Saturday, August 8, 2015

August Already? Wow!

I haven't blogged in a while -- sorry! I've been super busy with working lots and making up for all the money I spent during the whirlwind double-backed adventures in June/July of our visa run to Mexico and my sisters visiting from Canada.

Both Bert and I have been working lots: me typing up a storm, and him painting and fixing up our friend NJP's new apartment building.

I went into town the other day and picked up another parcel from Banggood in China. Super excited to see that it was my ocarina!
What's that? An ocarina!
Click the picture to go to Banggood and buy one. 
An ocarina is an ancient wind instrument. It sounds like a cross between a recorder and a pan flute. I was interested in learning to play it as I used to enjoy playing flute back in high school. They are small, inexpensive (at least the beginner's ones), and portable. This one came with a padded carrying bag and also a necklace that goes through a hole on the ocarina so you can hang it around your neck. It's super easy to play, although the tone isn't quite perfect. I imagine it's because it's a cheap one.

Have I talked about Banggood yet? It's an online discount retailer with warehouses in China and the U.S. I've shopped from there before in Canada, and was surprised to see that they would ship to Guatemala. And the shipping costs were dirt cheap!
So back in April I ordered a few items to test it out. It took two months, but they did arrive! I had to provide a street address in Panajachel, so I asked my friend, Cassidy, owner of Gringos Locos bar, if I could use his street address. When the packages came in to the post office in Pana, they sent a letter to Gringos Locos, which Cas gave to me. To pick them up, I simply brought the notice and my passport to the post office. It's a neat way to buy things, as long as you don't mind waiting two months or more to get your items.

Anyway, after picking up my ocarina, I ran into NJP on his bike at the hardware store. He was picking up supplies and then grabbing tacos for lunch. I got to ride on the back of his bike! Of course, I had to hop off and walk the last bit as NJP's apartment building is down a super narrow trail. I'm surprised he gets his bike down there.
NJP riding his bike to his building.
We all had a nice lunch of tacos and NJP showed me all the work he and Bert had done, plus all the work they need to do! It is shaping up nicely. We had a good chuckle at the paint choices in Pana. NJP had gone online to choose a nice shade of yellow-orange that he liked. But when he got to the hardware store to ask for it, he found there were only three yellows to choose from. Three. No fancy paint mixers here. You get the same yellow as everybody else!  :)

Back at our own apartment, we got some irritating news the other day. We are no longer allowed to go down to the nice park and beach near our house. Our landlady had previously made an agreement with the owners of the park so that we all could go down there. But something must have happened because the guardian, Carlos, came up to tell us no one is allowed down there anymore except the owners. Sad!

We do have another way to get to the water but it's a bit treacherous! There is a steep concrete path that leads down to the lake, but the end of the path has been worn away by tree roots and waves so that it's a mess of rubble and sticks. Doesn't stop the dogs... or me!
The doggies playing on Gimpy's beach!
Gimpy very graciously allowed all the doggies onto his land to play on his beach, while he stood next to me for pets. It's a rather nice little beach, and I don't think our neighbours, Gimpy's owners, use it very much. I stayed off to the side and cooled off my feet in the water.
The view looking back towards where the "old" beach is. 
Our other neighbour's waterfront.
To the right side of our little path is this very cool looking lake access owned by our other neighbours across the road. You can tell the lake level is rising, eh? It's all mossy and awesome! I really really REALLY want to go in there but it's blocked by a wire fence. I'm debating swimming around just to hang out on those underwater stairs! Maybe another day. :)

While we were down at the lake, a snorkeler went by. Gimpy barked like crazy when he dove underwater! Totally funny. And he was down there for a while too. Our friend, Victor, says he used to dive for crabs. Maybe that's what this guy was doing.

After we got back up the STEEP hill to home, the doggies all hung out doing their doggie things.

Greta sat in the sun to dry off. That's her favourite toy rooster behind her... or what's left of it!
Jack, being the elderly gentleman that he is, delicately licked the water off his paws.

And Pachi? She tried to jump on me for pets!! Whadda goof.
I'll close this post with this notice I saw painted on a big wooden gate in Pana. Made me smile.
Caution! Brave dogs.
(Not really... I found out bravo means fierce.)
Nos vemos, mis amigos! (See you, my friends!)

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