Friday, January 31, 2014

Beautiful Antigua

Our week with Jason's parents in Antigua was lovely. Antigua is a beautiful city -- full of garden cafes, gorgeous courtyards, intriguing gates/doors ... and for New Years, LOTS of tourists and LOTS of fireworks :)

I had been nearly eight years since I last visited and was wonderful to see it again. Unlike Pana, there are sidewalks everywhere and the streets incredibly picturesque -- although in contrast, most the tiendas have iron bars protecting their inventory and workers :(

Antigua's arch is not to be missed, but it is also full of beautiful churches, ruins all over the place and gorgeous volcanoes surrounding the city.

No trip to Antigua is complete without a trip to Mono Loco for nachos "as big as your head!" Delicious!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

That's more like it!

This weekend we finally were able to drop our laptop off with someone who we hoped would be honest about fixing it. They were able to determine that it was only our screen that needed replacing. And {surprisingly??} they had one that was an exact fit in stock.  Although this seemed a bit shady, it was still great news! We had our working computer back in 24 hours (including our old/ broken screen) The only downside, a new screen in Guatemala costs over double what one would cost in the States. Not great, but what are you going to do?

With intact computer back, I'm hoping to get our pictures from our New Years in Antigua posted in the next couple days, but in the meantime, here are some pictures of Luke from his ninth month of life (sporting some of his new Christmas outfits).

These days Luke ...
- has five teeth with more on their way in
- can stand on his own (if he doesn't realize he's doing it)
- loves Guatemalans (who wouldn't love people who are constantly telling you how beautiful you are?)
- is learning to wave hello/goodbye, he's got the outstretched hand down, now just needs to learn the movement
- laughs a lot, often at us with an expression that seems to say 'you guys are so weird!'

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Jarvis & Marilyn experience Lake Atitlán

It's hard to believe it's been nearly a month since Jason's parents arrived here in Pana to spend the holidays with us. Although they were here nearly two weeks, it went so fast!  In some ways it feels almost as if they were never here while at the same time that they should be popping in for quick visit at any moment.

January is already on the downhill side which seems unbelievable.  This week, Jason and I are approaching the day he asked me to marry him (7 years ago!) which is a thrilling and humorous memory :)  A note to the ladies ... when your guy proposes, don't respond in disbelief, "you're doing this NOW!!?!??"

Our laptop is still not fixed. Sigh. We are fortunate to have been given an old, rather beat-up laptop to use. It's battery is dead so it's more like a desktop and when turned off, it takes a lot of tries to get it back on (which wouldn't be a problem except that we live in a country where the power is out almost daily), but it works for basic stuff and we are incredibly grateful.  It has allowed me to finally get around to the pictures from Jason's parents visit and reminisce about the fun we had together.

They spent about a week in Panajachel with us and then we all went to Antigua together for about a week and stayed in an AMAZING house that Marilyn had found & rented online. We had such a nice time together and I realized after they left just how much I'd been looking forward to their visit ... having no other visitors on the books for the next five months feels a little daunting.

They arrived on Christmas Eve morning with an entire suitcase + several bags stuffed full of hard-to-get food items, gifts from family and friends, mail and some basic necessities. It was so overwhelmingly wonderful! We had some great family time together: catching up, digging through the bounty and enjoying Luke.

We got started on their Lake Atitlán tour the day after Christmas, with a trip across the lake to Santa Cruz la Laguna and a hike to Tzununá.

While we were enjoying our hike, stopping at resorts along the way for food and beverages, these men were hauling large loads of wood and HUGE bags of coffee beans up and down the same steep trails.  I couldn't help but wonder, if the beans cost 15 cents a pound, how much could these guys be making to haul a bag of it around? A rather sobering thought.

I love these pictures of Jason's mom.  It was a very rough boat ride back and she struggles with motion sickness.  She opted to sit in the back of the boat with the captain and ended drenched by the waves breaking over the edge of the boat, but still choose to smile and have a great ride back.

On another day, we all climbed into the back of a pick-up truck with Jason's co-worker, Emily (& her family) and headed for the village of San Antonio where she showed us the ceramics "factory" and also the work/home of a traditional weaver.

This is what we all looked like -- snapping photos of these guys at work.  I'm sure they really enjoy being a tourist attraction! 

The view out their window wasn't too bad!

A very blurry picture of Luke, but it was so sweet - Maria had picked him up and was bouncing him on the cloth she had just weaved.  She spends her days kneeling on the floor in front of her loom, painstakingly weaving together what become beautiful scarves, table runners and other traditional cloth.  

We also headed back across the lake to the San Pedro to enjoy the best brunch on the lake at El Barrio and a wander through the village.  Jason's dad even got outfitted by a local shop owner in a traditional shirt :)

Before leaving Pana for Antigua, we headed up for a hike through the onion terraces near our house -- and got to see one of my favorite Guatemalan reptiles :)