Friday, June 16, 2017

Rainy Season Travel Tips for Guatemala

It's rainy season and the tourists seem to have disappeared. Why? Too many travel websites and guidebooks warning travelers to stay away. Pfft! I'm gonna tell ya why rainy season can be an awesome time to visit Guatemala.

INFO ➠ The rainy season in Guatemala generally runs from May to the end of October.

Keep in mind that even though Guatemala is a small country by most standards, it does touch two coasts and has massive variations in elevation. Therefore, the weather can be wildly different from place to place. It can be hailing in a high mountain town while at the same be steaming hot on the Caribbean coast. Here at Lake Atitlan in the Western Highlands, the weather can even vary from town to town. It can be rainy, windy, and cold in San Pedro but partly cloudy and warm in Panajachel.

1. Don't let the rainy season deter you from coming here.
Airfares and hotels are cheaper. Tourists sites are not overflowing with people. Also, the countryside is absolutely stunning! Waterfalls become glorious rushing cascades, rather than the sad trickles they are in the dry season. Flowers bloom everywhere. Dusty fields morph into vast swathes of green. The dramatic hills of the Highlands are suddenly covered in lush jungle. It's beautiful!
The waterfall on the road between Sololá and Panajachel.
Photo courtesy of: Rob And Carley
2. Pack your rain gear -- but expect to get wet anyway.
I have an awesome raincoat (thanks, Mumsy!) but I've found that the rain runs down the coat and soaks my pants. I also have an amazing giant rainbow umbrella (thanks, big sister!) but that doesn't help when a passing pickup splashes your legs! 😆
I have rubber boots for really rainy days but I prefer to wear waterproof hiking sandals or crocs for most trips out and about. If you forgot your gear, don't worry! There are tons of smart vendors who bring out umbrellas and ponchos for sale when the rain starts.
rain rainy season Guatemala Panajachel
Some smart folks handling the rain with aplomb. This was on my walk to the grocery store today.
3. Plan your day and be flexible. 
A typical day during the rainy season in Guatemala is a lovely partly cloudy morning, followed by rains moving in around 2 or 3 pm and continuing all night. Therefore, you can plan to do all your outdoor activities in the morning and then find a cozy cafe, museum, restaurant, or bar to spend your afternoons and evenings. There are some days where it rains from morning to night, but there are other days where it's full sun all day. To be clear, I'm only speaking from my experience here in Panajachel on Lake Atitlan. You can almost set your watch to the rains! It could be different in other areas of the country. Post in the comments if you have some more info about weather trends in a specific area of Guatemala.

4. Watch the weather, especially tropical storms.
If you're planning something special that requires good weather, keep a close eye on the weather reports. If a tropical storm or hurricane is hitting either coast, it causes heavier rainfall or full days of dreary drizzle. I like Weather Underground, which also has a section for hurricanes.
Lake Atitlan Panajachel Guatemala Volcan San Pedro volcano rainy season rain clouds
Volcán San Pedro being all dramatic and stuff. :)
5. Enjoy the rain.
It's part of what makes Guatemala so great! Plus, Guate has some of the best coffees in the world to warm you up, as well as a vast array of traditional soups and stews. Yum!
Hot, thick, flavourful Pepian stew. Yum!
Click the pic to go to Chowhound's article about Guatemalan soups.
BONUS TIP: Do not walk barefoot. No matter how much you hate having wet shoes or how much your hippie soul years to connect with Mother Earth, keep your shoes on! The water in the streets is literally loaded with feces and urine, both animal and human. Plus there are the dangers of broken glass and other garbage. And to top it off, there are parasites that can enter your body through your feet and make you sick. Be smart!

Flooding today in San Pedro Ayampuc, north of Guate City.
Okay, so with all this cheery "glass half full" optimism, I feel obligated to warn you that rainy season can SUCK. Roads flood. Flights get canceled. Hiking trails become muddy trenches. Boat rides across the Lake are wet, cold, and rough. It can get kinda depressing. So I would advise that if you're looking for that perfect sun-all-day-every-day vacation to Guatemala, visit during the dry season from late November to April. And bring sunscreen! 😊

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Decently Strong Earthquake Last Night!

