March 12, 2018

angels


March 9, 2018

then a saint


March 3, 2018

cuaresma

lent.  it's been around for a long time - like 2000 years.  it is called cuaresma here.  most people know what ash wensday is but the significance here is amplified.  this year the begining of a time of austerity and internalization for catholics lands on a day otherwise known best for a celebration of lovers.  february 14. so a bit awkward.

mardi gras isn't really a thing here but they give lent a whole new meaning.

i haven't commented on this because i've been watching and trying to understand the unique relationship Antigua and Guatemala has with lent [cuaresma].  also, as an outsider it is really easy to see the rediculousness of the traditions.

when i first arrived i was creeped out by the veneration of the religious statues in the churches.  i'm not sure why, i grew up in the catholic church, i had been around them all my life.  maybe i have spent too much time in the east.  


these religious statues are kept year round is specific churches.  each week during lent there are processions as statues are moved from church to church or on sundays, they are just taken out for a really long walk.  so more on the processions next....


March 2, 2018

new boots

total gringo thing to do but i love them and they are sooo comfortable.  a pueblo outside Antigua called Pastores is known for making boots.  so about two weeks ago i went out to see about a new pair of boots.  the cream color caught my eye and so i had a pair made.  i went out to pick them up last week and i was really not happy because they were too big.  went back out today and they fit perfect.



i had been resistant to getting some made because they are leather which gives me a twinge of guilt but at at $40US i had to have me a pair.

February 24, 2018

money, recrossing the border, navigation and rental car

$0.20 - twenty cents american
we ended up not changing any money as we were able to get around using our credit cards and american dollars.  i had filled the gas tank in guatemala so i wouldn't have to in Honduras and that worked out great.  we ended up with a few lempira notes as change for coffee in one shop [give them american dollars - they give you a really crappy exchange rate - you get change back in local money] 

driving back to the border the road had dried out enough in washed out places that traffic was moving quickly.  

we all had valid stamps for Guatemala in our passports and since we had not been stamped out [just stamped into Honduras] i drove past the immigration buildings and to the Guatemalan border gate.  i get challenged by someone in the car who was either just thinking out loud or wanted to go stand in more immigration lines.  i say let's see what happens and let's not make it more complicated than it needs to be.  it takes a minute for the guard to walk out of his shack and he lifts the gate and waves us through.  i shout a 'muchas gracias' and it was that easy.  i don't believe we did anything improper but remote border crossings are always unpredictable so someone else might have a different experience.  

the route we took back was not the same because of a navigation error.  i had fallen asleep in the back seat and when i woke up we were off route.  so, not a big deal but driving in remote areas does require both a skilled driver and some with navigation skills.  roads are poorly marked and google maps/waze was not 100% reliable.

when i return the rental car there is of course a final surprise, the contract is in US$ but when you return the car if you don't pay in US$ cash then they convert using a very bad exchange rate and charge your credit card at the much higher Guat quetzales rate.  this pissed me off because it's just a blantant rip off but i need the transaction to go on my cc for coverage reasons.  i told them i would dispute the added costs with my cc company - which i did because i had a contract in US$ and didn't pay the extra amount.

this was a great adventure and i had a wonderful time.  i hope that my travels take me back to Honduras.