Category Archives: Guatemala

Guatemala 2.0: The Extended Stay

Me and Maya love to wrestle on the bed!

Hey Adventurers! I sure hope you enjoyed our ‘year on the road’ posts as much as My Family and I loved putting them together. It’s been quite the journey so far, but it’s also far from over. We celebrated our year travel-versary in Guatemala, and I just realized I haven’t yet told you about our time back in this amazing country! Well, it’s long overdue, so here we go…

After our quick trip through the border, we pointed the Big Truck straight towards Antigua, and didn’t stop until we arrived. Antigua Guatemala is a great human city, one we spent a bunch of time in during our journey south (you can check the details out here), and we were more than grateful to return. We parked once again at the Tourist Police, a nice grassy field patrolled by smiling officers and scattered campers. Exhausted after our long day of border crossing and driving, I was ready to snuggle up and call it a day. Victoria’s back, however, disagreed with me. All the driving time had left her in a bunch of pain, so we ventured out into the city to find a pharmacy that might have something to make her feel better. Two stops later and we were back at the campsite.

The next couple of days were a blur of boredom. Victoria was super duper sore, and any time she’s not feeling well I end up on constant High Alert. I tried to snuggle up with her and lick her nose a bunch, but even that didn’t seem to make her feel better. Jason kept wandering out into Antigua to try and find something to help her out. Nothing was making much of a difference. I had been so excited to revisit this beautiful place, but our week in Antigua was basically spent in the camper or out on the grass, keeping Victoria company. Jason ventured out to work, to buy groceries and to look for a good massage place for Victoria. That was about it. So instead of wandering the parks, sniffing the local dogs and hanging out in the restaurants, Maya and I were reduced to whining for leftovers and worrying about Victoria. No one slept well this week, and I was starting to wonder if the adventurous portion of the Big Adventure was well and truly over. The only bright spot was the couple of nights we hung out with Adam and Rikki, cool travelers who kept us company at the tourist police.

Here we are parked at the Tourist Police. Look at all that space for running around!

Finally, Jason decided to pull the plug on our failed Antigua trip. He and Victoria had thought about possibly finding an apartment here to hunker down and let some of the rainy season pass us by. With Victoria laid up and Jason having to work, clean and keep us all fed basically solo, there was never any time to research and explore. So instead of sitting around the campsite for another week (with what My Family said was possibly the most devastatingly terrible bathrooms and ice cold showers they had ever come across), Jason packed up the camper and we set out for another return trip: to Lake Atitlan.

The drive to the lake is one I plan on forgetting quickly. Victoria was miserable, and Jason was more than a little bit stressed out. Lake Atitlan is an incredible place (you can read about our last trip there here), a massive lake surrounded by volcanoes with super cool towns all around it. But it also features some of the steepest, most treacherous roads we’ve encountered. On our previous trip here we almost lost the brakes on the Big Truck, and Jason smelled of residual fear and anxiety for the whole next day. This time around we were certainly pros, but at this point, months into the rainy season the roads were disastrous. We bounced and braced our way down steep inclines, around ridiculous switchbacks and through narrow, cobblestone streets until we finally arrived back in San Pedro, one of our favorite stops on our way south.

We pulled into Cafe Chiyuasani, a coffee shop/pool/parking lot where we had spent a week previously. The owners remembered us, and couldn’t believe how big Maya was. This was Maya’s first campsite when she was a little baby, small enough to fit in Jason’s hand. Now Jason and Victoria have to lift her with two hands and sling her against their shoulders to pick her up! Anyway, we took our old spot, set up, had some food and relaxed. The journey was hard, and not so great for Victoria’s back, but we got there in one piece and snuggled up early for bed.

Our first two weeks in San Pedro were spent sampling all of our favorite restaurants, relearning the town and trying to find some sort of cure for Victoria’s pain. Between the croissants, barbecue, kung pao and guatemalan tacos there were massages, acupuncture treatments, internet research and muscle relaxers. Slowly but surely, Victoria started to feel better. Sitting still for a while probably had something to do with it, as well as the super nice people and laid back atmosphere, but whatever did the trick I was sure happy about it. Victoria started to smell less tired and strained and more relaxed and happy. My nose licks started doing the trick, and our walks around town got longer and longer. We were cooking more, staying up later, meeting more people and even dancing a little bit! After so little fun from El Salvador on, I was pretty darn happy about our change in fortunes.

Things got better for Maya and I as well. The Cafe is set on a wide stretch of lawn, and since it’s all gated in My Family let us run around off leash a bunch. Maya likes to pounce in my direction and then dash off, egging me into chasing her. I bark and bark, even though I kinda like this game. She’s getting really big now, and I can’t catch her anymore. I’m definitely still the older sister, though. If I want a toy she’s running after, she gives it to me no questions asked. As it should be.

A couple weeks into our stay in San Pedro, My Family made the decision to stay a bit longer. Jason met a nice girl at the Sunday barbecue at the coffee shop, and she offered to give Victoria a job at her hostel. Meanwhile, My Family went house-hunting. I guess they had gotten tired of the ice cold showers at the coffee shop, and having to trudge up a hill and awkwardly hand wash dishes without a sink with running water. They found a place to move us to, and Victoria started working at Mr. Mullets, a spot we would soon get to know very well.

Of course, we weren’t out of the woods yet. During Victoria’s very first day on the job, things took a turn for worse. I could sense that something funky was going on with Jason the whole previous day, and sure enough by the time Victoria got home Jason was glued to the bed. He was shivering and shaking, and Victoria said he had a bad fever. Things were just not going so well for us in the heath department! We were set to move into our new, temporary home just two days later, and Jason could barely move. He talked to some of our new friends about it, and people were concerned he had something called ‘Dengue Fever’. You know those stupid mosquitoes that bite you and leave bumps? Well, apparently they can leave something even worse behind, this fever that just sticks around. It ended up taking weeks before Jason felt better, so now Victoria’s super cautious about all of us where bugs are concerned, even us dogs.

Jason did manage to get out of bed long enough to drive us to our new home, a cabin in a place called Hotel Chi-ya. This was up the hill on the outskirts of San Pedro, then down a steep driveway, down an even steeper set of stairs and into what we started calling the Wee Jungle House. My Family liked it because it had a huge window that looked right out over the lake, where you could even see a shape in the mountains that people called The Indian Nose. I liked it because it had two beds, (two!) both of which I was allowed to jump on. Maya didn’t like it at first, because Maya is basically afraid of anything new and different. Jason could barely carry anything heavier than a pillow at this point, so moving in wasn’t too much fun as Victoria had to do most of it herself. Even worse? The bathtub was cracked when we moved in, and the owners didn’t know! So after being in the Wee Jungle House for just two days we ended up having to move all of our stuff across the way to another cabin, which we called the Little Jungle House. This would be our home for the next six human weeks.

During our time in the LJH, you could almost always find Jason sitting on the deck, enjoying a cup or coffee (or a super split) and enjoying the view.

At first I absolutely loved the LJH. It was HUGE, like ten times the size of our camper, with a big balcony on the outside where I could lay in the sun for hours and hours. There were also two beds here, as well as a big television! Well, that last part was more of a plus for the humans, as they got to practice their spanish watching movies in english or spanish with subtitles. Maya and I could dash around the house, chasing toys and snapping at bugs, which there were in huge numbers.

After a while, however, I started to dislike, and then hate this place. First off, there was the peeing situation. There were no grassy spots for me. Everything was stone stairs and overgrown jungle. Maya could care less; she would pee anywhere (even inside the house from time to time). But I had nowhere comfy to do my business. Jason started taking us up the hill to the flat driveway every morning, something he personally dreaded before coffee. The problem was, there were two dogs who lived at the hotel, and the younger one didn’t like me at all. She kept snapping at me, and Jason even had to scramble and pick me up a couple of times. I wish he hadn’t. I totally could’ve taken her. So the terrible outside situation, coupled with the massive rainstorms that would pummel the house on a daily basis, made me miss the camper fiercely.

After a little while the LJH started to feel like a jail...

After a little while the LJH started to feel like a jail…

My Family, however, fell into a happy and laid back routine. Jason would write on the deck each morning, and then move to the big table or head into town for delicious coffee during his work days. Over time he felt stronger and better, until finally his flu or Dengue was nothing but a bad memory. Victoria’s back was also feeling better every day, and she was working at Mr. Mullets three days a week, meeting a ton of great people and having a bunch of fun doing it. We’d head up the hill into the market once or twice a week, buying delicious fruits and veggies for My Family, and even found a nice vet in town who took care of the shots Maya and I were due to receive.

I was feeling grumpy about the LJH and Maya’s constant pestering when out of the blue, something amazing happened. I smelled them before the door opened, and immediately perked up. It was my human grandparents, Lorna and David, here for a visit! I couldn’t have been more excited, immediately jumping from lap to lap and planting kisses until I thought my tongue was going to fall off. Maya was a bit leery at first; this was her first time meeting them and she’s always on edge when other humans are near our living space. But Lorna and David are so awesome her tail was quickly wagging.

I love Lorna and David SO much!

I love Lorna and David SO much!

