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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Antigua feels like home


Great first few days in Antigua. Can't believe I left when it was in the 20's and now its in the 70's. Having trouble posting pictures but will do my best when possible. Climbed Cerro de La Cruz which overlooks the city yesterday. Great workout and great pictures. 5 more days here and then to Lake Atitlan for a week or so. Will miss seeing Kade and Madison for Christmas but sure they will be busy with friends and family.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Spent most of the day taking pictures and looking for new inexpensive places to eat since I do not have kitchen access at my current residence. Hopefully Itzamna Spanish School will have an opening soon. So many ideas about where to travel. The beach (Playa Tunco) in El Salvador is great, diving in Utila in Honduras, visiting Lake Atitlan or 7 day catamaran cruise to Belize. The latter would be stretching my budget at $395 for the 7 days. All I know is that my plans will be geared so that on January 9th I am in a sports bar with access to the soon to be LSU National Champions.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Low light photos at dusk in Antigua

Love my new Sony camera which has a special low light feature. These pictures were taken when it was almost completely dark without a flash.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

San Pedro de Laguna on Lake Atitlan


Caught the 9 am shuttle to San Pedro on beautiful Lake Atitlan, called by many the most beautiful lake in the world. Staying same place as last year at Hotel Villa del Lago. A private room/private bath with television and internet for $6.25 with a beautiful patio view of the lake. Very fortunate the room was available. Not as much to do here but that also is the beauty. Will try and visit some of the many villages around the lake by boat and maybe hike another volcano like last time I was here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

San Pedro de Laguna on Lake Atitlan (Tuesday)


Love the laid back atmosphere of San Pedro and The Lake. Walked around and got reacquainted and also found some new spots. Met 2 "mature" travelers who were sisters and one was from South Africa and the other from England. We had nice chat over breakfast (ham & cheese omelet, bread, fruit, fried beans, guacamole and coffee for $2.50) and I gave them some backpacking knowledge that I had acquired about Guatemala.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Close to Christmas


As it gets closer to Christmas, my decision to leave before Christmas makes me second guess whether I should have waited. However, since none of my family or friends use heat in the freezing winter, I had no choice or either freeze. LOL Actually everyday seems like Christmas when I am with Kade and Madison.

My decision to come back to Guatemala was done to save up money for future travels next winter and hopefully a new travel business when I return in a few months. I am doing really well on my budget in San Pedro. My budget is $20 a day for everything, room, food, and entertainment. So far I have been under that budget and many days spending about $13 a day. It is so hard to believe that my beautiful , private room with tv (and HBO) only cost $6.25 a night and has a balcony overlooking Lake Atitlan.

There was an incident with a "mature" traveler who was leaving and thought he should get a refund for prepaying. He started screaming at the owner, Gladys, and then grabbed her by the shoulders and started shaking her. Luckily I was standing nearby and stepped in between him and her. I am not a hero but could not just stand around and let a man physically abuse a woman.

Loving the lake and its tranquility. Learning the latin way, to slow everything down and just enjoy life. I am learning to walk slower , trying to talk slower and pay more attention to my surroundings. Every child here seems to be selling something but they also seem very happy.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Churches in San Pedro


Wanted to post a few pictures of the churches in San Pedro since it is Christmas Eve and wish my family and friends a Merry Christmas.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Christmas Day 2011


The day started out unbelievably. At midnight I was awakened by fireworks. I walked out on my patio and all the villages around the lake were simultaneously setting off fireworks. While the fireworks were not anything special in themselves, the overall picture of all the villages working together to coordinate this was very special and moving.

The day only got better as I was able to talk to Scott, Kade and Madison on Skype, an invention that has made travel more bearable when not with loved ones.

The Alegre Pub sold Brunch and Christmas Dinner tickets to a small few regulars and backpackers for only $15. This is quite a good deal since they involve an unlimited breakfast buffet with mimosa and Christmas dinner is an unlimited dinner with Turkey, Ham and all the trimmings along with a glass of wine. In the afternoon they will show A Christmas Story upstairs in the movie room.

While not the same as being with family, it is nice that they try to make us feel at home while traveling.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Quiet and Peaceful days on the Lake


With Christmas over and New Years approaching I plan on enjoying the peaceful solitude of Lake Atitlan and the small village of San Pedro.

A few observations:

Each store in the village washes the cobblestone streets in front of their business with soap and water. Almost all of the indigenious people wear traditional clothing and which is a source of pride for them. Women are selling all type of bread early in the morning out of a basket such as cinnamon rolls and banana bread for only 50 cents each.

But what amazes me most is that these women are waist deep in the lake at 6 am washing clothes and bathing. Even the owner of the hotel I am staying in bathes and washes her hair even though she lives in the hotel and they all have hot showers. Tradition and the simple life. I find myself doing with less as each day passes.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Every day market in San Pedro


People line the cobblestone streets everyday with everything from produce to shoes to peanuts and macadamia nuts. This is their Walmart.