February 1, 2018


so, this happened .....

there are almost daily eruptions from Fuego - the volcano to the west of Antigua - usually it is just a small puff so waking up to this created quite a buzz.  it was the day after the super moon so i wondered if that affected it.  

January 22, 2018

monterrico on the coast

needing to warm up a bit i spent the weekend at Monterrico which is on the pacific coast.  it's less than 2 hours from Antigua on good roads so it's even possible to do it as a day trip.  

there is a cruise ship port on the pacific coast so they run a lot of day trips from there to Antigua [thus the good road].   Monterrico is just a one street strip of low range hotels but the food where i stayed was surprisingly good.

i did go to the much larger turtle 'sanctuary' here but it felt much more commercial than the smaller one i visited last year but i got to see something just as spectacular here.  i was on the beach early in the morning and there was a WHALE just offshore.  it was playing for about 30 minutes and it was amazing to watch it in it's natural environment and not in some small concrete tank in an amusement park.

the coast is on the migration path but the staff later told me it's rare to spot a whale so close to the beach.  i don't know why anyone would want to kill or eat such a beautiful animal.  there's an increasing awareness here of the problem with both dolphins and whales being caught in old fishing nets but like everywhere there is driving economic need for the fishing which will always win over the concern for animals and the health of the oceans.

January 19, 2018

marketing in Guatemala

for both new and old expats in Antigua there is one thing that will always bring a smile to your face.  it's probably the best facebook page ever created.  it simply is ...  shit taped together at the bodegona

'For sharing of unique combinations of merchandise taped together at the Bodegona in Antigua, Guatemala for the scientific study of understanding the method behind the madness.'

no one understands why this store tapes miscellaneous stuff together but we all stop to look at what they are taping together.  recently we have...

buy rice and get a flashlight

buy a stencil and get honey

yes, this is my crazy life

January 15, 2018

January 8, 2018

bank fraud in Guatemala

even before i came to Guatemala i heard much about the bank card fraud here.  i've made it around the world a few times without problems with ATMs - well, India last year was a little bit ugly but that was a political issue pushed onto the banks.  i have been using the ATM most recommended by expats as having the fewest problems.  still, the fraud is so prevelant here my bank shut down access to my account as i was trying to get cash on a saturday.  love my bank.  i called and a real person answered [ON A SATURDAY!] and took care of the problem.  a different time the machine didn't give me any cash but debited my account.  again, a call to my bank [who said yep, happens all the time in Guat] and one day later i had the debit reversed. during the security screen they asked how long i had been banking with them and it turns out i've been with them for 20 years  - and i've never had a complaint about their service.    the banking system here sucks.  this country takes corruption to a new level but that's a whole other post.


last week i went to see a chiropractor.  i have a rib that sometimes shifts a little and it can be really painful.  i could tell he was good because he didn't have any english and my spanish being what it was he didn't get a very detailed description of my complaint.  instead by a quick examination of my back he found the problem and treated it.  in less than an hour.  it cost me 50Q [$6.80].  after i left it occurred to me that no one made me fill out an papers or asked for identification.  it turns out that you can actually get health care without providing health history going back to your great grandparents.  

there is a good deal of medical tourism going on here as many expats are finding the treatments as good as the US and 10% of the cost.  now that my back is patched up i'm going for teeth cleaning next week.

January 5, 2018


during my spanish lesson today i asked my teacher about an idiom that i was hearing a lot.  Guatamalans usually say 'creo' [i believe] when Americans would say 'pienso' [i think].  my teacher said 'yes, because of religious and colonial roots in the country many people believe but they don't think'.  he did add that maybe one day that would change.  it makes my soul ache to think that is thier mentality here and it will take generations to change.

January 3, 2018

wood delivery

it's cold here too!  Antigua is much colder - about 20 degrees - than the coasts because it's in a high valley.  so it's cold enough here to need a heater but they don't have any type of central heating.  if you don't have a fireplace it's blankets and soup.

the expats are all saying it is much colder this year so i guess it's a colder winter for everyone.  i'm not complaining as you can drive an hour to the coast or just out of the valley and it warms up very quickly.

December 28, 2017

angels in antigua

this fountain angel is just in front of the main cathedral in the central plaza of antigua.  there was a lot of decorating and lighting of the plaza for the holiday season.