They stayed for a week, and we all had an absolute blast. Lorna and David love us a ton, so we got to go everywhere with them, to cafes and restaurants, and on long walks through town. Lorna and David had seen San Pedro once before, for a quick trip on their last visit to Guatemala. Now Jason and Victoria knew the town a ton better, so they showed Lorna and David everything My Family loves about San Pedro. The bustling food market, the beautiful textile shops in neighboring San Juan, the incredible restaurants all over town (with tastes shared all around every time!), and My Family’s group of new friends at Mr. Mullet’s. The only thing I could have lived without was the boat trip to Panajachel, a town that’s way on the other side of the lake. I turned green just as soon as we got on the boat, and Jason had to drag Maya on kicking and screaming! She had been on the water taxis when she was super young, but this time around she was just not having it. She leaped into Jason’s lap and wouldn’t move until we arrived on the far shore. We had a nice lunch and strolled through all the markets, but the ride back was even worse. The water was so rocky that we all got soaked, even after My Family helped hold a tarp up against the splashing water. Maya looked absolutely depressed when we finally got back to San Pedro, drenched and tired. Lorna and David headed home the next day, and I was seriously not thrilled to see them go. It’s always super fun when they visit, and I end up grumpy and sad for the whole first day I don’t see them. Victoria promised me they’d come and visit again when we get to Mexico, so at least I have that to look forward to!

Remind me again what humans like so much about boats?!

Remind me again what humans like so much about boats?!

The second half of our stay at the LJH was pretty boring, honestly. We were quite a ways outside of town, and since it was now raining for huge chunks of every day, My Family ended up leaving Maya and I home a lot. We always had plenty of fresh food and water and lots of room for playing, but the days sort of blended together. I know Victoria and Jason were having a ton of fun in San Pedro, meeting great people and sometimes staying out super late, but I was rarely invited. Maya has so much energy that she just pokes and prods me until I either play with her or snap and yell her into submission. It’s not pretty. I began to count the days we’d spent in this prison-like house, and wonder when I’d be paroled. I know My Family works hard, and now that they were feeling better they deserved to enjoy where we were. But I’m pretty sure this is NELI’S BIG ADVENTURE, right? When’s my turn coming around again? No beaches, nowhere good to pee, a puppy hounding me day and night and no good way to pass the time other than trying to trap and pester the hundreds of bugs that flew in through the cracks in the doors and windows every day. Suffice to say, I was starting to go stir crazy. Worst of all, the LJH leaked every time it rained, so Maya and I got blamed for peeing in the house a couple times before Jason and Victoria figured it out. When do we get a break?!

Me, caught in the act of plotting my escape from the LJH.

Me, caught in the act of plotting my escape from the LJH.

Don’t get me wrong, there were a couple more highlights. One day, Victoria plugged in the buzzer and shaved Jason’s head! It looked like there was a bird’s nest sitting there on the patio! Maya didn’t like it at first; she’s pretty dumb and I think she couldn’t tell it was him. I liked it right away, though. Now I can lick his head as well as his face! More real estate. My Family did also take us out into town for a couple of walks, and we even visited Victoria at work a couple times. Jason and Victoria also spent many nights at home, cooking delicious meals we always got to taste. Jason would throw toys around for Maya and I for hours on end. We ran and ran, playing keep-away and bouncing from bed to bed. The LJH was leaky and wet, and the bugs were seriously nutty, but it did have it’s strong points.

Near the end of our stay in the LJH Victoria celebrated her birthday! This was a super fun day, full of music and smiling faces. Victoria even had a birthday party at Mr. Mullets. We didn’t get to go, of course, but I heard all sorts of stories. Apparently, everyone dressed up like they were in Los Angeles, and Victoria got to break open a pinata. Maya and I made sure to give Victoria a bunch of extra kisses to make super sure she knew how much we love her. The next day Victoria and Jason started packing up the camper, and we hit another snag. The truck wouldn’t start. Our trusty home on wheels! Jason waved down a tuk tuk, which is basically a motorcycle taxi, to try and jumpstart the truck, but that didn’t work so well. Finally, a nice Guatemalan man dressed all in black with long curls and a big beard helped him get the truck started again. Jason said the man was a Hasidic Guatemalan, which I guess was pretty unique to him. I have no idea what that means, so I should probably look it up. Anyway, the truck was just fine after that, and the next day I was happy to watch My Family empty the LJH and finish packing up the camper. I could barely contain my excitement as we left that house behind.

Maya and I relaxing (um, not helping to pack the camper)  our last day at the LJH!

Maya and I relaxing (um, not helping to pack the camper) our last day at the LJH!

I had no regrets as we watched San Pedro disappear in the rearview. I know My Family was pretty sad to leave. They had met both old and new friends, and made a ton of memories in this unique place. I was more than happy to be back on the road, however. The house I thought was so super cool ended up being terrible, and with the constant rain I barely got to do any adventuring. If a dog could die of boredom, I guess I was close. Maya, on the other hand, was not that enthusiastic. She had grown so big that she barely fit in her old perch in the truck, and suddenly she started getting car sick! She had never had this problem before, but the entire journey away from Lake Atitlan she was a miserable, slobbery mess. She never vomited, but she soaked both herself and the bed under her with spit, and tried to jump down into the front seat at every opportunity. Victoria and Jason had no idea what to do, so it ended up being a pretty awkward drive.

We left the lake and drove north, heading for the Mexican border. We had one last night in Guatemala, in the parking lot of a hotel, before slowly but surely finding the border. It’s hard to say exactly how I felt about this part of our adventure. Jason and Victoria had been dealing with a ton of sickness and pain ever since El Salvador, and nothing that terrible had happened to me. Yet I was pretty unsatisfied. Don’t get me wrong, I know now how cool a life this is for a dog. We pass dogs every single day that don’t have families, and barely get enough food or clean water to survive. I’m doing great, and Maya basically won the doggie lottery. Yet I was yearning for something more. Some time out of the rain, footloose and fancy free, hopefully with a sandy beach I could call my own. It had been a long time since I’d seen Mexico. We’ve been on the road for just over a year now, and more than nine human months of that time had been spent in Central America! That’s a lot of great memories, but we were all super excited about what was going to come next. I stood up on Victoria’s lap, sniffing the changes in the air, thrilled to see the ‘Welcome to Mexico’ sign in front of us. Hopefully this would be the end of the rough times, and a new beginning for the Big Adventure!

PS:  To see some of the photos My Family took during their A W E S O M E time in San Pedro, head over to our Facebook page!

20
Oct 2014
POSTED BY Neli
POSTED IN

Guatemala

DISCUSSION 2 Comments

Guest Post: Victoria & Jason – One Year On the Road

Today marks one year on the road! We thought the whole trip was going to be six months, and now it looks like it’ll be more like a year and a half. You can plan for almost everything, but you never really know how long things will take, where the road will lead you, or how much you’ll love the adventure. To mark the occasion, we thought we’d take over Neli’s blog for a day and share some of the details with you.

Here’s a quick and dirty number breakdown: 365 days, 7 countries (with two visits to 5 of them so far), almost 10,000 miles, spending an average of $75 a day (which includes absolutely everything, from import permits to doctor’s visits to ferries, dog food to gasoline to souvenirs). That’s about $2,280 a month, which is basically what we were paying in rent back home. We spent one night sleeping on the deck of a cargo ferry, 30 nights in hotel rooms, 1 night in an 8-bed dorm room, 60 nights housesitting in Costa Rica and 38 nights in a rented house on the shores of Lake Atitlan. The rest of the time was spent sleeping in Bliss Island, our trusty camper.

It’s worth mentioning that we never made it to Panama. That was obviously not the plan. The trip was supposed to end in Panama City, but after we spent two months housesitting in Costa Rica, we ran into a snag in the rules regarding temporary vehicle import permits. Basically, we ran out of time, and were wary of getting stuck in Panama for three months. We’re disappointed we never made our final destination, but you know what they say about the journey…

It’s really hard to explain what this year has meant to us, with more new experiences, new friends and beautiful beaches than we could ever count. We’ve had ups and downs, but far more ups, and we can easily say this is one of the most amazing things either of us have ever done. We do have some standouts though, so here’s a quick look at some of our favorite people, places and things from our year on the road.

Food: If you know us, you know any recap HAS to start with food. We’ve loved trying the local fare in each country, stretching our palates while always hunting for cheap, delicious street carts. The fresh fruits and vegetables, while sometimes limited in selection, are always cheap and tasty. We had a ton of fun shopping in local markets at every stop.

Cooking on your own is one thing, but cooking together with friends makes everything taste that much better. We’re pretty sure that our friends Marcia and Andre thought we timed our ‘accidental meetings’ to coincide with lunch or dinner. Marcia also taught us how to make real deal Brazilian rice, our go-to at least once a week. Kenny and Jenn‘s carnitas could win an award, and inspired us to attempt recreating it. Sam and Erica made us curry, and now that we know how to do it it’s become our go-to for cleaning out the veggie box. We were also lucky enough to share Christmas dinner at Overlander Oasis with Calvin, Leanne, and a bunch of new friends. We’ve had fantastic homemade sushi with Sarah and Hani, and a sliders party with Chloe and Toby. In general, we try to prepare two of our own meals a day, but here are some of our favorites we’ve found along the way.

Mexico:

  • Random ceviche stand in Baja: the owner kept feeding us (free!) dishes we couldn’t recognize, but loved all the same

  • Roadside fish soup: we stopped to gas up and Victoria braved a roadside stand where the flies seriously outnumbered the people. Jason chickened out and ate a bag of chips, but the fish soup was outstanding, and Jason was seriously jealous.

  • Cracked crab at Ceilito Lindo Motel and RV Park: we slept in a dirty parking lot just so we could try this legendary cracked crab. It was worth every sleepless minute that night.