I was up late playing video games and getting ready to feed the orphaned kitten when the world started moving. Such a strange feeling! I woke Bert up and we sat for a few seconds feeling it get stronger and stronger. We both decided to head for the doorway to outside just in case. I still had the wee kitten in my hands!
The whole building rolled and bucked like a boat in rough water. It just blows my mind that things move that shouldn't move, like the whole building. 😲 The power went out for just a few seconds, and then some lights came back on. Some of the neighbourhood stayed dark. A few dogs were barking in the distance. Calvin barked once. Rui and Willow didn't even flinch! Cats, eh? 😆
The shaking stopped and it was quiet except for alarms going off around town. One sounded like an air raid siren. After a few minutes, there was one jolting aftershock, and then it all settled.
It was the biggest quake I've felt since I got here. Pretty impressive and exciting and a little scary. No damage here or anything. We're all good. 👍
However, there were damages and injuries reported closer to the epicenter near the border. Yes, the same border that I just came from by chicken bus during my visa run! Reports and pictures of damages came in from Xela, Reu, San Marco, and Malacatán -- all towns I had just visited a few days ago.
(Photos courtesy of Facebook.)
Xela. Makes me wanna rethink the whole "go outside" strategy.

Interesting to see that this building is traditional adobe brick underneath.
It's always extra scary when quakes happen at night.
A grocery store in San Marcos. Yep, that's booze!
A church in Xela. :(
Preliminary reports said the quake was a 7.0 but it was later downgraded to 6.9 or 6.8, depending on who you ask. Still, pretty strong!
I got on Facebook as soon as I put the kitten back in his box and powered my computer back up. Everyone was talking about it. Facebook even had a "Safe Check" thingy for people to report in.

I use these websites to check info for earthquakes:
EarthquakeTrack.com uses info from USGS but I find their page easier to use.
USGS (United States Geological Survey) has a neat feature called "Did You Feel It" (DYFI) where you can answer some questions for them about what the quake was like for you personally. They ask you your location first and then ask if things fell off shelves, if you had trouble walking, what you did during the quake, etc.

Check out this security camera footage! Notice in the bottom left feed, with the car, there are some white doggies running about. Eeks!


What should you do during an earthquake? Well, according to the U.S. gov, do not go to the doorway. Ha ha! Whoops. I didn't know! Don't they always do that in the movies?
Anyway, the basic safety mantra for earthquakes is: "Drop, Cover, and Hold On."
Read more info about earthquake safety HERE. 
Stay safe out there, everyone! 💜

Monday, June 12, 2017

Pana to Tapa Visa Run aka The Expat Penance

I have to tell ya: doing visa runs on the chicken buses is not for the weak! You have to be strong of mind, body, and stomach to get through it.
Strong of mind to stay on your toes during bus changes, keep your cool in stressful situations, and quell your panic as your driver passes a transport at ludicrous speed uphill in the rain and fog.
Strong of body to handle the bashing of your knees against the metal seat in front of you, the jolting of tumulos (speed bumps), and the strain on your arms from holding yourself from sliding into your neighbour on sharp curves, of which there are many.
Strong of stomach to handle the smell of chuchitos, body odor, and sometimes, yes, chickens as you're going up and down and around and around for hours and hours. *bleck*
But I lived! Yay!
This trip seemed to be all about unhelpful helpers. As I've mentioned before, on chicken buses and combis (mini-vans), there are guys called ayudantes that are there to tell you where the bus is going and to take your money. Well, I had several mishaps this trip where the helpers wheren't all that helpful!

