Antigua Gringinista Guatemala and now Guatemala City (and Matt’s movie picks)

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So Antigua gets a lot of buzz centered around it.  A lot of people along our travels told us we just had to stop by and visit, to make sure to put it on our destination list. 

 After our experiences resting in place in San Marcos la Laguna one could say we were a bit hesitant.  We were running of out of money in paradise, what a perfect place to do so…

Yes Antigua and all its buzz was on our route back to guatemala city and to spice up the offer our fabulous trio of three (the kiwi, the aussie, and the queenslander) just happened to be staying there.

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so we found our friends at the hostel, a little joint called the Jungle Party, and yes they are aware that their name sucks…

the jungle party

Don’t get us wrong, Antigua has some cool archeticture…

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which is really fused with a religious atmosphere…

so we decided to not shrug our shoulders or turn the other way

but to participate…

to engage…

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oh, and here is why they decided to put a cross here…

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sorry aunt cath the photo is blurred, but that is a volcano in the background people, there are actually three…

did I tell you about going up a volcano.

I didn’t?  Well we did.  We hiked an active volcano spewing hot lava, hot magma.  Seriously though, there was lava spewing out of the top, we walked on lava beds and the whole bit, pretty freaking cool people

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and the lava beds that were still cooling off emitting heat and very sharp

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and then we roasted marshmellows in hot lava…

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the goat was not harmed in the production of this photo…

but not only was there hot lava, but also incredible views…

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Mt. Pacaya was fantastic, and we all arrived safe and sound after dark with headlamps and all with a guide who effortlessly led us off the lava fields and down the mountain without a flashlight (ozzies call them torches).

Antigua was good to us, but we were even more excited to catch back up with our friends and get to spend some more time with them before we both moved on.  They made Antigua well worth the stop over, in fact we love them and have even considered drugging them and taking them back to the states with us…  seriously though you have to meet these people, Brett is considering a run for presidency in the upcoming election on a platform of free beer, common sense and humanity; for starters, any one interested in volunteering for his campaign can just get a hold of sarah and I, he is also very interested in the red neck culture of the US and is interested in any potential guides, his email is: brett.com@hotmail.com 

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did I mention also that my friend Andrea and I placed a friendly wager on whether or not I could find a dark beer (porter or stout) in guatemala, well it is a good thing I forgot what we bet for, because well I ahhh… well

I found one

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and boy oh boy did they serve Guinness, but we already knew that…

 Antigua also has a lot of art work, but for the most part it is over run with what many people refer to as “half ass” spanish language students, which essentially makes Antigua a party scence, well actually a very very big drinking town…

Still though with our friends, the volcano, the art, our friends and the chocalte shakes we mangaged to put smiles on our faces…. I really like the walls, so here is some photos before we go

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 and we had many sightings of goats, we are sorry but we are sworn to secrecy as to the identity of the professional wrestler….

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Sarah and I are now back in guatemala city where we will take off tomorrow morning and return to the great northwest, which I hear has been getting lots of sun with temps up in the 80’s…

we can’t wait to return and share stories of our rich adventure

speaking of rich, we are not, well relatively speaking, but it was a good thing we were not, while all five of us traveled on a chicken bus from antigua to guatemala city we encountered some very clever pickpockets

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she is the woman on the far left of the picture in black (a slight smile as she checks out Matt); unfortunalety after getting her hands in all of our pockets, she mangaged to get Sarah’s small coin purse.  We discovered what went down in time to turn off her cards (shout out to papa fox) which meant they ended up with about 300 queztals (US 45.00).  Of course we were bummed and engaged in “would of could of should of thinking,” and even sarah and brook did not have good vibes about the whole situation and were aware of something going on; but this woman is good at what she does.  We were not hurt, we have our health, our passports, our camera’s our stories, experiences and memories, all of which a pickpocket cannot take away or change our opinion of guatemala or its people; here it is a world of have’s and have not’s. 

This is a very special place that we both cannot wait to get back too….

