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   February 13, 2005
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Hello Hello Hello!!

It is so wonderful to type to you again. As you know, it has been quite a while since we updated our website. That does not mean that our lives stood still during that time...

Let's go back to December 7th, 2004. My Birthday! However, Dec. 7th is also the Dia del Diablo here. Or, translated: the day of the devil. The local people make a devil out of paper marche and then burn it, often representing the evil or an evil person. In Antigua the strategic location for this happening is next to a fountain (sounds safe), just in the middle between two gas stations. Unbelievable!!! (If you look in the picture, you can just see the price board for the well-hidden Exxon station there!)

Nirma, our secretary in the clinic, invited us over for a birthday lunch at their house. Her cousin was just making tortillas, so I received my first tortilla making lesson in my life! It's actually quite hard, you keep clapping your hands together with some dough in between until you have a tortilla-resembling shape. My first two looked more like ship-wrecked ufo's, but number three was pretty good.

 

As some of you know we've picked up a new hobby: rabbit breeding. We have a breeding pair of functional rabbits, that already have had two nests. Very fun and cute. However, for my birthday, Nathan gave me a pet rabbit as well! Her name is Tulip, and we think she might be pregnant right now. I'm looking forward to seeing the bunny babies!

 

Nathan's birthday was not far out. Unfortunately, he had chosen December 22nd as the day to be born. That means often being involved in preparation for Christmas. So this year. He spend virtually the entire day traveling to go to Boston to my family for Christmas. The one good thing about this was however, that he got to visit with his two good friends in Dallas, since he had a 5 hour layover there. (Plus an extra 5 hour delay due to a freak snow storm in Dallas....)

However, we all made it, even though on separate flights, and got to celebrate Nathan's birthday the next day. He got to descend of the stairs for his birthday the "Dannenberg Way" and got his name in chocolate letters!

  

Also, this year we played the 3rd annual-or-so Dannenberg Klaverjassen Cup. And we won again!!! (Second time!!)

New Year's was at the Burke House. Nathan took the opportunity to receive Banjo lessons from his dad on his newly begotten banjo...

 

The Big Party was New Year's Eve. A lot of Nathan's family had flown in to Toledo to celebrate with us. It was an absolute wonderful party, with incredible food that lasted only for a day or two...  But after all that fun family time, we had to go back to business. 

However...

Two weeks after we had come back from the States some friends invited us to go to El Salvador. In their own airplane! An Antonov, which is a Russian designed plane. It was an unforgettable experience.

We left from Guatemala City on Friday, and took off to El Salvador. Since the plane does not fly that fast, we flew with the door open! After a short check-in in San Salvador, we flew on to Las Barillas, a marina and resort for members only. But with a hard packed, grass airstrip. 

 

 

The airplane was just like a cruise boat, or for Dutch people, a vouwwagen: it had everything inside necessary to have a good time. Including chili string lights and wineglasses... 

We camped next to the airplane, something Nathan and I certainly never had done before.

 

During the two whole days we were there, we once took a boat trip to the mangroves and drunk coconut-juice out of freshly plucked coconuts, and found out how cashews grow. (Do you know?) We also came across a backbone of a baby-whale. I can't imagine what a full size whale bone would look like?

 

The second day we went to visit a neighbor of the marina. We had heard there were some wild monkeys close to his house. When we inquired about this, he simply yelled: "PAAAANNNCCHOOO!!!"

Within a minute, a troop of about 15 monkeys came swinging our way. We had brought some rotten apples, and the neighbor had some bananas that we could feed the monkeys. It was great fun, especially since it was a whole family, including babies and grandparents.

Well, that was about enough for this time! We've lots more to tell you, but we have to save some up for later, right? Next time we'll write you more about our new house, and our other adventures!

Keep writing, we love hearing from you,

Lots of love,

Annette and Nathan