My trip from Panajachel to Tapachula started off lucky as I caught to the direct bus from Pana to Xela at 6:30 am. (Price Q25) It's so nice not to have to change at Sololá and Los Encuentros. Just settle into your seat and a few hours later, you're at the hustle and bustle of Minerva terminal in Quetzaltenango.
This is where things got a bit messed up though. I had heard there was a bus that went directly from Xela to Malacatán, skipping San Marcos Sacatepequez. So I asked an ayudante, "Malacatán?" He said, "Yes, this one. Malacatán." I'm thinking, great! My luck is so good today! 😀
Well, not so much! I should have looked at the front of the bus where it says where they're ACTUALLY going. I started getting suspicious almost immediately when the ayudante was shouting something like "Filipe" as we exited Xela. I didn't recognize it. Then my suspicions were confirmed when he took a right instead of a left at the roundabout. I'm like, "Uh-oh. Here we go. Should I get off at the next stop? Or should I ride it out?" I had a feeling we were just going to go to Reu (Ray-oo), which is short for Retalhuleu. (I have no idea how to pronounce that!) This was the route that the private shuttle guy had taken Bert and I on when we did this run last year.
So I decided to go with the flow and enjoy a new adventure. Perhaps it would be better? Shorter? Less expensive?
None of those things. HA!
The scenery was indeed gorgeous though. It's rainy season so everything is lush and green and wet and beautiful. I gawked out the window as we descended from the hills down into the steamy hot jungley lands near Reu. (Is "jungley" a word?)
Stormy day makes for moody roadside pictures.
Bananas for miles!
 I wish I could have taken more pictures of the ride but it's difficult to take photos out the side of a bus without them just being a blurry mess. There were all manner of farm animals tied to signposts and trees alongside the roads: bony cows, scrawny horses, bedraggled sheep, completely contented goats, and one GIANT pink pig. And I'm always wide-eyed at how the landscape changes as I come down out of the highlands around Lake Atitlan. The lush jungle is more of what I expected the whole of Guatemala to look like. There are palm trees everywhere and crazy looking ferns and plants with leaves as big as me. The rivers were wide and rushing and chocolate coloured. We dodged fallen rocks. We splashed through standing water that made the kids on the bus laugh. We zoomed through the clouds. We steamed up all the windows. We even drove through a tunnel that looked like it had just been carved out! (Túnel Santa Maria video.) It can be such an adventure to ride the chicken buses! 😁

After a while, I recognized Reu as we passed by it. (It has a McDonalds!) We stopped at a market and the parade of vendors crowded onto the bus.
I thought the ladies of San Marcos were impressive (see photos later on) but the ladies of Reu blew them out of the water! They came on the bus with trays of premade food, including sub sandwiches, ensaladas, and carnitas. They smelled sooooooo yummy! Alas, I couldn't trust my stomach to enjoy it though. 
Cutest puppy on the bus watching the scenery go by.
Off we drove again, on nice paved highways. I was getting curious as to how I was going to get all the way over to Malacatán. I had a rough idea of where I was with a map in my head.
I put my camera out the window to figure out where we were. Coatepeque!
And Coatepeque, the ayudante motioned to me to get out. Alrighty then. He pointed me up the road and said that there were combis to Malacatán near the bank. Fair enough. Off I go! I was happy to find out he was right and hopped on a very nice touristy bus. 
Dude selling plantain chips on my mini van bus thingy at Coatepeque.
Well, you know of course they had to STUFF the bus full of people. There were five people sitting across, all squished together, and the windows steamed up quickly. The ride was short though, as I was once again ushered off the bus... in the middle of nowhere! Just an intersection. Hmm.

Can you imagine trying to walk thru that? Crazy jungle.
From the middle of nowhere, another combi picked me up and drove me for a bit. Another rainy intersection and another pointed finger to wait here for my next ride. I literally stood at the side of the road and muttered, "Where the hell am I now?" HA HA!
If buses stop there, is it really a bus station?
Peering around in the drizzle, I noticed signs that helped me to figure out where I was. I was actually pretty darn close to Malacatán! I figured out I was just outside the town, but I needed to go the opposite direction to the border at El Carmen/Talisman.
I got on the correct side of the road and ignored the taxi drivers trying to coerce me into their cars. Pfft. Taxis are for rich folk! 😝
Not even five minutes and my next combi came along with the dude hanging out the side calling, "Tally-man!" In I got and off we went and soon enough I was relieved to see the familiar chaos of the Guatemala/Mexico border. I made it!