  • Il Vizietto in Sayulita: we returned several times to eat the homemade pasta and sauces, and to sit at the swing bar

  • Buffalo wings in San Miguel: The Beer Stop had killer chicken wings, offering a welcome taste of home

  • Taco stands: we ate at countless roadside taco stands in Mexico, and were never disappointed. Especially if it involved Tacos al Pastor.

Belize:

  • Pizza from Pizza Caulker: Caye Caulker has tons of restaurants, but this pizza was the real deal. You also have the option of cooking the country’s favorite hot sauce right into the pie.

  • Hot Mama’s: Speaking of hot sauce, we all love Marie Sharpe’s, but after stopping for barbecue in the middle of the country we discovered Hot Mama’s, which is now our all-time favorite.

Guatemala:

  • Barbecue night at El Retiro: We stayed in the town of Lanquin before heading up to Semuc Champey. They offer a killer barbecue once a week.

  • Mucho’s Gastropub in Antiqua: We stumbled upon this place on Valentine’s Day, and it has become one of our top dining experiences ever. Mucho’s would be at home in any major city, the food and drinks were ridiculous and beautiful.

  • Cactus Tacos: Also in Antigua, Cactus has an inventive and imaginative taco selection, including wasabi tempura shrimp tacos. Say no more.

  • Pappi’s BBQ: Yep, in Antigua as well. Pappi’s had a bbq sandwich that’s as long as your arm, and worth the struggle to eat every last bite.

  • Croissants at Idea Connection: The best cafe on Lake Atitlan, their croissants are the real deal.

  • Pop-up Indian: There’s a pop-up Indian restaurant at the cultural center near the Santiago dock in San Pedro. We’ll be making this our last meal in San Pedro.

  • Smokey Joe’s BBQ: Yep, we love barbecue. And Smokey Joe’s is the best we’ve found in Central America. Every Sunday at the pool in San Pedro, it’s everything you could want and then some. We never walked away without leftovers.

El Salvador:

  • Pupusas! Ranging anywhere in price from twenty-five to seventy-five cents a pupusa, we could (and sometimes did) eat these for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

  • Tunco Veloz: This pizza restaurant in El Tunco was incredible, with a staff to match. Try every pizza on the menu, but especially the PPP.

  • Rancho Clemente: We spent one night at this restaurant/campsite close to the Honduran border. There’s no menu, it’s just what they caught that day, and what’s left by the time you get there. We had shrimp and a whole fried fish, and left full and blown away.

Nicaragua:

  • Street meat in Leon: It sounds weird, but it was incredible. Right outside the main market every sundown, the vendors cook delicious meats of all shapes and sizes, and you can pile your plate high.

  • Dessert at Imagine: We had mango bread, with chocolate fudge sauce and vanilla ice cream at this tiny, artistic spot in Granada. Sounds simple enough, but it was mind-blowingly good.

  • Cha Cha Cha: This San Juan del Sur restaurant offered great ambience and live music, but the Korean steak tacos won the night.

Costa Rica:

  • Campground cookies in Monte Verde: We spent a few nights at a beautiful farm called La Colina Lodge. The cookies they sell at reception are spectacular.

  • Pizza Cahuita: This unassuming pizza place on the Caribbean was maybe the best pizza we’ve ever had, not just on this trip.

  • Bamboo Taco: A taco truck outside of our vet’s office in Uvita. Two Americans cooking killer tacos.

  • Fresh mangos: Jason pulled fresh mangos out of the trees at our campsite near Uvita, with a bamboo pole that must have been fifty feet long. For whatever reason, they tasted extra delicious.

Drinks: Chances are if we’re eating, we’re probably drinking as well. Nothing beats an ice cold beer at our campsite after a long, dusty, bumpy, stressful driving day or a homemade sundowner on the beach while wild camping. There have been some amazing finds, however. Here are our standout drinks.

  • Mexico: Baja Beans Coffee served espresso drinks that made us feel like we were back on Abbot Kinney, with prices to match. Prior to visiting San Miguel, we thought Mexican beer consisted of Tecate, Corona and other flavorless, semi-alcoholic brews. We were happy to discover there’s actually 40+ amazing Mexican brews, and we tasted several of them at the Beer Stop. The corn-based Atole is the perfect warm drink on a cold night, though Victoria didn’t like the strawberry one. Mezcal is made in Oaxaca, and is so much tastier than tequila.

  • Belize: Even though the bottle is small, Belikin Beer was our favorite Central American brew. Try both the ‘beer’ and the ‘stout’ for the full experience.

  • Guatemala: The spicy margaritas at Cactus Taco are the best we’ve found so far. Coffee-wise, it’s a battle between Coffee Loco in Panajachel and Idea Connection in San Pedro, so you might as well try both, and more than once. Our new friend Oliver learned to make Super Splits while bar-tending in Peru, and brought them to Mr. Mullet’s in San Pedro, where they quickly became everyone’s favorite. We’ve duplicated the recipe many times at home. Thanks Oli!

  • Nicaragua: Flor de Cana, Flor de Cana, Flor de Cana. Enough said.

  • Costa Rica: Lake Arenal Brewing Company is the real deal. Try an IPA and let the awesome owner bend your ear for a night. We also loved playing mixologist with our friends at the Big Jungle House in Costa Rica. Two of our favorites were Lydia’s ‘Everything’s Coming Up Wellner’ and Heather’s ‘It Looks Nice At the Beach’!

Places We Loved: This is a really tough one, as we found something to love in almost every place we stopped. There are some standouts, however, places we thought we could potentially never leave.

  • Mexico: The entire Baja Peninsula is incredible. We can’t believe we lived three hours away from here and never visited. Can’t wait to go back! We were also surprised by how much we loved the interior, as we thought we’d spend all of our time in Mexico by the beach. We couldn’t get enough of the mountain towns, however, especially San Miguel de Allende. We’re going back this November!

  • Belize: It’s not a standout, because we would never want to go back, but Belize City is the sketchiest place we’ve ever been. It’s the one place we felt concerned, even just driving on the road. We loved our time on Caye Caulker, but it was very short (and not particularly dog friendly). Would be a great place to go back for a fly-in holiday.

  • Guatemala: Semuc Champey is one of the most stunning and magical places we’ve ever been, especially as we had the park to ourselves. We also loved San Pedro la Laguna on Lake Atitlan. The laid back vibe, great Mayan culture and incredible food make this the hardest place to leave in Central America.

  • Nicaragua: Laguna de Apoyo is a gorgeous crater lake with the best weather and water temperature we found anywhere. The kind of place you go for a night and end up leaving a week later. Playa Maderas is a little beach community north of San Juan del Sur. We could have spent months had the internet been better. Between here and Playa Gigante, we saw the most incredible sunsets of our trip.

  • Costa Rica: The entire Nicoya Peninsula is stunningly beautiful. We wished we had a ton more time to spend here. The mountain town of Monteverde is gorgeous, with a great ex-pat community to match. It’s one of the places we would consider living longer term. We spent two months in the Big Jungle House, up a mountain south of Uvita. We felt like we were living in a dream, in a 3,000 square foot home with an infinity pool overlooking the ocean, and it gave us the opportunity to spend time with friends we hadn’t seen in a year (or hadn’t met in person yet).

Relationships: You would think spending 24 hours a day together, living in the square footage of the bed of a pickup truck that our relationship would have been sorely tested. We don’t know if it’s because we lived in such a tiny house before or if we’ve just had a blessed trip, but we really never argue. The trip has brought us closer together, both literally and figuratively, and beside a couple of grumpy, long driving days it’s been smooth sailing.

We’ve also found that our definitions have changed drastically. Our definition of ‘clean’, for example, is much more relative now. Both concerning ourselves and our environment. Bathrooms that would turn your stomach back home have become an oasis down here. We’ve gone from showering daily in the US to questioning whether or not we smell after the third day on the road. Cheap vs. expensive has been totally redefined: if a beer costs more than $1.25, that’s expensive. Sleeping in late means getting up after the sun has risen. 7:30 is super late. Staying up past RV Midnight (9:30) is often a challenge.

Our lives have become much simpler. We sold 90% of what we owned, and still feel like we have too much stuff. When we were leaving home, Victoria sold or donated over 75 pairs of shoes, most of which had only been worn once, if at all. Running water is a luxury. Hot water is an even bigger luxury. Toilet seats are miraculous, though we still don’t understand why they seem to be optional in many places. Gas, electricity and internet are not basic human rights, and often take some hunting to track down. Jason has spent many frantic mornings riding in the back of pickup trucks trying to find WiFi that can handle a Skype call.

Money Matters: We thought we had budgeted six months, but at this point we’ve stretched it to over a year. The fact that Jason works while we travel, something we hadn’t counted on, really helps. It changes the trip significantly, but having money coming in definitely takes some of the stress out of the picture. Victoria also got a job at a hostel while we were in San Pedro. She made a whopping $1.50 an hour, but that often paid for a special meal or two out on the town each week, and the bar tab and free laundry were major bonuses.

Friends: Obviously we miss our friends and family from home dearly. We were lucky enough to have several visitors while on the road, including Victoria’s parents (twice!), Heather and Karyn (Venice peeps), and Lydia (one of our favorite NYC gals). We hope to have several other visitors as we make our way north, and always look forward to sharing the trip with the people we love. In addition, we’ve made a ton of new friends on the trip. There’s a unique, basic connection with other travelers that turns relative strangers into BFF’s almost immediately. It’s a shared experience and set of values that unites people from different backgrounds and cultures, creating the backdrop for some incredible nights and lasting memories.

