This blog is posted when we travel overseas taking a break from our Fulltime RV Life.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Visiting a Mayan Town–Tuesday 24 April 2018


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Awesome view for breakfast this morning. Unfortunately there was no way to include both the beautiful model and the volcano in the photo from where I had to take the photo. You can see I know what is important. Well Trained Bob.


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The lake we are staying beside is in the huge caldera of a giant volcano that explosively erupted 85,000 years ago. It is so large that it was only in the 1990’s that scientists finally realized it was actually a caldera. Those volcanos in the distance are actually inside the caldera.


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Richard’s pants for the day. Each day they are different. He buys used Mayan fabric and has it sewn into pants. The pattern was and still is used by the Mayans to denote the village or town they are from. It is even simple things like this that make Richard so special.


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Fire from the volcano. Not an eruption, just a wildfire burning on the side facing us.


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Bird photo. Unknown species. Birder Bob.


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Artist's studio. Unknown artist. There are palettes, then there are palettes. Observant Bob.


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Model beside tuk tuk. Did you know that even though tuk tuks are not designed to hold three Americans, it is possible to fit three Americans in one. But is it ever a tight fit.


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Mayan midwife. They are “see’ers” and if they receive “the vision” at the baby’s birth, they can foretell the baby’s future.


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A herbalist determining what would improve the movement of my finger. Linda bought a large container of Arnica cream. Haven’t used any yet. it will be interesting to see what will happen.


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We have enjoyed spending a few minutes looking at the churches on the square of the towns we have visited. Some are simple, some more ornate and others are decorated like this one. It sure beats spending what seems like forever in one while a guide drones on and one. Thank goodness Richard isn’t like that, he leaves what we want to do up to us, but will answer questions if we have them.


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The town we visited was known for its hand made textiles. We were treated to demonstrations of the different steps in the process from taking the seeds out of the cotton to the finished woven product. It was interesting learning they only use natural dyes to color the yarn. Beets give red, rosemary gives green and chamomile gives pale yellow, plus there were many, many more.


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Lunch was a home Mayan home visit.


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Linda pureeing tomatoes the Mayan way. She got the job done, but her technique wasn’t quite up to the Mayan method.


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Mayan blue corn tortillas. Blue corn flour mixed with water, and nothing more,  placed on a hot griddle over a wood fire. The basket was empty when I finished. That chicken, sauce, rice, beans and squash, plus four glasses of jamaica made me a fat and happy fella.



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The children always make home visits awesome.


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Mayan cross. Let’s just say their religion was there first.


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Linda was laughing at this when she took the photo. It was something about coffee normally being dirty, or something like that. Or maybe it was how to do clean coffee. Whatever it was she thought it was funny. Baffled Bob.


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It’s a heavy Linda day. She liked this photo she took. When she shows them to me after she takes them I am astute enough to know it is a not so subtle hint to include in the these posts. Smart Bob.


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Top of a Mayan pot recovered from an archeological site in the lake. The Mayans, past and present are an awesome people. The more we travel the more we learn what we didn’t know.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A Special School and More–Monday 23 April 2018

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Linda photo of the sign above the sink in our hotel room. Bottled water is all we been drinking on the trip, but in some places it has been okay use the tap water to brush our teeth even though we shouldn’t drink it. Go figure.

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The poorest of the poor in Guatemala City live beside and spend their days in enormous city garbage dump. Hanley Denning was a young woman who went door to door to learn how she could help these people and their children. The result was Safe Passage, started in 1999 and as they say, bringing hope, education, and opportunity to the children and families making their lives around the City’s garbage dump. Rather than me tell their story, if you are interested the links above to their website are very rewarding.

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Rather than decide what to do to help these people, Hanley’s approach was to ask them what she could do to help them and then find a way to make that happen. Hanley was killed in a tragic accident in 2007, but what she started goes on with that same ideal in mid.

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These children are often from a single parent family where their single mother works daily salvaging items in the garbage dump. Theirs is not a job, but rather a free for all where what you can collect you try to turn into money through some type of recycling. The kids get two meals and two snack a day, often the only food they may get, but even more important is the attention and nurturing of a caring adult. It’s not that their parent/parents don’t love them, it’s that their life is literally one of survival so they have very limited time for their children.