The map of where I went. I would not recommend this route. Stick to Pana -- Xela -- San Marco Sacatepequez -- Malacatán -- border.
For those interested in prices -- and for me to check back later when someone on Facebook asks me about it -- here's the breakdown.

Pana -- Xela  Q25
Xela -- Coatepeque  Q18
Coatepeque -- nowhere Q5
nowhere -- middle of nowhere Q7
middle of nowhere -- border at El Carmen/Talisman Q3

I left Pana at 6:30 am and arrived at the border just before 3 pm. (about 8.5 hours)
(Truthfully, only 4 or 5 quetzales more expensive but added about an hour to my travel time, I'd say)

NOTE: The combi/colectivo/minivan from the border into Tapachula, Mexico, is now Q20, up from Q18 when I last went in March.

I got into Tapa and went straight to my hotel. (Hotel Cervantino -- no hot water but very cheap place, centrally located, and you can pay a bit extra to get a room with air conditioning, if you like.)

And then I got sick. Ha ha! I know, right? I think there's only been one visa run where I haven't gotten sick. It's not a nice habit!
I had developed a horrible headache in the last half hour of traveling. It kept getting worse and worse. I chalked it up to dehydration, travel fatigue, and no coffee. When I got to the hotel, I took a Tylenol and lay down. Too little, too late. I barfed into the garbage can! Ewwww. I cleaned it all up, lay down for another half hour to make sure it wasn't gonna happen again, then took another Tylenol. Next thing I know, the cleaning lady is knocking on my door! It was 10 am on Saturday. Wow! 
I felt fine though so I hurriedly got dressed and heading out for my regular rounds of pharmacies and shopping and sight-seeing. 
I love the market areas. They're filled to the brim with interesting things! So many people and so much great food and a really authentic feeling. I get a lot of stares. I did not see a single white person in Tapa the entire time I was there. Not even in the fancy mall!
I believe this place is called "Flying Quesadillas Queen". Huh? It's always packed with people and smells delicious. One day I'll get up the nerve to go in by myself and try it.
I've decided that I'm not a very adventurous traveler. I don't try too many new foods. I don't go off on wild adventures to remote archeological sites. I don't join up with crazy people at some cheap hostel and go off on uncharted roads. I stick to the well-traveled path and just watch from a distance. I'm a bit shy in my homeland and being in a foreign country with poor (but improving!) Spanish makes me even more restrained. So many times I stopped to look at something like a restaurant, a vendor, a store, or a strange sight and I wanted to ask a question or compliment somebody or try something. But then I don't because I can't form the words. Plus, I have an aversion to food poisoning! Ha ha!
Cloudy day at the Central Park in Tapachula. They try hard to make the city look nice but it's just a little worn down on the edges.