We got some money wired (shout out to papa reilly) to get some groceries and a taxi to the airport, since they got the last of our spending money…

So we chill out in Guatemala City tonight (shout out to the Crosbie Family) and start the journey home tomorrow bright and early…

Stay posted as I am sure more stories and pictures will find their way up here…

love, love and love

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yes that is Sarah and I…

——

ryan’s given a pretty thorough update, so apologies for any repetitiveness…

props to kate and brooke for achieving that snapshot while bobbing and backpaddling in a little aluminum canoe… an exhilarating leap, that was.  deep, clear, exquisite water to barrel into. san marcos is that patch of green trees… you’d never know it was there. blessed place.

its been a wonderful past few days, filled with laughter and great companionship, rich land and cityscapes, and the combined antics of five multinational adults playing with three small plastic goats round about guatemala.  Antigua was made rich by the presence of our friends…

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 (the gang on the el remate dock)

yes, much notable architecture and history in antigua (a 500 year old city) but i harbor mixed feelings about “colonial architecture”, given the massive displacement and exploitation of indigenous peoples which accompanied the fancy archways and charming heavy wooden doors.  those feelings are made more pronounced by the highly visual, continuing inequity between the maya and the dominant guatemalan population today. as with everywhere… travelling with awareness changes everything. its been a powerful experience, backpacking around a country under the shadow of recent genocide. impossible not to be awed by the beauty of the persistence of ordinary life.

anyway, tangent.

we wandered the cobbled streets, hiked to the hillside above town, sipped fruit smoothies, and explored an amazing market that showcased crafts from all the various regions and indigenous groups in guatemala…the Pacaya volcano was an incredible jaunt… steep uphill trail made sweeter by dear conversation with brooke, dogged by local boys trailing horses offering “taxi? taxi?” emerge on a rounded plateau whipped over by the wind, with guatemala fanning out below and around us for miles in every direction.  exploring the surreal, brittle sharp blackbrown lavabeds, startled periodically by the glow of heat from below and a sight of redhot patches a few inches below you.  perfectly safe, really. got to watch the mountain spitting a bit of lava into the sky overhead, and evening swept in quite suddenly, trailing in on a mountainside wind. darkness settled in with cloud wisps and sulfur smoke… positively otherwordly, gingerly treading out in the dark behind the surefooted local guide, and all stumbling down the trail in the dark together….

its nearly impossible to believe its been a month of this incredible journeying… a life changing bit of travelling, as i knew it would be.  as “4 weekers” we’ve been in the decided minority among the backpacking circuit…. most of those we meet are out for three months, six months, a year, or an indefinite period… soaking up the landscapes, sounds, faces, languages, histories, stories, folklores, artworks, tragedies, foods, and textures of places that could never be grasped or fully appreciated from print or film….  what a critical part of my education. my dear family began it, packing up the car and rolling cross country summer after summer, and I began to discover that Ordinary People Really Did Live In Other Places, and that their lives were not so different from mine… and also beautifully, fascinatingly different.  I cherish not only the specific, local experiences of our journey around Guatemala, but the emerging awareness that this sort of travel will Always be a part of my life.

now its time to pack up our bags once more… this time tomorrow we’ll be stepping onto terra firma in Seattle.

much love to all who’ve followed our travels…. deepest gratitude to all who have accompanied, joined, welcomed, hosted, and assisted us along the way. what a gift.

and now, what you’ve all been waiting for:

Matt’s Movie Picks (a sampling of Australian Cinema):

The Castle, Nugget, Mullet, Getting Square, Once Were Warriors, We of the Never Never, He Died With a Falafel in His Hand, Mad Max IV, Chopper, and Bad Boy Bubby.

San Marcos la Laguna, dos.

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When our lancha pulled up at the rickety San Marcos dock, there was no village visible… only a few signs below the trees advertising meditation, yoga, and assorted newagey spiritual offers for sale…  we shouldered our packs and clambered onto the dock, and a sharp, english speaking local ten year old immediately introduced himself and offered to show us the local accomodations, setting off on a narrow footpath. these paths, we soon discovered, are the roads of San Marcos.  Yeah— there are a few winding up to the various barrios (neighborhoods) ascending the hillsides that accomodate vehicles, but by and large, if you are going somewhere in san marcos you are walking on a footpath.  Some are cobbled, some are dirt, and nearly all are arched over by the shade of coffee trees, with their waxy green leaves and clusters of red green berries.  There are a few maya women and girls that sit beside the paths, selling fresh bananna bread and beadwork and local chocolates, and periodically you must step aside for a child carrying an impossibly large load of firewood via a forehead strap, or a small maya woman serenely balancing a tremendous basket on her head. 

