Saturday, September 6, 2014

I don’t know why it’s taken us this long to realize it, but the way to a kid’s heart is through some balls. No, not like that you pervert. Pelotas!

One of our favorite activities has become buying a handful of inflatable balls and taking them to the local park to give away. We instantly become the most popular folks in town, and playing with the kids is such a fun and entertaining way to spend an afternoon.

We stumbled upon this realization like most, accidentally. After spending an entire afternoon eating ice cream and watching some hilarious kids play soccer in the street, their ball popped and ruined the fun for everyone. We decided to go buy them a replacement, but by the time we returned they were gone. So we scoured the streets for another child to give the ball to. And when we did, he was SO excited. And so grateful. It was so touching, we vowed to do it again any chance we got.

In the tiny town of Santa Cruz, nestled in the hills overlooking the lake, we came across some kids playing in a puddle with two toy boats. One boat was made out of a smashed 2-liter bottle of Pepsi. The other, out of a Styrofoam to-go tray. They trudged through the puddles quietly with their makeshift toys. These kids needed some balls. As luck would have it, the tienda around the corner had a half dozen of them hanging in the corner. We’ll take ‘em!

The kids rushed us when they saw us coming, shouting cries of “Pelotas!” and leaping in the air ecstatically. I seriously almost got tackled. A fierce game of keep-away and general soccer-type mayhem ensued.


Before we left, each and every kid came up to us, individually, unprompted, to thank us. And if that wasn’t enough to melt our hearts, they treated us to their best soccer-team pose.

"Everyone say BALLS!"

Friday, September 5, 2014

Iguana Perdida

When we listen to the universe, it rarely steers us in the wrong direction. On the day I finally felt well enough to leave Panajachel, we’d planned to take a boat to another lakeside town of San Marcos. It promised eco-lodges and yoga and organic restaurants and holistic healing, just the kind of hippy-dippy place to recover and regain my health. We hoped the afternoon rains would hold off long enough for us to find a place to stay once we’d arrived. They didn’t.

It started POURING while we were en route. Our bags were getting drenched and we were hanging on tight while rough seas tossed us about violently. As waves splashed into the boat, we both silently began developing our plan of action should the thing sink. I contemplated the reliability of the life vests tied to the roof, and wondered if I could swim all the way to shore.

At the first stop along the route, I noticed a hostel/dive shop right off the dock whose name sounded familiar. Iguana Perdida... I think I read that place is nice. Should we just get off here? We didn’t want to walk around San Marcos in the downpour looking for a place to stay, and were happy for the opportunity to get back on solid ground. We made a swift decision and grabbed our bags and jumped off the boat before it sped off towards its next destination, hastily paying the guy more than necessary on accident in a rush to find shelter from the storm.

Since our arrival all we can say is - Thank God for that rain. We are absolutely in love with this place, and are going to have a really hard time tearing ourselves away. Our initial plan was to spend a few nights each in a few different towns around the lake. Now we figure, eh, we can see everything via a daytrip from the Iganua. Or, not see anything at all. Other than the INCREDIBLE view from the many couches and hammocks dotted about the property. We’re staying in a tiny little private room overlooking the water for $12 a night. Well, $8 when you consider every 3rd night is free.

The vibe here is indescribable. It’s low season, so there are about a dozen of us here (including staff), giving us the opportunity to grow tremendously close in the few short days since we’ve checked in. The owners have refrained from providing wifi, to promote the bonds we’ve so quickly been forming. In fact, electricity was only installed a handful of years ago. A small restaurant and tiny convenience store share the lakefront location, and beyond that it’s a 30-minute walk up the mountainside to the nearest village. So, we have lots of quality time together.

By day we float in innertubes. Or walk into town for lunch at the local culinary school. Or take a boat to an amazing wine and cheese restaurant in Santa Cruz. Or hike to the infinity pool in Jaibalito. Or gorge ourselves at the awesome weekend BBQ in Panajachel. By night we sit together at a long table and share family-style dinners while lightening storms illuminate the volcanoes surrounding us. We watch movies. Play games. Sit on the floor around a cluster of candles, taking turns telling jokes, singing songs, swigging from the tequila bottle. When the moon is full, we strip down and jump off the dock together after being doused in beer during a cross dressing party. But that’s a story for another blog.

The staff here are all volunteers, working in exchange for free room and board. If this were after the holidays when our travel is open-ended, I could definitely see us enjoying that arrangement. But alas, there is more of Guatemala and Honduras to see in the five weeks we have left. So, we’ll eventually be moving on. Just don’t ask us when…



Monday, September 1, 2014

Panajachel

- Our first stop on the amazing Lake Atitlán (as it'one of the only lakeside towns accessible by road).

- Where we intended to stay 1-2 nights, but got stuck for 5 while I recovered from the worst food poisoning I’ve ever had.

- Luckily, also where we got an amazing deal on the nicest hotel we’ve stayed in since leaving home. A spotless private bathroom and satellite TV were just what the doctor ordered.

- Home to a parrot that may have been in love with me, and tried to kill Reece on several occasions.

Knock knock. Who's there? Asshole Parrot!!



Friday, August 29, 2014

Yup.


So far so good, Guatemala.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Thanks Mexico!

It was an amazing five weeks. We were delighted by your food. Amazed by your beauty. Challenged by your language barrier. Amused by your couples making out EVERYWHERE. Overwhelmed by your heat. In awe of your lightening storms. Charmed by your towns. Smitten by your beaches. And really excited to get to know your neighbor…

The moment we crossed the border into Guatemala, the landscape changed. Impossibly high hills swathed in a lush green jungle as far as the eye could see. A few hours in, we’d ascended the western highlands and were driving above the clouds.


From what we’ve seen so far, it’s a stunning country. And we can’t wait to see more!