I love the big palm trees and the fountains at the Central Park. Plus, there's always a lot of action going on here with clowns and vendors and musicians and pigeons and lots of people.
Me playing it relatively safe and fulfilling my cravings at the same time. Yum, Chinese food, just like at the malls back home in Canada. Rice plus two choices for only 50 pesos, or about $3.75 Canadian or $2.75 American. Good deal and I couldn't finish it all.
How would you like to have a job selling colouring books from a dollar store?
Tapa is a loud place! It has more taxis than any other city I've ever been too, barring perhaps Athens, and they're always beeping at you to let you know they're available. Every second store has speakers set outside playing loud music, even the pharmacies and the bank! There are a bazillion colectivos crowding the streets (I counted) and all the vendors shouting out what they have for sale, especially the fish mongers for some reason. They love to announce their wares! Oh, and you can't forget the religious dudes. I've seen them in a few different places. Two guys in suits -- always two of them, never one or three or four -- who clap their hands and sing Jesus songs. Some of them are quite good!
OXXO!! It's like the 7-Eleven of Mexico. So great to just walk in a "regular" convenience store.
They carry Kit Kats and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. The BEST!
Hmmm, treacherous sidewalk obstruction!
Tapa is always hot and this time it was combined with a steady drizzle, so I was pretty much thoroughly damp and sweaty by the time I finished my rounds of the pharmacies to pick up my medication for the next six months. Time to head off to the lovely cool air-conditioned mall. Ahhhhh.
It's quite a bizarre change to go from the dirty, noisy, slightly decrepit downtown area to the shiny clean mall. Fluorescent lights and Abercrombie & Fitch and ladies trying to spritz you with perfumes. There are definitely two sides to Tapachula.
I love this! She is preparing the "pads" of the prickly pear cactus, called nopales. People eat them. Very cool.
(This was in Chedraui, a big chain like a Walmart Superstore)
From the pedestrian overpass at the mall. You can kinda see a volcano in the background with some lenticular clouds forming on top. 
What'd I tell ya about colectivos? They're the public transportation of Tapa, although there are also big city buses that are less frequent. 
I took a colectivo back from the mall and the driver tried to rip me off and asked for 10 pesos instead of the usual 6. Pfft. I gave him 6 and then fumbled in my purse going, "Lo siento, un momento" (sorry, one moment) until he got irritated and waved me out of the van. Ha! Passive aggressiveness wins again!

I've got another tip for you folks going to Mexico and wanting to indulge in a craving for pizza. I learned the hard way so you don't have to! Ha ha!
A medium pepperoni pizza at Domino's is 125 pesos. A large pepperoni pizza is 135 pesos. However, a medium pizza with pepperoni and mushrooms is Q175. WHAT?? I paid an extra 50 pesos for some mushrooms? When I could have gotten a large for less? Makes zero sense. Oh well. It was delicious!

Another lovely cool night's sleep in my hotel and it was time to start heading back to Guate and Pana. Deep breaths. I can do this!
Right away, a mistake. *rolls eyes* I went to the bus station and asked for "la frontera", the border. A guy puts his hand on my shoulder and pushes me towards the first minivan in line and tell me "la frontera." The driver standing next to the bus tells me "la frontera, si." I get in. I ride halfway across town, all the while listening to the ayudante yell out "Hidalgo." *sigh* Wrong bus again! What is UP with the unhelpful people?

So when they stopped to pick up more folks at the far end of town, I said to the driver, "Quiero ir a la frontera a Taliman." (I want to go to the border at Talisman.) He's like, "No Hidalgo?" I'm like, "No. Talisman." He sighs and points to another bus parked up ahead, which starts to pull away as I get out of my bus. "Talisman!" I shout. The new ayudante hears me and stops the bus for me. Always happy to get another fare! I squish in and congratulate myself on not letting my shyness lead me to extra hours of bus rides!

To be honest, there are two border crossings that can be easily reached from Tapachula: Talisman/El Carmen and Tecun Uman. They were taking me to the second one, thru the city of Hidalgo, a longer distance. It was my fault for not being clear about which border I wanted to go to, and as I learned earlier from the Malacatán diversion, a bus driver will tell you anything to get you into the bus and paying money. Live and learn, people! 😁