Would We Do It Again? Absolutely! Look, it hasn’t all been legendary adventures, the ‘living the dream’ ideal that many people might think it is when we tell them what we’re doing. There’s a great deal of stress, of making do without things you used to take for granted, of dealing with sick dogs, sick people, dangerous roads, unmet expectations, car trouble and scam artists. Yet we wouldn’t trade this last year for anything in the world. Traveling always expands your perspective, and traveling slowly by car gives you the opportunity to see a country through the eyes of the locals. It’s not always about the major tourist destinations as much as the unexpected detours through tiny villages you never planned on seeing. Thriving in the unexpected is a skill, and there’s no better way to learn it than by traveling slowly. There are a ton of sacrifices inherent in a journey like this, but what you gain along the way is both hard to describe, and absolutely priceless.

We head back to Mexico in a couple of days, where we plan to use all 180 days of our visa, exploring parts of the country we missed on our way south as well as returning to some of our favorite spots. We hope you’ll all continue to follow along with us, and maybe squeeze in a visit!

01
Oct 2014
POSTED BY Neli
DISCUSSION 5 Comments
TAGS

One Year in the Life of an Adventure Dog

Napping on the beach is one of my favorite things to do!

Napping on the beach is one of my favorite things to do!

Today is the 364th day since we packed up the Big Truck and left the Wee Blue House behind. That means tomorrow will be one whole year away from home, exploring Mexico and Central America on my Big Adventure. Humans like to count things. They’re always marking time, noting dates and celebrating anniversaries. Since my blog is probably read by humans for the most part, it seemed like a good idea to note the occasion. After all, a year is an awfully long time. That’s like 20% of my life so far! Although I probably would have been content to spend the last year with our friends in Venice, laying in the sun and snuggling up in my favorite home ever, it’s certainly been an amazing experience. We’ve had ups and downs, but overall I couldn’t have asked for a better human family and a more interesting life.

Instead of going on and on about all the cool stuff we’ve done, it seemed like a good idea to let the pictures do the talking. We’ve spent the past year exploring California, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, and we’ve got thousands of pictures that tell a better story than I ever could. I hope you enjoy reliving our adventures as much as I have!

 90291, baby! This is me right before we left the Wee Blue house and our life in Venice.

90291, baby! This is me right before we left the Wee Blue house and our life in Venice.

Before we crossed the border into Mexico, we did a quick 2-week tour of California. This is me and Jason taking a break on one our hikes in the Sequoia National Forest.

Before we crossed the border into Mexico, we did a quick 2-week tour of California. This is me and Jason taking a break on one our hikes in the Sequoia National Forest.

Turns out not all of California is as warm as Venice. Here I am snuggled up in bed in my favorite American Apparel hoodie. You know what they say, you can take the dog out of LA but you can't take the LA out of the dog...

Turns out not all of California is as warm as Venice. Here I am snuggled up in bed in my favorite American Apparel hoodie. You know what they say, you can take the dog out of LA but you can’t take the LA out of the dog…

One of my favorite things about the Big Adventure is all the empty beaches we camp on. Even better than an empty beach? I don't need to be on-leash! Here I am stretching my legs on the Baja.

One of my favorite things about the Big Adventure is all the empty beaches we camp on. Even better than an empty beach? I don’t need to be on-leash! Here I am stretching my legs on the Baja.

Another awesome thing about the Big Adventure? All the new friends we have made along the way! This is me getting some love from our Canadian surfer buddies.

Another awesome thing about the Big Adventure? All the new friends we have made along the way! This is me getting some love from our Canadian surfer buddies.

Me running on the beach in Baja.  Life really doesn't get better than this!

Me running on the beach in Baja. Life really doesn’t get better than this!

My friend Olivia and me playing in the water on the Baja. I miss you Olivia!

My friend Olivia and me playing in the water on the Baja. I miss you Olivia!

I get so many tastes of human-food on this trip! This is me and Vic shopping for croissants in Sayulita, Mexico. Yum!

I get so many tastes of human-food on this trip! This is me and Vic shopping for croissants in Sayulita, Mexico. Yum!

I don't especially love the time we spend in cities but even I can admit this is a pretty cool view of Guanajuato!

I don’t especially love the time we spend in cities but even I can admit this is a pretty cool view of Guanajuato!

Family holiday of snap of us in San Miguel de Allende.

Family holiday snap of us in San Miguel de Allende.

I get left in the truck. A LOT. I spend most of the time waiting for My Family to come home...

I get left in the truck. A LOT. I spend most of the time waiting for My Family to come home…

Leanne and Calvin, the owners of Overlander Oasis near Oaxaca, got me my own special Christmas present just in case Santa couldn't find me. I loved aardvark so much but My Family left him on an island in Nicaragua :(

Leanne and Calvin, the owners of Overlander Oasis near Oaxaca, got me my own special Christmas present just in case Santa couldn’t find me. I loved aardvark so much but My Family left him on an island in Nicaragua :(

Here I am waiting while Jason gets his boots shined in Oaxaca. It took forever but Jason was very happy with the results!

Here I am waiting while Jason gets his boots shined in Oaxaca. It took forever but Jason was very happy with the results!

Me and Jason hanging out in the (frigid) pools at Hierve del Agua.

Me and Jason hanging out in the (frigid) pools at Hierve del Agua.

Vic and I out for a bike ride on Caye Caulker, Belize. It was just like when we used to go for rides back in Venice!

Vic and I out for a bike ride on Caye Caulker, Belize. It was just like when we used to go for rides back in Venice!

This is me the first time I heard Howler Monkeys, near Tikal in Guatemala. Don't like.

This is me the first time I heard Howler Monkeys, near Tikal in Guatemala. Don’t like.

Victoria' parents, Lorna and David, came to see me in Antigua, Guatemala. I love them so so SO much!

Victoria’ parents, Lorna and David, came to see me in Antigua, Guatemala. I love them so so SO much!

Me and David sharing a beer on Lake Atitlan.  He's not a very good sharer but I managed to sneak in a lick or two!

Me and David sharing a beer on Lake Atitlan. He’s not a very good sharer but I managed to sneak in a lick or two!

The first time we went on a water taxi on Lake Atitlan I thought I was going to be sick. Not cool at all.

The first time we went on a water taxi on Lake Atitlan I thought I was going to be sick. Not cool at all.

This is me snuggled up with one of the Christmas presents Lorna and David got me. Thanks guys!

This is me snuggled up with one of the Christmas presents Lorna and David got me. Thanks guys!

Victoria and Jason took Spanish classes in San Pedro, Guatemala. I went to class with them most days, but I didn't learn that much.

Victoria and Jason took Spanish classes in San Pedro, Guatemala. I went to class with them most days, but I didn’t learn that much.

Oh yeah, the puppy. You can tell how excited I was to learn she was staying with us forever...

Oh yeah, the puppy. You can tell how excited I was to learn she was staying with us forever…

Another day, another beach run. This is me shaking off after a run along the beach in El Tunco, el Salvador.

Another day, another beach run. This is me shaking off after a run along the beach in El Tunco, el Salvador.

Here we all are sitting on the wall in El Tunco. Look how tiny Maya is!

Here we all are sitting on the wall in El Tunco. Look how tiny Maya is!

Me running on the beach in Nicaragua. I really do love an empty, seemingly endless beach!

Me running on the beach in Nicaragua. I really do love an empty, seemingly endless beach!

Me and Vic on our friend Andrews island in Lake Nicaragua. Yup, we're friends with people who own their own islands!!

Me and Vic on our friend Andrew’s island in Lake Nicaragua. Yup, we’re friends with people who own their own islands!!

Maya finally got big enough to join me on beach run in Playa Gigante, Nicaragua. Here we are tearing it up together.

Maya finally got big enough to join me on a beach run in Playa Gigante, Nicaragua. Here we are tearing it up together.

Our first (of many) stops in Costa Rica. This place was full of monkeys and sloths, none of whom really wanted to play with me.

Our first (of many) stops in Costa Rica. This place was full of monkeys and sloths, none of whom really wanted to play with me.

This is me relaxing on Vic's lap on Lake Arenal, Costa Rica. I love relaxing.

This is me relaxing on Vic’s lap on Lake Arenal, Costa Rica. I love relaxing.

We spent 90 days in Costa Rica.  N I N E T Y  D A Y S !

We spent 90 days in Costa Rica. N I N E T Y D A Y S !

Me running on the black sand beach in Cahuita, Costa Rica.  Note to self:  Black Sand gets way hotter than white sand.  Ouch!

Me running on the black sand beach in Cahuita, Costa Rica. Note to self: Black Sand gets way hotter than white sand. Ouch!

Reunited and it feels so good! We ran into our German friends Doris and Torsten in a Walmart parking lot in the middle of Costa Rica, what fun!

Reunited and it feels so good! We ran into our German friends Doris and Torsten in a Walmart parking lot in the middle of Costa Rica, what fun!

Me and my friend Heather hanging out by the pool in the Big Jungle House.

Me and my friend Heather hanging out by the pool in the Big Jungle House.

Heather came to see us all the way from Venice. Here we are again sharing a glass of wine at the BJH.

Heather came to see us all the way from Venice. Here we are again sharing a glass of wine at the BJH.

One of the great things about living in a house again was the couch! Occasionally, I let Maya share it with me.

One of the great things about living in a house again was the couch! Occasionally, I let Maya share it with me.

My friend Lydia also came to see us in Costa Rica. I was her good luck charm when we played UNO.

My friend Lydia also came to see us in Costa Rica. I was her good luck charm when we played UNO.

