the bags were really nice. She was in tears as she said thanks and yet again it was sad to leave. As it was the last night in Antigua for quite a few of us, we decided to go out for a nice meal and a ´few` drinks. It ended up being a great night and a group of us went to a couple of bars / clubs with some of the Guatemalan housebuilders to dance the night away - even doing a little Salsa! It was one of those nights where everyone had so much fun that you never wanted the evening to end. Eventually we decided to call it a night and finally arrived home at 4am. Three hours later I had to get up, pack and hop on the bus to Lanquin.... The trip is supposed to take approx. five hours, however it took us nine! Our driver was insane. We were overtaking vehicles on blind bends uphill and it was VERY scarey. I tried to sleep as wasn´t feeling the best....and then our driver dumped us about 2 hours away from Lanquin as he didn´t want to drive the whole way and one of his friends had another minibus coming this way in 5 minutes. So, half an hour later we were crammed into another bus, on horrible uncomfortable seats for the last two hours, of which for the final hour there is no concrete road. However, despite the rubbish journey (although some stunning scenery) and feeling a little bit tired/sick we arrived at the nicest hostel in the world called El Retiro. It has lots of little bungalow type buildings on stilts with hammocks hanging out the front. There are beautiful flowers everywhere and a river flowing at the bottom of the garden. The restaurant has swings at the bar, little fairy lights everywhere and the food is incredibly cheap and delicious! It is just like heaven...
Today was spent exploring caves at Semuc Champey, climbing a massive hill to look at the stunning view, tubing down the river and swimming in crystal clear waters in the pools. It was beautiful and is supposedly the most beautiful place in Guatemala according to the guide books!!! We have just returned to our lovely accommodation (only $5 per night) and am off now for a few drinks before dinner and SLEEP - I´m shattered!