it is quiet in San Marcos, though every night there is singing audible all through the village, via the church loudspeaker.   it is simple and unaccompanied, one voice in a language we cannot begin to translate, welling over with emotion.  many is the night we laid in bed and wondered at the meaning of the words, whether they were mourning or yearning or retelling or praising… 

and of course, the cacophany of local dogs barking here and there.

mornings from just after sunrise to round ten were spent on the terrace of acculaux, our hostel, a random, artistic assembly of rooms tucked up against the hillside… the redstone terrace, framed by an herb garden, looked out across the lake, nearly always serene in the mornings, framed by tremendous, forested volcanoes and an ocean of bluesky… Alexis, an exquisitely random, kind German-Columbian temporary restauranteur, served us leisurely breakfast every day, with good strong cafe negro and delightful, simple meals, fresh baked bread and local jam, fresh juice and homemade cream cheese with basil and olive oil…

after breakfast we’d meander down to the rocky shore and spend hours swimming, floating, reading and journalling, before taking a leisurely meal at one of several dear dinner spots around the village… wood fired pizza served by italians with a movie every night, or simple, delicious american style food served up by an ex-south carolinan with live blues guitar…

we made a few excursions across the lake, to San Pedro, a town we found rather overrun with travellers intent on partying, and to Santiago for the Sunday Market and a visit to Maximon (sp?) the local saint, whose wooden likeness (and relic, encased in a glass case)  lives in a small room in one of the barrios, filled with candles, flowers, locals sipping shots, smoking, singing, and strumming guitar, and an old women kneeling and praying.  Also visited San Juan La Laguna, as ryan described in the last post… a village that will always have a place in our hearts, one of the most profound experiences of our entire trip… one that i wont even begin to write about now, because i’ll never finish the post on san marcos before i run out of time on this computer.

by and large, though, we stayed home in San Marcos… home being the edge of the lake, where one day last week, we encountered the most spectacular crew of people, who we’ve been sharing our time with ever since.  Ryan had g0ne off in search of a cliff to leap from into the lake, and encountered a gang of folks intent on doing the same.  A beautiful friendship was born… Brooke, Matt, and Brett, (Kiwi, Aussie, and Queenslander, respectively) and a few Americans as well, Dave, Kate, Cameron and Rick… spent hours either talking about leaping, actually leaping, trying to capture leaps on film, leaping in groups and cheering for hesitant leapers… soon, a mission was hatched to hike to a splendid looking cliff on the other side of San Marcos’s lagoon. we weren’t able to make it that day, lost track of the path and ended up turning back, much to the amusement of the locals… but we were resolved. after sharing beers and a hilarious, extended, simple and warm group dinner, we retired for the night and set out again in the morning, after another long, simple and exquisite group breakfast.

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 the guys set out swimming, the gals paddled a canoe to keep the cameras dry… discovered the cliffs rose sheer from the water, with no good way up but rock climbing. the perfect spot for it, as a mistake only meant splashing into the deliciously clear, cool waters of the lake. a spectacular few hours of leaping, and back for another exquisite, long, hilarious dinner…

many more sessions of swimming, leaping, wandering, eating, drinking, conversing, storytelling and hilarity would follow… we’re still travelling with Brooke, Matt, and Brett, and are now in Antigua.  The friendship we’ve found with them is one of the most stunning things about this sort of travel… a gang of strangers from different countries randomly in a small Guatemalan village at the same time, discovering a fast friendshop that runs much deeper than simply sharing recreation or weak beer, growing tremendously fond of each other in only a few days.  dancing last night, a taste of the Guatemalan club scene… today, determined to get Ryan and Matt within spitting distance of hot lava at a nearby volcano, as its a rather significant goal of theirs.  Hoping to persuade them to stop short of volcanic beer bottle glass blowing, an artistic endeavor they’re convinced may be possible. 

 the whole gang will be setting out shortly, and this computer flat out refuses to let me load any more pictures, so I’ll cut this short and add more later.

much love

San Marcos La Laguna

It was after a day of monster traveling that we arrived to this inspiring location of Lake Atilian.

We had caught a chicken bus from guatemala city to somewhere north in the highlands, past the devasting affects of mudslides, changing buses and then off to Panachel.  The chicken bus was great, Sarah´s first.  We got dropped off in what we thought was the right town, but we got off early and the adventure began…

do I love adventure….