Oh yeah, I had almost forgotten about this. Victoria made me swim in the pool every single day. Not cool Vic!

Oh yeah, I had almost forgotten about this. Victoria made me swim in the pool every single day. Not cool Vic!

On our way out of Costa Rica, we spent a little more than a week going from beach to beach on the Nicoya Peninsula. Here I am running on the beach with Victoria right before the sun went down.

On our way out of Costa Rica, we spent a little more than a week going from beach to beach on the Nicoya Peninsula. Here I am running on the beach with Victoria right before the sun went down.

Me and Jason playing on the beach in Playa Maderas in Nicaragua.

Me and Jason playing on the beach in Playa Maderas in Nicaragua.

Every night on Playa Maderas, we would all go down to the beach and wait for the sunset. My Family would drink sundowners and then we'd all run around. It was one of my favorite places in Nicaragua.

Every night on Playa Maderas, we would all go down to the beach and wait for the sunset. My Family would drink sundowners and then we’d all run around. It was one of my favorite places in Nicaragua.

Me and Victoria after we were dancing on the street in Leon, Nicaragua. What fun!

Me and Victoria after we were dancing on the street in Leon, Nicaragua. What fun!

Our second trip through El Tunco, we went to a pizza place almost every night. This is me and Maya with Carlos, one of the waiters who liked us so much he bought us treats!

Our second trip through El Tunco, we went to a pizza place almost every night. This is me and Maya with Carlos, one of the waiters who liked us so much he bought us treats!

Lorna and David came back to see us in San Pedro, Guatemala. I heard they are going to visit us again in Mexico, I can't wait!

Lorna and David came back to see us in San Pedro, Guatemala. I heard they are going to visit us again in Mexico, I can’t wait!

Whenever Lorna and David come to visit us, they bring tons of treats for My Family AND me. This time they brought me this weird chicken pirate toy that Maya and I love to fight over, even though they brought one for each of us!

Whenever Lorna and David come to visit us, they bring tons of treats for My Family AND me. This time they brought me this weird chicken pirate toy that Maya and I love to fight over, even though they brought one for each of us!

Here I am hanging out in the Little Jungle House we rented on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. It's got tons of room for running around and a great deck overlooking the lake that always has a sunny spot for me to lay on.

Here I am hanging out in the Little Jungle House we rented on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. It’s got tons of room for running around and a great deck overlooking the lake that always has a sunny spot for me to lay on.

It was super hard to pick just a few pictures that tell the story of our amazing life on the road. So I might have overdone it a little bit in this post! I can’t believe it’s been a year already. My Family says that we’ve still got a little bit more time before we have to go back home, and I intend on enjoying every minute of it. Well, except for the times when Maya won’t leave me alone. She’s awful chewy. Can’t wait to get back to our adventures, and to share them all with you!

30
Sep 2014
POSTED BY Neli
DISCUSSION 2 Comments

Language Lessons in Gringolandia, and an Unwelcome Surprise: Guatemala Pt. 3

This is me tearing it up n the garden at Corazon Maya.

This is me tearing it up n the garden at Corazon Maya.

I knew it was coming, but that didn’t mean I had to like it. After two weeks in this super fun town called Antigua, we were headed back to Lake Atitlan. In case you’re new to my blog, I’m a pretty easygoing dog. I love people, I’ll eat just about anything and if you give me a sunny day and a lap to snuggle in, I’m pretty much good to go. There are only a couple of things I don’t like, and one of them is big bodies of water (I’ll get to the other thing later). So to put it simply, knowing we were about to spend some time on the edge of a giant lake, that very same lake I was forced to ride back and forth across in a tiny boat, and I was less than a happy camper. As always, My Family didn’t ask for my vote. So we left the nice people at the Tourist Police at drove off for the lake.

The roads to Lake Atitlan (or Lago de Atitlan, as the locals call it) are pretty smooth, but boy do they twist and turn! We spent a bit of time on the actual Pan American Highway, something we hadn’t done since early in our travels through Mexico, and then turned off to head down towards the lake. Our destination was the town of San Pedro, which was one of the places we had visited with my Grandparents two weeks before. We were taking another road down the huge mountain towards the lake. Holy cow, I had never seen such a steep road before! Jason smelled awfully nervous as we slowly made our way down. At one point in the trip, Jason pulled us over to give the big truck’s brakes a break. They weren’t that smelly, but I could tell for a moment that Jason wasn’t sure how the rest of the trip was going to go. Victoria walked me around so I could sniff the delicious scents of the jungle, while Jason hunkered down to watch the other trucks go by. Seeing these huge vehicles packed with logs, metal bars or dozens of people with their bags rocket down the hill way faster than we had, Jason seemed to realize the proper approach. We got back in the big truck and headed down, matching the other vehicles’ speedy descent. And aside from a couple of switchback turns when my eyes nearly popped out of my head, we got to the bottom without any issues!

San Pedro La Laguna is a pretty special place, even for us dogs. The town is a perfect mix of travelers from around the world and Guatemalans who still stick to their Mayan culture. Smells of cooking linger in the air along with that special, sweet smell of burning garbage we’ve found at every stop along the way. And the dogs live the life here! Although they’re not as lucky as me, with my bed and my special food and My Family to snuggle with, they all seemed pretty happy. We drove through town and pulled up in front of Corazon Maya, the Spanish school where we were going to stay for the next week. As always, I thought we were going to camp out, but my heart leaped when I saw we were going to stay in a little house! It had a yard all our own, a cool porch for lounging, and plenty of nice neighbors to pet and scratch me. There was even a camp dog who was super nice, and didn’t mind me sniffing around at all. We settled in for our first night in San Pedro, with our camper safely parked up the hill.

Our casita at Corazon Maya, complete with our own front yard!

Our casita at Corazon Maya, complete with our own front yard!

The next day we got up and out pretty early, so we could explore the town. Our first stop didn’t pan out so well (no dogs allowed at the pool with the yummy barbecue?), but the day was full of fun exploration. San Pedro is almost like two towns in one. Up the hill is ‘Centro’, where all the locals live and shop and pass the time. Down the hill by the lake are the super cool walk streets, which everyone calls ‘Gringolandia’. It’s nothing but shops, restaurants, bars, Spanish schools and happy tourists lounging by the lake. I got to wander with My Family pretty much everywhere (they love dogs here!), close enough to the lake to enjoy the breeze, but far enough away that I surely wouldn’t have to swim. Locals and tourists alike were all super nice and friendly, and since a lot of people come to this town to take Spanish classes, all the people were super patient with My Family’s attempts at communication.

Grindolandia.  It's so beautiful here and full of delicious smells.

Grindolandia. It’s so beautiful here and full of delicious smells.

We fell into a nice routine during the next five days. In the morning, Jason and Victoria went to Spanish school. I usually came with them, running from one little room to the other so I could get good lap time with both of them. It was pretty funny listening to Jason try and speak spanish for four hours a day! Victoria was definitely better, but I think I understood the teachers better than either one of them. In the afternoons I would relax on the front lawn while Jason worked. And in the evenings we would go out to explore, eating yummy food, meeting nice people and enjoying the cool weather by the lake. After our second day of Spanish school we met a couple of super nice campers named Kenny and Jenn. They’ve been traveling as long as we have, and also came from California! It was pretty cool to meet people who knew about my home, and we hung out with them a lot. I didn’t always get to go out with My Family as they wandered around town, but even when I was left at home I didn’t mind. We had a comfy bed, and I felt super safe in this place. I knew we weren’t going to stay forever, but I was very happy when My Family decided to stay and spend a second week in this great place.

This guy lives at Corzaon Maya and is really chill.  I repeat, he lives at Corazon Maya.  Not with us.

This guy lives at Corzaon Maya and is really chill. I repeat, he lives at Corazon Maya. Not with us.

The days passed quickly here. Jason got to experience a little more of the Mayan culture, taking part in a couple of ceremonies to mark the new year on their calendar. I got delicious bits of bacon when we went out with our new friend Benjamin to an all you can eat brunch! Victoria spent a lot of time reading on our front porch. I got to eat fresh banana bread! Jason and Victoria went out with Kenny and Jenn, ran around in the rain, and tried delicious restaurants basically all the time. I got to chase a cat around Corazon Maya. All in all, a perfect week.

Things changed really quickly, and I had no warning at all. One morning, Jason and Victoria left me at home for quite a long time. I knew they were planning on visiting another town along the lake called Santiago, so that they could help some of the local dogs and cats. Before the Big Adventure Victoria had found an organization called Ayuda Perros Y Gatos, run by a nice woman named Selaine right here in Lake Atitlan. They take sick dogs and cats off the streets and give them medicine. Apparently, those dogs I kept seeing roaming around weren’t as well off as I thought. Nobody takes care of them, so they don’t feel very good. Jason and Victoria left me at home so they could help take care of some of these animals. They came home, and I was super happy to see them. Then I noticed a new smell coming in with them: another dog!

Maya, Maya, Maya! Not only does she cry, poop and pee all the time she also steals my toys.  My family thinks everything she does is cute.

Maya, Maya, Maya! Not only does she cry, poop and pee all the time she also steals my toys. My family thinks everything she does is cute.

My Family never asked my opinion, which I surely would have given them.  They just went and decided to bring one of these Guatemalan dogs into our house! Her name is Maya, and she’s just a puppy. She doesn’t know how to do anything right, and basically they expect me to welcome her into our family? At first I thought that maybe she was just going to spend the night, until she started to feel better. But the days kept passing, and every morning she was still there! Not amused. At the beginning of this post I mentioned there were two things I don’t like: Large bodies of water and Surprise Siblings.

