Monday, December 23, 2013

Swimming in the most beautiful lake in the world @ Lake Atitlan's San Marcos village

This past weekend we got to escape across the lake for an awesome outing!  It was the first time I'd had a chance to swim in this gorgeous lake we live on and it was all that I hoped!

To begin, it was a spectacular day and we were with a couple of Jason's fun co-workers, both named Emily.  Just the boat ride would have been good, but in addition we were headed to a village I had yet to explore and to a nature reserve with a 20-foot jumping/diving platform hanging over the lake.  For a while, we were the only group there and it was idyllic.  What an incredible rush -- stepping off the platform into nothing, then dropping into the green water, coming to the surface and being surrounded by volcanoes, bright blue sky and white clouds.

Jason did so many dives and back flips that I lost count.  Afterwards, we explored the village which like many of Atitlan's villages was very much a hippy destination for the young and old which reminds me of time spent in Santa Cruz, California and makes me happy.

From the dock we made a beeline for the reserva = Cerro Tzankujil

The trampolin is the platform --

I am still in such awe of this spectacular place we get to live.  The beauty almost hurts sometimes.

Jason held Luke while I had my turn - what a rush!

Can you find Jason?

After playing in the water, we headed for a little exploration of the village.  Signs like this one were everywhere ...

Friday, December 20, 2013

Coffee for 15 CENTS a pound!

Last weekend we had the opportunity to go across the lake and explore San Marcos la Laguna (more on that awesome excursion soon); during our exploration, we came across these bags on the road with men sitting nearby in the shade.

Our friend asked one man what they were and how much he was selling his coffee for.  The gringo price was 1.20 Quetzales per pound which is about 15¢.  Crazy!

There were several of these contraptions set up also ... for weighing the coffee.

And, here is the beautiful coffee!  Not yet dried or roasted.

I'll admit, it is difficult for me to understand how coffee can be purchased for 15¢ a pound, processed and then sold for $10 a pound...

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Baby vaccinations in Panajachel {with cats & dogs!!?!!?}

Ever since Luke passed his six month birthday, I have known I really needed to figure out when/where to get him his immunizations.  We started asking around and had a few false starts, meanwhile time was ticking by.  We finally got given some straight information about a free clinic that operates in Pana called Centro de Salud and were promised that Luke would be able to get his shots there.

On the day I decided to take him, I of course went to the wrong place first -- thinking that where I was going would be a place with the word "clinic" on the outside ... not true.  The Centro de Salud looks more like a school than a clinic due to the playground in the front yard.

Once inside, I got sent around to various people and kept repeating the Spanish sentences I'd memorized ahead of time to explain what I was doing.  While I waited I noticed this sign:

Which says something to the effect that you can bring your cats & dogs to this same place on Wednesday's for their vaccinations.  Ahhh, that made me laugh!  I am getting my baby vaccinated in the same place as cats and dogs :)  Love it!

After some time and also getting someone who was bilingual to assist, Luke was finally able to get his shot and this spiffy immunization record.  He was also weighed & measured which was fun -- just over 50th percentile for both ... although by Guatemalan standards he's HUGE :)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Jason's December Adventure: A 40-mile bike race around Lake Atitlan

Jason's fun activity this month was joining about 300 Guatemalans for a bike race around Lake Atitlan.  Of course, Jason had only ridden a bike ONCE in the past 2 1/2 years.  I love that he wasn't discouraged by that fact (or that he didn't even have a bike--he rented one at 6 the night before) and that in spite of this, he could actually finish 40 very hilly miles at over 5000 feet altitude in one day.

A map of the race course -- it involved two boat rides since roads don't actually circumnavigate the lake:

Here he is at about 5:30 on the morning of the race -- ready to go!

I didn't see him again until after 5 pm when all of the bikes toured down the main street of Pana.  The timing was amazing.  Our church service was just finishing and a friend noticed bikes coming down the street, so we went to watch and sure enough, there was Jason -- looking pretty weary, but happy :)

Images from the road ... ahhh the hills!

Some of the rest stops.

 Boating back across --

Lining up to parade through downtown Pana.

This man had traveled from Mexico to complete the race, he befriended Jason and kindly helped translate some of the instructions for him since everything was of course in Spanish :)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

What comes inside a Guatemalan chicken

I bought a whole chicken yesterday and was surprised to have these fall out of it as I prepped it for cooking!  Yummy??