Friday, February 16, 2018

Just Another Friday Night

I was walking home from a friend's at 9pm and came upon a procession. No idea why. It's mid-February. I think Ash Wednesday just passed but I don't know what would follow that.
I managed to take a few photos and a short video before my camera battery died. It's dark but I hope you can see the odd mishmash of old and new: people carrying candles and swinging censers next to two guys hauling a giant speaker blaring orchestral music; Mayans in traditional clothing next to young girls in tight blue jeans; a giant carved Jesus passing under a traffic light. I find the juxtaposition fascinating.
When I came upon the procession, they were just stopping for a bit of a prayer.
The smell of incense will forever remind me of Guatemala.
Lots of people are needed to carry these things. It goes REALLY slow too, swaying back and forth.
There were traffic cops at the front and back making sure impatient tuc-tucs and motorcycles waited their turn.

We're gearing up towards Semana Santa now! There will be more and more parades and religious stuff as the weeks go by. 

Monday, February 12, 2018

This Is Where I Live

I was out walking with Calvin and the sun was setting and it wasn't anything overly dramatic or anything, it was just simple and beautiful.
I haven't been down to the lake much recently, so I made sure to sit down and just absorb how lovely it was. The waves were lapping gently on the shore. Calvin was racing around smelling stuff and peeing on things. The coots were making weird noises at each other. A young couple were canoodling on a bench. A few boats puttered by. Ordinary and extraordinary at the same time.

If you'd like to hear what coots sound like, go here to the Cornell page and have a listen. They're really quite interesting. There are lots of them here at Lake Atitlan. They're out there on the water in the picture enjoying the sunset too. 😊

Saturday, February 3, 2018

My Webcam is Live on EarthCam!

My New Year's resolution was to get a live webcam up and running from my roof so you all could see how wonderful it is here. Well, I've kinda succeeded. Yay me! 😄 The webcam is live but it's not on the roof. There is a possibility that my roof is going to be replaced in the near future -- while it's dry season -- so I didn't want to get the cam up there and then have to take it right down again.

The webcam points towards Lake Atitlan (duh, of course) and the sunset. You can see San Pedro volcano and possibly the town of San Pedro as well if you squint. (The other two volcanoes, Atitlan and Toliman, are too far off to the left to fit in one shot.) I'm technically in Jucanya, because I'm on the other side of the river, but I've still labeled the webcam as Panajachel, Guatemala, so people can find it.

Here's the first picture I took from the webcam. When I first put it up, I hung it by a ribbon from a metal wire meant to hold flower baskets from the roof eaves. (The black bar across the top.) But it was swinging in the wind and making everyone dizzy. Ha!

live webcam Lake Atitlan Panajachel Guatemala
I guess I didn't save the original picture, just this one that I'm using for my offline pic on EarthCam.
So then I nailed the webcam to some boards and tried again. I've got a rather blatant religious thing going on here. I wonder what the neighbours think I'm up to. Warding off more airgun bullets??

live webcam Lake Atitlan Panajachel Guatemala
Yes, there is duct tape involved. It's just temporary.
I was excited to put it up and I wasn't gonna let nothin' get in my way! 
Are you fidgeting waiting for the link to my live webcam of Lake Atitlan??? Ha ha! Okay, okay. Here it is. You're welcome. 😁

live webcam Lake Atitlan Panajachel Guatemala
The first sunset with my live webcam in Panajachel!
EarthCam is full of other awesome cams for you to check out as well, but my cam is the first and currently the ONLY webcam of Panajachel and Lake Atitlan. Woot! 💪

You see, one of the reasons I got the idea to have a live webcam of Lake Atitlan is because I couldn't find one. I mean, why don't the hotels on the lake have them? A while back I even looked into obtaining high-quality webcams with remote access and such, figuring I could buy them and resell them to the fancy hotels. I couldn't afford them though so the idea kinda fell aside. (You can steal that idea, if you like. I'm cool with it 😁) I think a live webcam at La Palapa showing the crazy street out front would be freaking AWESOME. (Bruce??? Get 'er done.)

Well, I actually did find one camera that's on the other side of Lake Atitlan, set up on the terrace of a little place called Casas De Rocio. But it appears to be broken at the time of this writing. It is located in San Antonio Palopó, so it has a nice view of all three volcanoes plus the little failed volcano called Cerro de Oro.  I daresay it's a nicer view than mine.
Still shot view of Lake Atitlan from San Antonio Palopó
My cam is pretty much only going to be live during daylight hours, unless there's some sort of big fireworks thing happening. (Xmas and New Year's Eve, for example.) The best time to tune it would be for the sunsets, which is around 6:00 - 7:00 pm Guatemala time, which would be 7:00 - 8:00 pm Eastern Time. (Not accounting for Daylight Saving and all that garbage.) Check out's tables of sunrises and sunsets here. We are very close to the equator, so the sun rises and sets at almost the same time every day, all year.

If the cam isn't live, it's either cuz I've forgotten to turn it on, it's too early in the morning and I'm not awake yet, or perhaps there is a windstorm or rainstorm preventing it from functioning.
If there is no sound, it's probably because I muted it. The broadcasting software plays the webcam audio into my headset so I can't have it on when I'm working. Plus, you'd just hear the dorky dogs barking at stuff.
If the camera is choppy, the image is blurry or the video is laggy, it's probably my fault. The camera can take HD video but my Internet connection can't handle streaming the large file sizes. My upload speed is, like, 1 Mb/s. Yeah, ONE. Weep for me.
I want to move the cam closer to the road, have it up higher so it can look over the power lines and past that dumb streetlight. But if I put it out that far, people walking past might notice it and decide to bring a ladder and steal it. It's just a junky little camera meant for Skyping, so it's not worth much in money, but it's worth a lot in "life value" for me. Let's hope that doesn't happen.

Be sure to bookmark the webcam link so you can watch it all the time! When the rainy season comes, I'm hoping to devise some sort of waterproof cover to put over the cam so it can still function. That'll be interesting! Ooh, and I just thought of something else. What is there's an earthquake?? OMG that was would be cool. Unfortunately, the cam doesn't record all the time. It just streams. Wouldn't it be crazy if someone was watching when it happened though, right?

One more thing...if one of the volcanoes ever blows its top, I'll be sure to point the cam right at it! Could that happen? Yep, actually it could, but it's not likely to be the volcano that the webcam is currently pointed at. That one's been dead a long time. The one most likely to erupt is Atitlan volcano and it's the furthest away from me. Its last eruption was why not another? (Volcán Atitlán Wikipedia article) Don't worry, we're well outside the risk zone.

Enjoy the cam!