Since we now had this interloper with us, Victoria and Jason decided to spend one more week in San Pedro. This little whiner who just pees and poops all over the place ALSO needs all sorts of shots and medicine! The plan had been to head off to the beach, but because of Maya we were staying on the lake instead. Our Spanish lessons were over, however, so it was time to move on. My Family found another place to park, outside of a coffee shop in the middle of Gringolandia. That’s right. I lost my front lawn AND had to deal with a puppy all at the same time.

The coffee shop was pretty cool, though. I had room to run around, and there were some super nice campers there as well. Henry and Kristina came all the way from Canada in a minivan, while another couple was here from Germany. Sweetl! Everyone was super nice, but that didn’t make up for the fact that this stupid puppy was now always around. In fact, people started saying hello to her before even noticing me! C’mon, I’m seriously the cute one, right? Just because Maya’s small doesn’t mean she’s cute. She doesn’t do anything! Even worse, there were a bunch of nights when Jason wasn’t snuggling with me in bed any more. The puppy is so whiny that Jason ended up sleeping on the couch with her. Seriously, I don’t know what My Family was thinking.

The gardens at the coffee shop were really fun to run around in. Plus? Maya can't get up stairs!

The gardens at the coffee shop were really fun to run around in. Plus? Maya can’t get up stairs!

Finally, it was time to leave San Pedro, and since we had spent an extra week there it was also time to leave Guatemala. Now the real shocker: Maya came with us. We missed out on the beach, AND I apparently now have a sibling to deal with. I really REALLY loved Guatemala, and My Family felt the same way. This ‘Maya’ situation, though, was about the most unwelcome surprise I could imagine.

Somebody please save me from my new life with the puppy...

Somebody please save me from my new life with the puppy…

PS: To see some photos My Family took click here.

16
Mar 2014
POSTED BY Neli
POSTED IN

Guatemala

DISCUSSION 2 Comments

La Vida de la Ciudad: Guatemala Pt. 2

After Victoria and Jason, Lorna and David are my favorite humans.  This is all of us hanging out on Lake Atitlan.

After Victoria and Jason, Lorna and David are my favorite humans. This is all of us hanging out on Lake Atitlan.

You might remember that our first couple of weeks in Guatemala ended with quite an adventure, and a night camped out on our new friend’s property. We woke up the next morning refreshed and ready to go, but we weren’t out of the woods quite yet! My Family still had to get us, the big truck and our camper out of the mountains, through Guatemala City and into the city of Antigua. It was going to be a long day, but my Grandparents were at the end of it! I love my grandparents (which are called abuelos, in spanish), almost as much as I love treats, so whatever we had to do to get to them I was happy to deal with.

We said goodbye to our friend Ariel and headed off for Guatemala City, the biggest city in the country. Ariel had mentioned to us the night before that there was a river up ahead we would have to cross, and that the bridge had been washed away in a storm two years ago. My Family had already crossed a bunch of rivers during the Big Adventure, so no one was too concerned. When we pulled up at the edge of this particular river, however, my ears perked up in a hurry. It was HUGE! The drive to get to this point had been anything but easy. We had driven on gravel and dirt, found a way around a washed out road, crossed mountains and almost set our brakes on fire. There was no way we could go all the way back. The only thing to do was to cross it. Luckily, this is a pretty normal thing in Guatemala.

Jason spoke to a nice lady standing by the river, who pointed out a man whose job it was to help you get across. He spends all day navigating cars across the river for 20 Quetzales (that’s Guatemalan money). Before I knew it we were descending a steep slope and splashing out into the river in our truck. The man told us to turn down the river, and suddenly we were driving right down it. I could tell Jason was pretty nervous, but Victoria was enjoying it enough to snap a bunch of photos. I didn’t like being in the middle of the water one bit, but the whole thing was over super quick. We drove up the far shore, thanked the man and were back on our way.

Looking back across the river we just drove through. Not cool, Guatemala, not cool at all.

Looking back across the river we just drove through. Not cool, Guatemala, not cool at all.

The rest of the drive into Guatemala City was pretty uneventful even though the roads were absolutely crazy. Thin dirt trails through the jungle, rocky roads passing by Mayan villages, and nothing but huge hills all the way there. I tried to snooze as much as I could, even though I was pretty excited about the visit. The first thing I noticed was the change in smells. To this point, Guatemala had smelled like farms, horses, chickens, other dogs, and a few people here and there. As we got closer to Guatemala City, I smelled something I hadn’t smelled in a very long time: smog. And there were people everywhere! Guatemala City is big, noisy, colorful and packed with people. It was a bit overwhelming for me, and I noticed that Jason wasn’t particularly happy with the fact that there didn’t seem to be anything resembling lanes on the big highways. We took it all in stride, and soon pulled into the parking lot of what seemed like an office building. What was this all about? Jason went inside, and soon came back with a big cardboard box. It was packed with Christmas presents from Victoria’s parents, and some of them were for me! Apparently, this was something My Family was supposed to receive way back in Mexico, but it had just reached us here. Delay or not, I was super happy to have some new bones and toys to chew on.

I discovered that picking up this box was the only reason we went to Guatemala City. From there, it was a straight trip into Antigua. My Family was pretty excited to see this town, and once we got there I could tell why. It was so beautiful! Surrounded by volcanoes and set in a big valley, Antigua is what is known as a colonial city. That means there were some really old people, a long time ago, who built the whole place, and it basically looks the same as when they were walking around. I’m not too sure how this whole time thing works, so you’re going to have to ask My Family if you want some more details.

I mentioned that there are volcanoes in Guatemala, right?  That sounds totally safe.

I mentioned that there are volcanoes in Guatemala, right? That sounds totally safe.

We bounced along the cobblestone streets and soon stopped in front of a hotel. Not only were we going to have visitors, but we were going to stay in a hotel! I had barely had a chance to jump all over the bed in our new, temporary home, when My Grandparents showed up! Okay, so they’re not my blood grandparents. Lorna and David Palmer are Victoria’s parents, but I think they love me as if I was their own, real, non-adopted granddoggy. And I love them the same way. From the moment I smelled them my tail started wagging, and I don’t think it stopped the entire eight days we spent together!

Before I tell you all about the fun we had, I should say that the hotel was pretty sweet too. Lorna and David treated us to a little over a week in the hotel which meant we didn’t sleep in the camper and we got to stay in the same place as them! The people who run the hotel were more than happy to have me there with My Family. The inside was so pretty with flowers to sniff and a nice breeze and… our room had two floors! That means I got to run up and down the stairs, jump on the couch, and generally stretch out in ways I never get to in the camper. It was super fun.

This is me lounging UPSTAIRS at the hotel.

This is me lounging UPSTAIRS at the hotel.

Even more fun was exploring Antigua with My Family. My grandparents love going for walks, and they LOVE taking me with them. I was more than happy to wander beside them, taking in all the sights and smells of this pretty city. All the streets are cobblestone, which isn’t particularly fun to walk on, but I got to go almost everywhere. There were huge buses, covered in paint, lights, horns and chrome, and people lean out of them yelling “Guate, Guate, Guate!!” all through the day. There were parades, fireworks, and music almost all the time. There were parks, churches, shops and restaurants to explore, and I think we checked them all out. I didn’t get to go out with My Family all the time, though. One night they went to a bar to see something called The Super Bowl. I was picturing my food bowls, but bigger than me, and filled to the brim with grilled chicken covered in melted cheese. I guess the Super Bowl wasn’t anything as cool as that, because My Family seemed kinda disappointed when they got home.

The next few days were pretty much a mix of one fun thing after the next. We walked all over the place, stopped for lunch at all sorts of restaurants and snuggled up at the hotel. I basically spent the whole time jumping from one lap to the next. I think my favorite is Lorna’s, but don’t tell David that!

A big church we saw on one of our many walks around the city.

A big church we saw on one of our many walks around the city.

Me and Lorna. She always smells really good, just one of the reasons I love her so much!

Me and Lorna. She always smells really good, just one of the reasons I love her so much!

A few days later My Family packed our things and we got into a car. It wasn’t the big truck though, it was a ‘rental’. I guess that means it’s not ours forever and David drives it instead of Jason. We were driving out to spend the night at a place called Lake Atitlan, but our day’s adventure was almost over before it started. We ended up stuck in a huge traffic jam, the biggest one I think I’ve ever seen. David asked some of the people hanging out at the side of the road (he really likes speaking Spanish), and found out the road was blocked by something called a ‘protest’. That’s what happens when people are angry about stuff. I protest all the time, but no one pays any attention. Anyway, we spent more than three whole hours stuck in the same place! People were walking up and down the street, selling food, playing music, throwing frisbees and basically looking for any way they could possibly pass the time. Eventually the protesters decided to go home, maybe to take a nap or something, and we finally got to keep going. We stopped for a yummy lunch, drove down a HUGE mountain, and made it to Lake Atitlan.

View from the bridge looking back to where we are parked (behind one of those giant trucks).

View from the bridge looking back to where we are parked (behind one of those giant trucks).

The lake is surrounded by three volcanoes and a bunch of little villages. The one we were heading for was called Panajachel. It felt a little bit like Venice, with its bars, street vendors and general craziness. We stayed at a Bed & Breakfast that was really pretty, with a huge garden and several other nice dogs to play with. Jason settled in to get some work done, while Victoria, Lorna, David and I went out for a nice, long walk.

Me and David, a little too close to the lake if you ask me but everyone else seemed to like it.

