Friday, June 30, 2017

A New House!

We moved this past weekend! For those who are counting, this is our fifth residence in the two years and three months we've been here. Why? Just tryin' to find our groove! 😊

I loved the little apartment I was living in but it was very small and my abundance of animals was bothering the neighbours. So when I saw a poster in Despensa (the grocery store) for a wee casita to rent for only Q1800 a month, I went for it! (Q1800 is about $320 Canadian or $245 U.S. at today's exchange rates.)
I don't have that much stuff, so we decided to just move everything ourselves with the help of some tuk-tuk rides and a dolly we borrowed from friends. The mini-fridge was the biggest thing, plus the awkwardness of carrying boxes of potted plants and other knick-knacks. It was a loooong day but we had good luck as it didn't rain all day. That's a rare thing in rainy season!
Yep, it's PINK! I call this architectural style Guatemal-Greco. 😋
(Seriously, I'm considering decorating with Greek accents... mosaics and dolphins and fountains!)
We are the end of a dead-end street, only a block from the grocery store.
Bert was my hero on moving day. He worked so hard! 
I took the photos above and below as we were trudging back to the apartment on our upteenth trip. At this point we were moaning, "Why didn't we rent a truck and some guys??"
Do you like Bert's shirt??
I always say that on moving day someone gets hurt and something gets broken. This is the broken thing: our garbage pail lid! Bert also skinned his knuckles pretty badly but he wouldn't let me take a picture.
A weird tradition I have when moving homes: I blow up a balloon to celebrate!
Plus I hung some art to try to dampen the echoes. The house is kinda empty.
The house is pretty much unfurnished. It came with a double bed, a table (now my desk), a small folding table (being refinished by Bert), a pila, and big potted plant. That's it! I have a mini-fridge, a toaster oven, and a coffee brewer. We don't even have a stove yet! We've been enjoying (quote/unquote) ham sandwiches for every meal.
A three-burner propane countertop stove costs Q289. Not bad. But we have to get a propane tank for it, which costs about Q100 or a bit more, and we'll have to put a deposit down on the tank, which costs who-knows-what. That'll probably happen next week. Until then, more sandwiches!
There are two bedrooms. Bert's door has this on it. I figured it was appropriate. I think Bert kinda looks like Sid! HA HA!
Lovely big windows in the first room right next to the side door. Unfortunately, they look out onto the street. Like DIRECTLY onto the street. They get nice morning sun though. (This is a nighttime photo)
See the bricks in the photo above? Not bricks! It's a cement wall with brick tiles. Clever!
Weird feature. The bathroom sink is not in the bathroom! It's in the foyer.
Willow doesn't care. She loves to drink from the tap.
Our pila in the front enclosed porch area.
Calvin on his blankie in the front porch. The decorative bricks to the left are open to the street so he can smell stuff. Neat floor tiles too, eh? The same ones are in the shower.
My bedroom also has big windows... that look out to the enclosed porch? Huh?
Guatemalan house plans are a mystery.
(Plus, Rui settling in. Look how big he's gotten!)
suicide shower electric
No Guatemalan casita would be complete without a suicide shower.
Bonus: the electrical breaker is IN the shower. For safety??
Double bonus: Star of David window bricks! Yes, they go right outside. No screen. No glass.
Our side door, the one we use most. Notice the large gap at the top? Ha!
That kinda stuff wouldn't cut it in Canada! Here, it's always nice weather outside so it's not a big deal.
There isn't a garden at the new house but there is a full flat roof with nice views of the hills.

The view the other way. The volcanoes are to the right of this picture, but they're blocked by taller buildings.
This is another pic of the roof. The stairs come up there under that little shelter thing.
(This is gonna be the "before" picture. Wait a few months and hopefully I can put up an awesome "after" picture of our improvements.)
Although there is no garden, Bert and I have grand plans for the rooftop. We want to turn it into an oasis of plants! We're going to build more roof onto the little tin shelter that's already up there, plus make an arbor with ivy and stuff climbing on it, and have a fire pit, and space for the dogs to chill out.
Speaking of dogs... both Gus and Calvin jumped off the roof! It's quite high! Gus jumped down cuz he saw Bert walking down the street and didn't want to be left behind. Calvin jumped down when we were out shopping. He was chained up but slipped free of his collar and decided to go for a runabout. Bert went looking for him for HOURS with no success. He turned up in the afternoon all by himself with a big goofy grin and a belly full of garbage. (Calvin, not Bert! HA!) 
Gus on the roof!
I'm glad neither of the dogs were hurt by their courage/stupidity. Gus limped for a bit, and Calvin has a scrape on his chin. Whatta bunch of dorks! 
Rui and the new kitten, Noodles, on my bed.
The new house is taking some getting used to. It's pretty loud as it's right on the street and there have been a surprising number of people going by, especially just around suppertime. It sounds like they're right in my bedroom! I'm gonna see what I can do about soundproofing a bit more. I miss the crickets and peeperfrogs of the apartment but I don't miss the loud barking dogs and crazy kids next door.

Awesome things about the new casita: The floors are all nice tile, very easy to sweep. We're super close to town and the stores and restaurants and friends. I love that Bert and I can have separate rooms to do our own thing in. It's great having the house to ourselves with no neighbours or landlords. We're excited to start furnishing it and decorating it cuz it's kinda like a blank slate. I love the rooftop and the potential for an awesome outdoor space. And Bert is eager to get up on the roof and do some mosaics and other projects.

So that's our news for this week. I have a bunch of blog posts half-finished that I'm hoping to get done and posted soon. Fascinating topics like tuk-tuks, Internet service, safety and security, and the joy of tiendas. Never a boring day here in Guatemala. 😏

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 yearns 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: 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! 😊