I found the road to panachel but little did we know that it was a long and steep windy road and it was getting dark and everyone who has been on the backpacking circuit knows one thing, and that is not to be out on the road after dark.  Well we cut it pretty close when a chicken bus crammed full of locals came charging down the road.  I flagged it down and Sarah climbed on and there was enough room for me to hang onto the rearview mirror as the bus charged down the hairpin turns with reckless abandon.  What a rush.  Before the bus came though we were silenced by a most incredible sight, the ones that require no words and just make you pause…  here is what we saw… the local cemetery at sunset…  yeah yeah it is dark…

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upon getting off the chicken bus at our correct destination we found a most cozy accomadation with a maya family run business and slept peacefully that night after some terrific food, food that tasted so much better after a crazy busy travel day full of adventure…

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we then caught a lancha to San Marcos La Laguna, which we have made our temporary home for the last 7 days.  We have seriously given thought to not coming back, so if there is anything of ours that you want, speak up for it right now or else our parents will be selling it in our fundraising garage sale happening soon.

today we did something very special.  I had the opportunity to visit a nearby village where my professor at WWU did his dissertation work and visit with his family.  It was truly special.  We visited the women´s weaving collective…

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next we visited with a member of Dr. Loucky´s Guatemalan family, we were simply blessed to have Brook (freaking Kiwi´s rock people!) to translate for our american monolinguial ignorance as best as we could

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it was truly amazing, we are speechless and maybe more words will follow but we all left with goosebumps and a tremendous sense of hospitality and warmth

in case you are wondering sarah is a a-okay, she will report tomorrow on more of what san marcos has offered us in much more beautiful prose… for the time being and in order to provide proof of her contentment here she is on the local taxi service (pictured with our rockstar kiwi Brook)…

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I am also sad to report that my friend Matt from the down under has reported that in fact there in no thunderdome in Austrailia…  I don´t believe him…

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love love and love

Last Week Tikal

We have been off line for a bit ya’ all

We are currently in Panachacel Guatemala.

Wow, what a place.

We made the trek to Tikal, then back to guatemala city were I checked out the international teaching scene [not to sure one way or the other] and now we are here in Lake Atitillan [misspell]

After spending some time at the school in guatemala city checking out the international teaching scence and after El Remate we made the tourista pilgrimage to Tikal.

Now the problem here is how to put Tikal into a blog. It really seems ridiculous. I could type about an ancient civilization, temples, ball courts, the lush jungle, the huge spiders, the soaring temples, the sunset from atop El Mundo Perdido, where one could spy the vastness of the jungle, pet anteaters, watch howler monkeys and spider monkeys through things at you and then laugh about it, huge, gigantic trees, vines asking to be swinged on, the crack of dawn mist that hung over this powerful place concealing the temples, the sun slowly breaking through as we sit in meditation ontop of a plaza facing temples one and two and the main plaza square, we sat where once a throne overlooked the jungle enjoying dark chocalate, then their is the magic, the energy of this place, the fact that we enjoyed Tikal with no one around, virtually the entire park to ourselves, escaping just before huge bus loads arrived, or I could talk about the mere presense of just being able to, in this life time, sit so peacefully hand in hand surrounded by this mysterious and beautiful place. But if I were I would not know where to start.

I also wouldn’t know where to begin in terms of the day november 29th. We were sitting up high upon a temple overlooking the vast jungle and temples 1,2,3 and 4, when I was pretty much overcome with the energy of this place. There I was peacefully listening to the jungle, with the sun setting to the west, and the woman I am insanely in love with to my left. I turned to here and asked “if I were johnny, would you be my june [can’t find the question mark],” to which she stared at me bedazzeled and bewildered, “sarah, will you marry me” to which she paused again…

of course in the end it worked for me, because there we were way out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by jungle, night falling, spiders, snakes, and everything else nocturnal, I mean seriously, what was she going to say.

………………

what else was i going to say indeed. i’m a self reliant gal. I could’ve found my way out alone by moonlight.

but there was no need. i’ve known for a long time that, in Ryan Egan Reilly, I’ve found the person I want to share the rest of my days with.

and so, after gaping at him for a moment, and then gaping at the ring (yes folks, its a goat. a 24/k goat. )

i said yes

and we walked out by moonlight together.