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Some parents are able to break the cycle, these are items they have made and are on sale at the school.

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This one of the mothers. She attends classes where is taught to sew items on an industrial sewing machine. It is helping her break the poverty cycle. She wanted her photo taken with me. It seems Jennifer Lopez is her favorite actress and she said I resembled the actor who was the villain in the movie Anaconda. Never saw it, but I wasn’t about to turn down a chance to hug an adoring fan. Bob the Stud.


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Sorting the day’s collection from the garbage dump.

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Outside the garbage dump.

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Many never leave the dump, the for the few that succeed, the sky’s the limit.

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Chicken Bus direct from the US and the blacked out school district. I’ve seen them where the name of the school district is still on the bus.

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School buses should have this type of paint job in the US. These are NOT school buses in Central America, they are regular passenger buses. And the engines and transmissions aren’t the lame ones that were originally in them either. When you see them flying by you going up a steep four lane mountain road you now they have had some very serious modifications done to them.

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The vehicle of choice in Guatemala. Late 80’s to mid 90’s pickups. Often wrecks from the US, they are stripped of all emission controls, and anything other than the the very basics, I.e. , and creature comforts. Each ounce of added weight is that much less they can haul. Body work, some chrome and paint and you’ve got and awesome vehicle. And yes, there are a lot of red pickups on the road.

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Speaking of red vehicles, let’s not forget the Tuk-tuks.

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In the cooler at a service station. Rolling Rock beer, Latrobe, Pennsylvania's finest and the first beer I ever drank.

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Photo by Linda. She really liked it, making (not) me look this way and that to get it just right. Poor Terry.

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Armed guard by our bus at the same service station.  Everywhere you go in Guatemala there are armed guards. As Richard so aptly put it, they don’t make us feel frightened, they make us feel safer. I actually meant to photograph all of him, but somehow only got his body.

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The moment a tour member tripped and fell coming out of the service station. Both Richard and the guard ran over to be of assistance, though none was needed and all was well. Still, it was a scary moment.

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Mayans make up 60% of the population of Guatemala. The area we be spending the next days are Mayan country. This is typical of what you see on the streets.

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Mayan celebration in small town. Richard warned us the sound would be loud. He was wrong, the sound was deafening.

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Linda got into the sense of the moment, dancing with this Mayan gentleman. I took some videos. but, it will likely be after we return to the states before I post them. Internet connections are not the greatest here.

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Unloading our bus at the end of the day. And a fantastic day it truly was. This post doesn’t even begin to relate how wonderful it truly was. It is why we travel.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Guatemala City–Sunday 22 April 2018

Many photos, few words today.


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Sunday morning means some of the major streets in town are turned into pedestrian areas where walker, runners and strolling families can get out and enjoy the city.


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What follows are photos from the market. It covers some 64 square blocks and is a city unto itself. Richard said it is place where few foreigners ever go, in fact most residents of the city never go there. It was one of those, you have experience it to understand what it really is places.


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My first ever taste of goat’s milk, and straight from the source at that. It was the best milk I’ve ever had. This is the real joy of travel.


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Where’d he go?

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Cinnamon? Maybe maybe not. It smelled like cinnamon, but didn’t look like cinnamon. And it was far cheaper than what really looked and smelled like cinnamon.

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There is a man under all those boxes. He and others like him make there living carrying things for people.

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More carriers. There equipment consists of a long piece of rope with a padded section in the middle the put over their forehead. Three or four trips a day and it  is a living, though not much more. In reality many of these people are very smart. Say they start out carrying bananas from a truck to a sellers stall. But instead spending every quetzal they earn, they have a few every week. With time they have enough to buy a few stalks and sell them. Fast forward and someday they own a stall and make a good living. How good a living? It is estimated the daily sales in entire market total in US dollars, $2,000,000 every day. It is a 100% cash business and none of it is taxed.


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This semi full on oranges stopped on the street. A door on the side of the trailer was opened and out poured oranges onto the street. Dozens of men with the large plastic tubs you see scrambled to fill their tub with oranges and took off running with the tub on their shoulder.


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Not the finest examples of Chicken Buses, but it was a slow day for seeing them on the streets.


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Mayan religious ceremony.


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Can with pull tab attached. Guatemala is a relatively clean country. Till tomorrow.