Me and David, a little too close to the lake if you ask me but everyone else seemed to like it.

After the walk things took a turn for the worse. My Family went out for dinner, and I got left behind. I don’t know what My Family was thinking, but they zipped me up in my travel bed. Now don’t get me wrong, I actually kind of like my travel bed. It’s soft and cozy, and just the right size for me. But something about this Bed & Breakfast just rubbed me the wrong way. There were strange smells, and the other dogs kept messing with our door. They weren’t as nice as I thought. I couldn’t help but make some noise, but apparently this wasn’t allowed. Before I knew it the owner of the Bed & Breakfast came into our room and took me out of there! She carried me into a thing called a yurt, and expected me to play nice with her dogs. Look, I may have made some noise, but I certainly DID NOT want to leave my cozy bed for some weird yurt thing. And I sure didn’t want to play with some strange dogs. I was more than a little relieved when Victoria and Jason came home and rescued me from this strange situation. They couldn’t believe that someone had come and taken me away, and it seems like they were pretty scared when they came home and I wasn’t there. When we snuggled up in bed I was more than a little bit relieved to be ending the night safe and sound with My Family!

This is Sammy, one of the THREE dogs that live at the B&B. Sometimes I wish I wasn't an only-dog.

This is Sammy, one of the THREE dogs that live at the B&B. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t an only-dog.

The next day we got up early, checked out of that strange place and went down to the dock. We were getting on a boat! Sure, I thought the lake was pretty, but only from far away. You better believe I didn’t want to get stuck out in the middle of it! That’s exactly what My Family wanted, though. We spent almost the whole day taking a boat from one place to another, with some breaks for walking around all the cute little towns. Each time we got out to walk around I thought I was safe from the water, only to find we were getting right back on the boat again! I loved all the time with my grandparents, but after a while I was feeling a bit woozy. Just when I thought I couldn’t take it any more we came back to Panajachel and ended our boat trip. My Family was so happy; they really loved it. I’ll never understand humans.

Volcanoes.  On a Lake.  Awesome.

Volcanoes. On a Lake. Awesome.

I really really don't like boats.

I really really don’t like boats.

The paths in San Marcos are full of holes that are the perfect size for my feet to fall in.  I hope we don't go back there.

The paths in San Marcos are full of holes that are the perfect size for my feet to fall in. I hope we don’t go back there.

We drove back to Antigua and spent a couple more days having fun with my grandparents. We walked up to the top of a big hill where we could look out over the whole city one day and drove up to a very pretty place called the Earth Lodge one another day. Finally, it was time for Lorna and David to go home. I surely didn’t want them to go, but I didn’t really have a vote. They gave me some final kisses, said goodbye to My Family and drove away. I spent the rest of the day waiting for them to get back but apparently, this was just a visit. I was kind of hoping they were going to stay with us on the rest of the Big Adventure, but yeah, like I said, I didn’t get a vote. We had so much fun, though! I hope more humans come visit us!

Looking down on Anitgua from on top of the hill.

Looking down on Anitgua from on top of the hill.

Earthlodge dogs. The dogs in Guatemala seem to have it pretty good, they look way happier than the dogs we met in Mexico.

Earthlodge dogs. The dogs in Guatemala seem to have it pretty good, they look way happier than the dogs we met in Mexico.

Although my grandparents had left, we weren’t leaving Antigua yet. We did check out of the hotel, though, and drive the big truck to a parking lot just a few blocks away. The police live there, and it seems they let some traveling families stay with them when they are visiting Guatemala. We set up camp in a nice sunny spot and took some time to settle back into camping life.

This cat hung out with us the entire time we camped at the police station, even though I chased her away several times a day.

This cat hung out with us the entire time we camped at the police station, even though I chased her away several times a day.

I didn’t lift a paw, but My Family took some time to clean the camper from top to bottom. We hadn’t been in it for a while, and it had needed a cleaning since the time we got all that rain. Jason wasn’t too thrilled about the process, but Victoria seemed to enjoy it. We spent about a week camping with the nice police (I found out later they were police people who were only there to help the tourists – what a cool job!), met a couple of other campers, and did a bunch more walking around Antigua. At one point we packed up the camper and took it into a garage to get our brakes looked at. Jason wanted to make sure everything was okay after our experience trying to get into Guatemala City. It took almost a whole day, but everything worked out great.

The truck waiting for a little love.

The truck waiting for a little love.

On our last day in Antigua, Victoria noticed an ambulance with New York City license plates parked on the street. She got super excited, thinking these must be other adventurers. And they were! The ambulance belonged to Team Last Responders, a group of super cool people who were driving to South America to donate the ambulance and some medical supplies to people who need them really badly. You should check out their story – it’s pretty neat.

When we packed up to leave Antigua, I couldn’t imagine where we could go that would top this. It’s a beautiful city with super nice people, and we had spent half of our time there with my grandparents! What could be better than that? My heart sunk a little when I heard where we were heading next: San Pedro La Laguna. That’s one of the small towns we visited on Lake Atitlan so that meant we were going back to the lake!. If they expect me to get back on a boat again…

PS: To see some of the photos My Family took click here!

26
Feb 2014
POSTED BY Neli
POSTED IN

Guatemala

DISCUSSION 5 Comments

Sick Days, Smoking Brakes and String Theory? Guatemala Pt.1

Alarm clocks are the worst human invention. Ever.

Alarm clocks are the worst human invention. Ever.

The morning started with a pretty familiar routine. The alarm went off, Jason and Victoria grumbled about it, and I curled up tighter to snuggle under the covers. But unlike most mornings, when I’d be allowed to snooze to my heart’s content, My Family quickly jumped up and started packing. That could only mean one thing: a border crossing day! We were ready to leave Belize behind and cross into our third new country on my Big Adventure.

The Trek Stop was only a few miles from the border of Belize and Guatemala, and we were there before I knew it. Leaving Belize was much easier than getting in. The Border Agent looked at me a little sideways, but My Family had all the paperwork in place and we were soon through the process. Once I heard all the humans speaking Spanish again, I knew we were in Guatemala. We stopped a couple of times in some cool little towns, so Jason could find the little stick that lets him use the internet, and so we could go shopping. In the afternoon I looked up from Victoria’s lap to find we had made it to a pretty little town on a big lake. El Remate is a great spot for travelers, apparently, as it’s close to one of those ruined things called Tikal. Our destination was a campsite called Gringo Perdido. Perdido means ‘lost’ in Spanish, which wasn’t that encouraging and when we first got there it felt like it. It was a big hotel, but totally empty. We found someone to show us the pretty campsite, where we settled in for our first night of sleep in Guatemala. We met an odd camper who seemed like he lived there full time, and a nice older couple from the United States who liked me a lot. Good people and a cozy place to stay! I was pretty happy, until I heard screaming in the trees. Victoria called them “howler monkeys”, and I did’t want anything to do with them. They didn’t sound very nice at all, and they smelled super weird.

Me listening to the Howler Monkeys. Don't Like.

Me listening to the Howler Monkeys. Don’t Like.

The Dock at Gringo Perdido.  Don't like this either.

The Dock at Gringo Perdido. Don’t like this either.

Luckily, we didn’t spend long at this place. The next morning we quickly packed up to hit the road. Victoria and Jason took a break to listen to the other campers chatting. Jason was laughing because one of them sounded like someone named Christopher Walken, while Victoria couldn’t believe she was hearing a debate about string theory at the side of a lake in Guatemala. I didn’t get any of this at all. What sort of theories would you need about string? You play with it, you wrap things in it… and that’s about it, right? Anyway, I was happy when we got back on the road, even with another long stop in the city for Jason to fix a problem with his internet stick.

We spent the morning on a beautiful drive through the country. Jason and Victoria stopped to take a bunch of pictures, but soon enough we reached a place called Finca Ixobel. This was a really pretty spot, a big hotel and campsite that was packed with a kids’ party when we arrived. Apparently all the rain that we had had in Belize also came down here and their campground was totally flooded out. My Family thought if we tried to camp there we’d get stuck so the nice people who ran the hotel allowed us to set up our home right in front of the restaurant on the pavement.

We ended up spending quite a long time here at Finca Ixobel. I’m not sure if My Family would agree, but I had a pretty good time. There were all sorts of nice people to meet, delicious food to taste and plenty of grass for running around. Of course, that grass was soaking wet most of the time, as it rained on and off for our whole stay! I don’t like the rain one bit. It usually doesn’t seem to bother My Family that much, but after another day or two of rain I could tell Jason wasn’t feeling very well at all. He just didn’t smell right. Sure enough, he was soon stuck in bed with something Victoria called ‘the flu’ and all of the snuggles and kisses I could muster up didn’t make him feel any better.

So here we were, in a parking lot outside of a beautiful hotel in Guatemala, and getting more miserable by the day. Jason felt terrible, and Victoria and I were stuck either inside the camper or in the hotel’s common area, staring at the rain. There was so much to do around here, and we weren’t getting to do any of it! There were some highlights, however. The nice couple from Gringo Perdido ended up showing up again, and I got to spend some time with them. My Family also met a nice girl from a place called Germany who makes bracelets for people. Victoria got her to make me a collar, the first time she’s ever done that for a dog!

After a couple of days of shivering and groaning, Jason finally started to feel a little better. The rain broke for a couple of hours, so My Family took the opportunity to pack up and hit the road. Some of the other travelers who were staying at the hotel had told us that the weather gets better as you drive south, so we were off to find some sun. I was more than happy with this plan. I mean, I couldn’t even remember the last time I got to run around on a beach or lay on the grass in the sun. Those were the two things My Family said I’d get to do all the time on the Big Adventure, so what gives, huh?