El Remate

after spending a night in the island town of flores, we catch a minibus along the south shore of Lago de Peten Itza, a large lake in the northern Guatemalan region of El Peten.

Lago de Peten Itzasarah and the lake

The El Peten is jungle climate… mammoth ferns and wild, twisting vines, mosquitos and thick, thick humidity that can almost be brushed aside with the hand… our destination is el remate, a sleepy town on the eastern corner of the lake, known for its wood carving and thus far, relatively mellow in terms of tourist activity. we discover a random, eccentric hostel, run by an artist named Edwin Bendfelt.

hostel el remate

it is built on the hillside above el remate, a steep climb up stone stairs and a stunning view of this end of the lake… our room is essentially a treehouse, a platform with two beds, a hammock, mosquito nets, and open air on all sides. the sunsets are spectacular

treehouse sunset el remate

the lake is tranquil, clear and exceptionally swimmable. .. hours are spent floating, watching the sky change, small fish dart about, and white egrets flap overhead. no boats on this end of the lake…. no diesel fumes, no noise… just the sounds of people going about life in the village…. music playing here and there, people chopping papayas and riding bicycles balanced with loads of fruit. tiny piglets chasing each other across the road, kids splashing in the shallows… the food is simple and exquisite…. we meet Valerie, a spectacular, hilariously candid librarian from Vancouver who is attempting to set up and run a small local library for El Remate (they need books in espanol! they’re also running a medical clinic… check out the website if you’re interested in learning more, both about the region and the project, donating supplies, funds, or time as a volunteer, check out their website… www.ixcanaan.org). the coffee at our hostel is the best we have had thus far, and comes by the pot, for only 10 quetzales a round. (a dollar and some change, US.) we spend many an hour sipping our dark cafe negro, watching the light on the lake, the stars coming out, the moon arcing over the palm trees…

we rent bicycles and tour a jungle reserve, drink moza (the only dark beer we’ve found in guatemala)… everyone says hola with the warmest smiles (in the city, its strictly the more formal buenes diaz).

we feel utterly calm

tranquilo….

Guatemalan Beer Commercial

Why you are freezing in the snow

Enjoy an ice cold Gallo

Living in Livingston, mon… Jah Rastafari!!!

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Livingston

Cappuccinos in the morning

walk to cemetery

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walk the ground

purchase breakfast: fruit cocktail/plantains

walk the strip

purchase objects: practice haggling

investigate the purchase of a hammock

find a cliff

stare at the carribean

massage each others shoulders

head to the beach

stop at a rasta shack smack dab in the middle of Gairfuna community

drink Gallo, Reggae, Punta and Rasta vibes

walk the beach

hand on woman´s shoulder

follow sand to restaurant

woman from Mexico greets us at the front door, she has lived all around the world, knows her recipes and ingredients and her food with great intimacy, her words symphony, the food, a monument to her life

walk back through town, children, young boyz playing futbol

we watch local rivalries play

sarah speaks of her grandfather and the dozens of street ball games he played recorded via oral history and my brother and I, games in the street, similar arguments, who´s on who´s team, rules

families play in the playground

life slow

we touristas sit under blue bleachers lean in to each other and watch

suddenly the futbol game ends and returns to empty

Follow the road closer to the hotel

sneak across the way to a long dock with a gazebo, hammock hanging in the middle.

This is where Domingo ends Pablo Neruda

swinging with my love

nestled in a hammock

to the Caribbean breeze

filled with the sounds of Spanish

and faint punta beats….

the next day, we are up in the dark at 4:30, walking the empty cobblestone street to the ferry dock for a 5 am ferry to Puerto Barrios… for reasons undecipherable by our limited espanol, there is no ferry, so we arrange seats in a lancha (small motorboat) across the water… sunrise begins to glow slightly in the clouds but it is another grey day, swirled soft clouds and gentle, not overwhelming humidity. the day before, we laughed to a rasta who brought us a beer `this is like home!” he grinned… “we who live here like it this way… with the sun it is hot, hot, too hot.” sidenote; its actually been relatively overcast the entire time we´ve been here. have we brought the nw grey? es possible!