The combi van drops you off near this awesome sign at the border between Mexico and Guatemala. I imagine some would find this a bit offputting. I thought it was hilarious.
I was actually thinking during this trip that for all the expats who live in Guatemala and are supposedly doing visa runs, I had never seen another white person. Well, this time I did! A white guy was walking towards me as I headed for the crossing and he smiled and said, "Hello." Hello! Not hola or buenas dias. I think I stuttered out, "Hi" as he passed. Hilarious!
Truthfully, I think most of the other expats are either residents by now or paying extra to take the comfy shuttle buses. I gotta do that next time. This run is getting tiresome.
Even with the incredibly high river, there are still folks crossing illegally. Right beneath the bridge. Madness.
Crossing the border is easy-peasy for me now, with only a small feeling of worry when the Guatemalan side checks my passport and sees that I haven't been 72 hours out of the country. (Only 48. Kinda.) They stamped me back in with 90 more days of heaven though, so I was good to go! I made sure to get on the CORRECT bus back thru Malacatán to San Marcos Sacatepequez, then onwards to Xela, a stop for lunch at the mall, and home to Pana before dark.
More pics of food vendors. I love the cleverness of the little fruit hanger. I think it's only like Q5 for a package of fruit and the guy will put some lime juice and sugar and even spicy powder on it for you.
One of the ladies at San Marcos. I'm impressed at how they navigate with those huge baskets on their heads.
Their posture is impeccable!
Waiting on my bus at San Marcos, snapping pictures of vendors. Hee hee!
The guy with the nuts usually gives out one nut to try and entice you to buy a package. They're delicious!
So that's it for me for another six months. Yay! I'm heading to Florida in August to meet up with my family for a Disneyland trip, which will take care of my visa renewal, then I don't have to go back to Mexico until November. I do love the shopping there though, plus the nice stop in the fancy mall in Xela on the way back. What do I buy? Besides my medication, which is half the price in Mexico than it is in Guate, I usually pick up ... food! Ha ha! Yeah, things like onion soup mix and baking soda and chocolate, plus I bought dog bones and kitty treats and a nice pair of crocs and some bathroom items that are harder to find here. Simple stuff but it makes me happy.
I hope you're just as happy out there too, my friends! 😊

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Still Here, Ups and Downs

Hey, guys. Figured I should do a blog post update type thingy. I'm still here in beautiful Guatemala, which seems to be even more summery than usual. The rains have started and everything is gorgeous and green. Flowers everywhere. Birds everywhere. Mud everywhere.  😄
Everything is busting out with flowers.

These teeny tiny baby cacti are growing on an old, scarred stump.

Bert with Calvin and Gus. We have to time our dog walks carefully to go out in between the rains.
I had three beautiful foster puppies for two weeks. They went to new homes today. My heart is a little broken, as usual, but hopefully they found great new families.
Spunky little puppers!

Who could resist these little guys?
My Internet has been being a pain in my butt lately. Not sure if it's me, a recent Windows update, faulty wiring, a new neighbour perhaps kinking the signal, or my provider. The tech guys are supposed to stop by tomorrow. Internet is my source of income so it's majorly important for it to be working! I haven't done much work at all this week. I feel guilty but also kinda refreshed. 😋

Also having troubles with our water. First there was muddy water, then no water, then back to muddy water. *sigh*
Hmm, not so nice to shower in dirty water, I'll tell ya that much.
But with all this, Guatemala continues to make me smile. Today I saw some construction guys outside a house on the main street. One guy was throwing -- THROWING -- cement blocks to a second guy who was standing on the unfinished second floor balcony catching them. I laughed and said, "En serio?" (Are you serious?) They laughed back at the silly wide-eyed white woman!

I have two amazing white roses blooming on my stairway. They smell divine.
I keep seeing the most beautiful tiny blue insects with fringed wings. They are like little fairies. I adore them.
There is some sort of live band karaoke thing going on in my neighbourhood. I am treated to a great band with really horrible singers a few times a week. Ha!