Guatemala is beautiful but also full of mountains.

Guatemala is beautiful but also full of mountains.

We got on the road, and the drive started out pretty cool. The sun was finally out, and everyone was in a good mood. We followed directions that Jason had found, and suddenly ended up on a dirt road that was super duper bumpy. It was like we were back in Belize! Jason and Victoria had thought this was going to be a short trip, but the road just kept going on and on, bouncing along super slow through tiny towns. It was neat to see for a while, but soon I started to feel a little woozy with all of the bouncing. I put my head down in Victoria’s lap and didn’t pick it up again until we finally got back on the pavement.

The smooth sailing wouldn’t last. We were headed to a place called Lanquin, and we thought we were taking a highway there. It was a big red line on the map, and even had a number. That fancy road ended up being the bumpiest, craziest drive yet, up into the mountains and through tiny towns filled with people wearing super colorful clothes. They all smiled and waved, yelling things like “Gringos!” or “Hello!” or “Goodbye!” to My Family as we passed. It wasn’t scary at all, but it sure was bouncy. Every time I started to feel a little sick I looked out at these colorful humans, carrying huge baskets on their heads or massive packs of wood on their backs and forget all about the bumpy roads. My Family said they’re called “Mayans”, and they speak a whole different language from anyone else. I realized what a lucky dog I was to see all of this. I mean, none of my friends from Venice had ever met a Mayan, and I got to meet a ton of them! Pretty cool.

None of the highways at home looked like this.  Sheesh.

None of the highways at home looked like this. Sheesh.

Soon the excitement started to wear off, as there didn’t seem to be any end to this mountain or the bumpy roads. What felt like forever later we finally got back to pavement. That’s when things got really weird. There was a car on its side in the middle of the street, and it was on fire! The heat as we drove by felt like it could have singed the whiskers right off my face. Then down and down and down the mountain we went, into a valley and the town of Lanquin. It seemed like everyone in the town was out that day, and we could barely drive through! I thought that maybe they were there to greet us, but we heard later that something bad had happened there, and the people of the town were pretty angry. Luckily we found a place called El Retiro, just outside of town, that was completely safe for me and My Family.

El Retiro is beautiful but also built on the side of a big hill.  My family took forever to get up  and down the stairs every day since they only have two legs,

El Retiro is beautiful but also built on the side of a big hill. My family took forever to get up and down the stairs every day since they only have two legs,

El Retiro was a huge place, set right next to a really pretty river. It’s called a hostel, which I guess is a hotel for people who have big adventures with only a backpack instead of a camper. And we met a lot of these adventurers! Everyone was so nice to me, and there were a couple of really cool dogs to hang out with too. And the food! Holy moly, the food! Every night there were gigantic feasts, and all the new friends staying there got to go up and get as much as they wanted. Because of this, me and the camp dogs always had delicious tastes. I think I got to try more chicken at El Retiro than I had ever had before in my life. My Family had planned on staying here for just a couple of nights, so they could check out a place called Semuc Champey, but we ended up staying for a whole week. Victoria actually got pretty sick too, so we did a lot of laying around. Luckily the weather was much better here. We had tons of sun, and there were great spots down by the river with hammocks to lay in. Every day new people arrived, and most of them really liked me. That meant a ton of attention, so even though My Family still wasn’t feeling well it was pretty cool there. We hung out at the restaurant listening to good music, laid in bed watching movies, and laughed with the other adventurers at all the cool travel stories everyone had collected.

This is Cho-cho. She lives at El Retiro but she slept outside our camper every night. We all really loved her and My Family even said if she didn't already have a good home she could have come to live with us.  What?!

This is Cho-cho. She lives at El Retiro but she slept outside our camper every night. We all really loved her and My Family even said if she didn’t already have a good home she could have come to live with us. What?!

Victoria and Jason had been talking for days about doing a tour at Semuc Champey, but they didn’t want to leave me alone all day. I was pretty happy with this decision. The camper hadn’t been plugged in for a long time, and nothing was working at full power. I couldn’t imagine being stuck inside all day with nothing but a weak fan to keep me company! Luckily this didn’t happen. We finally packed up our home, said goodbye to our new friends, and drove off.

This Semuc Champey place wasn’t far away, but the drive took FOREVER. As soon as we left the town of Lanquin to head up there, the road disintegrated into little more than a trail. There were huge boulders to crawl across, gravel and mud to navigate, and some of the biggest hills I’ve ever seen. At some points the road was so narrow that only our big truck could fit, with a steep drop on one side and a hill on the other. I curled up into the tightest ball possible and held on to Victoria while Jason drove. We made it to the parking lot outside of Semuc Champey an hour or two later. Mayan children sold chocolate to My Family, but even though it smelled delicious I didn’t get a single bite. I guess the plan was for us to check out this park in the morning, so we settled in for the night. There were nice Mayan guides there camping as well, so we had company as things got very dark and VERY quiet.

Late in the evening, just before bed, I heard beautiful music. I climbed over to the window and looked out at the campground to find a whole gathering of Mayan men. Three of them were playing a huge instrument, banging on it with sticks, while another walked around swinging a ball of smoke. Other people sat around talking, clapping, or stepping in to take over at the instrument when someone got tired. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. I have no idea what it was, but it was a pretty neat way to end the day.

The next morning I found out that I wasn’t going to get to see the Semuc Champey place at all! Apparently dogs aren’t allowed. What a stupid rule. I mean, what did they think I was going to do? If I happened to poo, Jason was going to pick it up anyway! There was no arguing it, so I spent forever stuck at home while My Family went adventuring. Apparently it was a really beautiful set of pools and waterfalls, but all I got to see was the parking lot. I guess you’ll have to check out My Family’s Facebook page if you’re curious about this stupid place with the no dogs rule.

We left soon after and headed for the city. My Family was very excited, because Victoria’s parents were going to be visiting us the next day! I hadn’t seen my Grandparents in quite a long time, and I love them lots so I was more interested in the drive than usual when we hit the road. But before I could cover them with kisses, we had to get back down that terrible road. It was even worse this way! Some people put a rope across the road and stopped us at one point asking for money to use the road (which we didn’t pay, by the way), and then we had to keep pulling to the side while other cars tried to squeeze by. I could smell the stress pouring off of Jason but we made it back to town with no problem, and headed off for Guatemala City and towards our next destination, called Antigua.

Things got strange in a hurry. Later I discovered that Jason had found the directions, which is something Victoria usually does. Apparently, he chose the ‘scenic route’. Scenic means pretty, and everything in Guatemala certainly is. But in Guatemala, scenic also means, bumpy, bouncy, hilly and SLOW. We spent hours and hours doing nothing but driving up and down mountains on really bad roads. Then something really weird happened. Halfway down another huge mountain, Jason suddenly pulled the car over and stopped driving. I knew something was wrong, because I could smell really stinky smoke. In case you don’t know, cars and trucks have things called ‘brakes’, which stop you from going too fast. It turned out that we had spent so much time driving our big truck down mountains that our brakes had given up! Jason was pretty shaken by the whole thing, and we sat there on the road in the middle of nowhere trying to figure out what to do.

Not having 'brakes' is not a good thing.

Not having ‘brakes’ is not a good thing.

While Victoria placed emergency signs around the truck, a man rode up on a motorcycle and asked us in English if we were okay. He was a Guatemalan, but had spent a lot of years in the United States and his English was WAY better than My Family’s Spanish. We explained what was going on, and he suggested that we had overheated the brakes. He thought we should let them rest for a while, and then said he’d come back to check on us. Well, we sat there and sat there, getting hotter and hotter while the sun sunk lower and lower in the sky. My Family started getting nervous. Problems with the truck were one thing, but how would we ever get to Guatemala City now? Apparently we were still really far away from our next stop.

The nice man came back to check on us, and the brakes were still not so great. He helped Jason drive down the hill, while I stood watching with Victoria. I didn’t particularly like watching the big truck drive away, but soon the nice man came back for us. You know what happened next? I got to ride on the motorcycle! It was so cool! Victoria held me while we scooted down the hill to find Jason and the truck. I had never felt so much breeze on my face! It was a little scary, but one of the neatest experiences of the Big Adventure so far. What came after was almost as cool. The nice man, whose name was Ariel, let us drive to his house and gave us a place to stay! It was starting to get dark at this point, and he said the road was pretty bad up ahead. He let us set up camp on his property and the whole town came out to watch, with their dogs and their chickens and their donkeys and their pigs, and played soccer while we sank into our camp chairs. It had been a pretty stressful day, but we were all in a great mood. My Family couldn’t believe how nice Ariel was, and his wife even cooked us dinner! My Family had heard all sorts of stories about how kind strangers could be, but they were still amazed that this perfect stranger could be so fantastic. I know that people are generally nice (and I can tell right away when they’re not) so I wasn’t that surprised, but when we snuggled under the covers that night we all felt particularly lucky. Our first couple of weeks in Guatemala had been filled with rains, flus and smoking brakes, and yet we were happier than ever. What a cool country!

Me, hanging out by the truck on Ariel's property.  Thanks again, Ariel and Marleen!

Me, hanging out by the truck on Ariel’s property. Thanks again, Ariel and Marleen!

PS: If you want to see the photos My Family took during our first two weeks here in Guatemala, they are on Facebook.

09
Feb 2014
POSTED BY Neli
POSTED IN

Guatemala

DISCUSSION 14 Comments