from puerto barrios, a bus to la ruidosa, a small intersection near morales. we hop off, and hop onto a minibus— 1 of many beat up vans making runs all over the country… it rolls up with the doors open, and two boys hollering the name of the destination town… in our case, Rio Dolce. cram in with the populace and off to rio… just enough time in rio for dos cafe negro and some fried plantains before climbing onto a bus to Flores, 4 hours north… all the seats are taken, but they continue to push more people into the aisle until we are crammed, standing, two abreast… not even room to turn around. and yet… someone still manages to crawl through us to take tickets, multiple times.  2 hours this way, until enough people have gotten off to free a few seats.  pass into del norte… the north country, the el peten region… arrive at the island town of flores in the afternoon, and find a cheap room in a beautiful, chill  little hostel, dos amigos. amazing food, fresh fruit smoothies, good music, and dear little room.  wander the town… very european”esque, or so we imagine… steep narrow, radically uneven cobblestone streets, buildings spilling into buildings right down to the waters edge.

we find cappucinos… sip them in hammocks looking out over the lake. manana… minibus to el remate on the other side of the lake, and then into Tikal… some of the most spectacular ancient maya ruins in central america, or so we are told…

Phantom Goat Sightings, Dugout Canoes, and Ceviche

The jungle crowded us in, what is Spanish for ¨right¨ or ¨left¨? We run through the jungle, past small villages, our boat had just dropped us off near Rio Dulce, we were meeting a group of international teachers in order to join their boat down the river Rio Dulce to the famed Garfuna town of Livingston (Hallie Selessaie!).  From one foot path to the next we asked directions as our walking pace quickly turned to a gallop before moving to an all out sprint.  Past small children, a woman hanging her clothes, local people, all giving us directions as our monolingual asses try to decipher which way is which.  Suddenly a Senor points us down a small overgrown trail, with both of us knowing that only minutes separate us from missing our connection to Livingston, we charge the small overgrown path through the jungle, Ryan and Sarah are laughing, but their fate…

(we had arrived in Rio Dolce 2 days prior, after a 6 hour bus ride from Guatemala City… downtown unravelling into slums unwinding into verdant green rural landscapes, smatterings of farms and tiny dwellings here and there, assembled out of the materials at hand… everywhere, family clotheslines swinging gently in the breeze… buy roasted cashews from a local woman at a bus stop, Ryan sustains the first insect bite of the journey (thus far, apparently not life threatening. we´ll keep you up to date). 

Off at Rio Dolce, a small town on the Rio Dolce River and alongside a large lake in eastern Guatemala.  Eat fantastic ceviche at an open air dockside restaurante, and savor fried banannas… then charter a motorboat to take us across the water to Casa Perico, which is back a small, narrow channel off the lake… quiet but for the hum of jungle birds and a few domesticated turkeys belonging to a family across the way (also, GOATS and a large pig). Casa Perico is a beautiful, laid back, simple affair, boardwalks and thatched roofs and self serve cerveza (Gallo being the Guatemalan beer of choice). owned by four swiss guys who know how to make cafe…  simple room with mosquito netting and a hammock out front is quite reasonable… we stay for 2 days, eating simple, delicious meals, dear paddles in tiny, hollowed out wooden canoes which the casa lends for free… locals stand in them, fish from them, and conduct all manner of business… small children pilot them with ease.  we find ourselves somewhat less skilled, and all the more in awe of their skill… incredible jungle fauna, beautiful birds, and a backside-jarring, aweinspiring horseback tour of a nearby rubber plantation,  complete with suspended bridges through the canopy, larger than life plants, (we left the horses behind for that bit) culminating in a stunning 360 degree view of Rio Dolce, the lake, and the surrounding landscape… sunset over distant western volcanoes.  while witnessing the sunset, we bond with new friend Pieter, a traveller from S. Africa, who almost immediately jumps on the wee animal bandwagon, becoming the first to bestow a scientific title on the practice— poquitology.  a historic moment.  he will continue on his travels with his own wee animal… the culture leaps to another continent. Cervezas at sunset, and a bit of john wayne style galloping through the jungle, and we return to casa perico via motorboat in the dark (absent headlights…. our pilot did muy bueno with only a flashlight.). 

in manana… one last dear breakfast at casa perico and off our our cross country jaunt to connect with the livingston boat…

there we are on this small path, thickly overgrown we pass a discarded washmachine enshrowed by the jungle fauna.  We arrive!!!  But we are not sure where????  We head through a field and we land upon a marina!  Ryan, using his orange pullover, signals to the boat of 8 passengers that await us just off the coast.  They see us!!  But then we must move through the maze of yachts and yatchies to accomplish our connection with the boat.  But alas we do and all is good my friend.  We hop onto the boat and say hello to friends as we head down the river towards livingston.

