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Guatemalan Quetzal Exchange Rate
XelaMap by Sean Wallace is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at www.xelamaponline.com.
One way to really experience the culture of a country, when living abroad, is to do as the locals do. My recent visa run to Mexico was quite the adventure! We started our journey by boarding a chicken bus at the local bus terminal. A chicken bus, here in Guatemala, is a re-vamped, decorated diesel school bus that the locals and some tourists use to travel throughout the country including to the frontera (border). The cost of these trips is very cheap!
So, my family and I decided to give this a go and immerse ourselves in the local culture! For this 3.5 hour trip to the border, I think we paid 23 quetazales (Q) a person, which is roughly $3.00 US. You sure can’t beat that price back in the USA!
These buses are usually jammed -packed, with 3-4 people packed in a seat including the aisle which becomes a seat for whom ever wants to jam themselves in. There are usually people hanging out the door, standing everywhere and people literally climbing over top of each other to get in or out of the bus. The front door and back door become ports of entry to the bus. It truly is quite comical, and often I laugh at the absurdity of it all! Our trip to the border was no exception through the long winding mountainous roads. It was one wild ride.
To me, I found this situation very stressful with the noise, the smell, and just the sheer volume of people. So during my journey, I worked diligently to keep my stress level at bay. Over the years, through Yoga and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) I had learned many techniques to feel more peaceful and to which I desperately grasped at on this crazy bus ride.
First, I started focusing only on my breath, following it, counting in and out to shut out the chaos. As I brought my awareness inward, the noises, smells, and uproar drifted away. My breathing became calmer and slower, my heart rate slowed, and I felt a sense of peace surround me. Additionally, as I deepened and slowed my breath, I began to scan my body, feel my body sitting on the seat, my feet on the floor and felt totally present and integrated. 10 minutes later when I opened my eyes, my perception of the disorder of that bus ride had dissipated. I felt refreshed!
Stress is a part of our daily lives. We are constantly bombarded by stress in our environment. It affects us physically, emotionally and mentally. Often times in our daily lives at home, work, and travelling between the two, we find ourselves inundated by noise, pollution and chaos and more and more demands. In this day and age, it is really easy to remain chronically stressed out. The stress response induces perpetually elevated cortisol and adrenaline hormones levels that wreak havoc on our bodies! Increased cancer rates, increased heart disease, weight gain, lowered immune systems are all important reasons to lower stress in your life.
Simple Tips to Reduce Stress in Your Life
• Deep Breathing helps to eliminate stress. By becoming mindful or aware of our breath just for a minute, our body releases endorphins that help us to find a space of well being and balance. It really works! Try it!
• LAUGH! Find ways to bring laughter into your life. Over the long term, it boosts your immune system, mood, life satisfaction and increases tolerance to pain. So find ways to laugh your way through each day. Your health and life will improve significantly!
With respect to my Next trip to the border….I think I will take the first class Pullman bus next time!
Wishing you Wellness & A Stress Free Day,
Christine Bradley M.D..
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