Took this picture today on my walk. Totally Guatemala! Don't you wish you were here? 😊
Just another gorgeous street dog hanging out front of a tortilleria. :)
Life can be stressful. Stop to smell the roses, either literally if you're lucky to have them growing in your garden, or figuratively. Peace out!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Trying a New Dessert

Bert and I have been eyeing up this dessert in the cookie aisle for a while now. I kept forgetting to Google what they were. Well, yesterday we decided to just buy them and try them. We knew that it included arequipe, which is another term for dulce de leche, so we figured it had to be good! (ah-reh-KEEP-eh)

The package. I had taken the stuff out at this point, but usually there is a light brown circle of "something" showing through the window.
When deciphering things in the grocery store, I piece together the words that I know and the visual clues to figure it out. (I don't have a fancy phone to do translations!) The bottom sentence says something like, "For those sweet moments of the day." The small writing says something about dulce de leche and some obleas, which I figured had to be some kind of cookie. The cow looks happy. What else could I ask for? Let's buy it!  😁

Inside the package was a small container of caramel sauce and a plastic spreader. There was also a clear plastic bag of round, very light, very fragile papery things. 
I could have just eaten this!
Easy enough to figure out. Spread the caramel on a round thing, top it with another round thing, and eat!
A modest amount of caramel on the round thing.
*bite*
Hmmm.
*chew chew chew*
Um. It was pretty much like eating caramel sauce in between two pieces of flattened ice cream cone. Bleh!
I mean, the sauce was awesome but the wafers were totally tasteless and dry. Like paper!

Time to Google.
Obleas means wafers. (Kinda weird cuz people around here call them just call them wafers. I've never heard anyone say obleas.)
But I should have known it would be a wafer cookie. They love their wafers here in Guate. It's actually become a bit of a joke that whenever we try a new cookie or chocolate bar that there's ALWAYS wafers in it! 😆
Well, more Internet research brings up a wee surprise -- it's a Colombian dessert, not Guatemalan at all!
Learn a bit about OBLEAS here. They look good in the pictures there. I would have loved to try them with more toppings too.
As I was eating more of them, they were reminding me of those weird cookies we would eat at Christmas that had patterns on them. (Pizzelles, I had to look it up.)
These ones tasted way less delicious though. I tried a wafer without the caramel sauce and it was the ultimate in blandness. The dulce de leche without the wafer, however, was quite delicious. HA!

Wanna try them for yourself? Amazon actually sells them!
Click the picture to go buy some at Amazon.
It's fun to keep trying new things. I'm still seeing stuff at the market that is unfamiliar to me. It keeps things interesting, for sure!
When was the last time you tried something new to eat? Perhaps take a trip down your international aisle in the grocery store, or try a new restaurant, and wake up those tastebuds! 😊

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Rain is Life!

The rainy season has arrived and everything is getting green and lovely. It's not such a hardship as some people make it out to be. Usually, it's clear and dry in the mornings and the rains start at around 3 pm every day. This morning we had rain because Tropical Storm Adrian was mucking about at the coast. As soon as it let up, I took Mr. Calvin out for a walk to the beach!

I love when raindrops collect on flowers.
Corn growing at light speed!
Moody Volcán San Pedro
Echo! One of my doggie friends from the neighbourhood.
Layna! Remember her? She was the one that had all the puppies in the den. She looks good!
She was even wagging her tail at me. Unfortunately, I didn't have any food for her.
Fishermen. They use just a line and a hook and maybe bait, no rod.
They fish at that spot because that's where the sewage runs into the lake -- no joke -- and the fish love the runoff. That's also why there is a no swimming sign there. Gross.
Calvin checking out the dock. There are two volcanoes behind those clouds!
Really wanted to push him in!!
It's even more striking in real life. (Have I mentioned how you all should come visit?)
Jucanya beach and boats and gorgeous hills.
A green heron, I think.
No party boats today!
Volcanoes starting to peek out from behind the clouds. The lump in front of the clouds is Cerro de Oro (gold hill). Legend has it that there is gold buried inside it -- treasure!!
It's so dark and dramatic when the rains come. I love it! And everything gets cleaned and refreshed and the hills turn all green again. I wish my pictures were better. I don't feel they really capture the lighting and contrast... and of course they don't capture the temperature and humidity and smells. I tell ya, ya just gotta visit! 😁