Arriving in livingston we are greeted by the carribean air and attitude of ´¨life is good, go slow mon´¨.  We walk the main drag and experience the beauty of this laid back coastal town.  We walk to the other end of town and sip cervesa and hang out as Sarah´s hair is put into braids by a Garfuna woman.  Wow does she look muy bien<!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tomorrow brings about the national garfuna holiday.  The fiesta begins at 6am with music (reggae and punta) all day long.  Next we catch a boat to punta gorda belize and onto placencia for a couple of days!!!!

Gairfuna people

www.onegua.netfirms.com/eng-gari.htm

Gairfuna pictures

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all is good…

we are well and happy

happy thanksgiving to you all

From Talib Kweli 2 Guatemala City

Friends provided a wonderful send off meal, which led to a show with the best hip-hop artist alive–Talib Kweli–in c-town with dear friends followed by happy hour sushi at the DragonFish.

 Next we woke up at 4am and proceeded through sea-tac security unharmed.

 We then found ourselves on a flight to Dallas, Texas.  They have Irish Stout on tap (US$8.00) and the people watching is something else. 

 Next we retreated to our flight’s gate.  Slowly but surely Spanish filled our ears as Guatemalans surrounded the gate with us.  Only a few travelers, and a couple of Mormon missionaries made up the minority aboard the flight. 

 Sunset over southern Texas as we lifted off American soil and winged our way south… some turbulence late in the flight, prompting Tereso, our row companion, to confide: “this is why i do not like to fly.”   Landed smoothly in Guatemala City, or Guate, as its often called, to a smattering of applause from passengers in the cabin.  The airport was small, and simple… two rickety baggage carousels coming directly in off the tarmac… broken concrete slabs in piles outside, and the barking of anti-narcotraffik dogs. finally our checked bag appeared… made our way through the hallways, and around a corner into an open, garage like space… bright blue wall, a fence running diagonally through the room, and behind it… hundreds of Guatemalans waiting for arrivals… traditional dress, small children, dozens and dozens of eyes…  our friends Carisa and Travis picked us up at the airport and hosted us for our first night… we stayed in a room on the roof of the apartment building, and in the morning, we could see across the city… volcanoes in the near distance, ravines and tropical plants climbing over the barbed wire which rings the walls which ring all the homes….

Morning trip to the grocery with Carisa and her son Cameron (age 4).  Cameron taught Ryan some espanol, (“you don’t speak spanish?”— long pause—“well, si means yes.”) and then caught the red number uno bus into Zona 1, the heart of Guatemala City.  crowded buses richochet all through the city, belching diesel smoke and careening around pedestrians and small cars and vendors… we wander the city for several hours… eat in a vegetarian restaraunt, explore the three story central market, find cappucinos, witness a street rally of indigenous maya in passing….diesel fuel fills our lungs… and small children stare with wonder at the tall woman walking by my side…

morning will come early, we will visit the international school for a couple of hours, greet the staff and director before being whirrled away by taxi to the bus station where we will board a bus destined for the village of Rio Dulce…

where the story will continue…

bernese mountain goats: the definitive introduction to a post-post modern fairy tale.

once upon a time,

a woman who adored goats

met a man who loved bernese mountain dogs.

she was a historian folklorist waitress writer who gathered stories… he an anthropologist radical constructivist primary educator who travelled the world…

the two discovered they shared a deep love for story, for the Province of Cascadia and the land of redrock, and a passion for music, alpine country, ocean tides, and the open road.

they came together, and something exquisite and random was born:

a space, both real and imagined, fantastic and ordinary,

where bernese mountain goats roam.

this blog is the story of that place.

Join us as we bring two unique animals together, following them through mythic and ordinary landscapes and strange, fabulous, and periodically post-post-modern adventures.

open your mind to the absurd and your heart to the random

we welcome your bernese mountain goat theories, sightings, and soliloquies.

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