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#252891 - 10/14/07 02:47 PM TRAVELOGUE GUATEMALA
Marty Offline
from Ray Auxillou

TRAVELOGUE GUATEMALA

We traveled all night from Santa Elena - Flores in the Peten to Guatemala City. In a Pullman coach. It was Linear Dorada which goes through Belize to Chetumal. Santa Elena -Flores in the Peten has grown three times. Silvia reminds me it is over four years since we last passed this way, not one year. They built a big bus terminal, lots of buses going all over the place. There were two other Pullmen Coach companies. Fuentes del Norte had the most buses. Regular greyhound types every 2 hours to Guatemala City, but only 3 Pullmen coaches each day. ADN is another one that runs but these two only inside Guatemala. Next time I would catch a Pullman in San Ignacio, think you can phone their Belize city agent to reserve.
It was 6 a.m. in the City when we arrived, so got a taxi for $5 usa to the chicken bus for Antigua and caught that. Fare was $8 Bz. About an hour and a half trip. Except our bus broke the frame that holds the rear axle and spring and we went into a wild skid down the highway. It was a one way, but the driver managed to burn rubber and turned the front wheels into the skid and we sort of went on a tangent to the edge of the ravine. Stopped about 10 inches from the edge. Had to cram into another bus. They pass every six minutes.
Anybody who thinks Guatemala is cheaper than Belize, better revise their knowledge base. The prices are roughly even with Belize and in many cases about 20% more. Everybody from the Peten to Antigua is carrying cell phones, driving motorcycles, got the latest clothing fashions. I dont even dress that good. this country is booming. In the Peten at Flores-Santa Elena, the population is new in their 20 s and 30 s, come from the highlands and are Spanish, or Mestizo. Only saw two Maya the whole day we were waiting around for our bus to leave at 9. 30 p.m. I can well believe over next eight years, Guatemalan population expansion will consume the Chiquibul and Vaca Plateau area. Unless the new belize government surveys town and rancho lots up and down our frontier with the Peten. Clashes will be inevitable. Peten is no more jungle, but heavy truckloads of 18 wheeler traffic, lot of cattle going to the City and construction goods coming in. If Belize will double in 8 years, the Peten will double in 5 years, you watch it. Better to be pre emptive, or lose our interior. the USA already calls our interior an UNGOVERNED AREA. No towns, no police stations, no army posts, no roads, no public services. It is ripe for the taking. Antigua is a quaint town sort of. The location is in this bowl of a valley surrounded by mountains and three volcanoes. Big market area. We ate today a couple of meals with the locals in the market comidor center and the prices were the same, or slightly more than eating in Belmopan, or San Ignacio. We have bought a few things. Got a couple of masks that were well done, for copying whenever we get our clay artifact center at FALCONVIEW going. I hear Jane has an electric kiln.
Our hotel is $7 usa a night, bathroom on first floor. We on second floor. They do have rooms with bath. But we elected for the cheaper one. Big enough and two beds. We only want a place to crash and leave our goodies. We are directly across from the huge market area. They have an artisen market as well. 50 years since Ive been here. The colors and patterns are not much good anymore. A lady working a loom said her children dont want to do it, and the good patterns take too much time and dont get value when sold. No photo of Volcano looming over the town today, it had clouds around the top.

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#253052 - 10/16/07 03:18 AM Re: TRAVELOGUE GUATEMALA [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
We leave at noon for Panachejel on Lake Atitlan in a shuttle for $5 usa each. Can{t believe the price. Very quiet in Antigua, great place for painters, artists and writers to find a quiet atmosphere in pleasant surroundings. Colonial town with new streets in cobblestones. Very small blocks. We visited church, central plaza park and administration buildings, lots of hotels and small places all over. They don{t allow big signs up, just a small wall plaque and the walls are solid, block after block. Doors are heavy wooden, for revolutions. Inside are very nice homes and hotels with tiled floors and vegetation around the courtyard inside. We hope to have Falconview in Hillview like that in a few more years. Poco - poco! Lots of accomodation choices. Our kinda poor hotel had a room with no bath for $7 usa for the two of us. The Jungle Party Hostel were charging $7 usa each in a dorm room, four bunkbeds. They serve breakfast and have a bar. Laundry, lockboxes and such. Pretty good.

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Well we spent a night in Panachejal at Lake Atitlan. Had forgot how beautiful the scenery is. Going to spend a second night and maybe a third.
The high mountains are really neat, pine trees, lots of agriculture, in fields and greenhouse type. They have no fixed growing season, so they make house sized lots to control pests I guess? Plant different crops next to each other and of different ages in growing. Makes sense for Belize too!
Cool up here though. The Volcano in Antigua was nearly 13,'000 feet. I think we must have descended about 4000 feet or more to Lake Atitlan here from the Pan Am highway. Silvia sick today with Montezumas revenge. Lot of sleeping done and pepto bismo which works. Bought souvenirs. We got her a Mayan white blouse with embroidery around the neck, like they used to have in the Yucatan up Merida way. Thought if we could get EVE, Phylis, Jane, etc., to wear same we might change the twin towns into a folkloric destination. They cost about 50 Quetzal. Roughly $7 usa
Going to try to get to the highest point of the Pan American highway tomorrow. Itīs a two hour bus ride. The bus rides are killing me at my age though. Place call Nahuala. They make a lot of wood stuff and possibly the marimbas.
Hue Hue Tenango seems like too far away to be worth it. We shall start back in a day or two for Guatemala City, do some parts business I hope and then on home. Take a couple of days. We stay in a Hospedaje in Panachjel, Lake Atitlanacross from the local bus stop at the head of the tourist street sector. Down an alley. We stayed there five years ago. STill the same. New owners though. 5 rooms, bathroom down the hall, kinda patio. Price went up from $5 usa to $8 usa for the two of us. Three beds in our room, some hammocks on the small courtyard. Walking distance to everywhere and down the lake a half mile. Name is Hospedaje Buena Samaratino. The Good Samaratin. Next door Hospedaje, the SAN PEDRO gives you a television as well, newer and bit cleaner, but twice the price. We opted for the old game in town. Cheap skates. Rather spend the money on enjoying myself. We are low budget travelers.

Here on the Lake, they pay monthly for internet $100 belize dollars ( $50 usa) for DSL, the kind we are charged $300 Bz for in Belize by BTL.
Called Europe, costs 1 Quetzal a minute. or about 15 cents USA. Called Belize and cost $3.00 usa for 30 seconds recorded time. Belize they say is overcharging for telephone service for incoming international calls. We hung up. Internet cafe time is $2.50 Bz an hour.

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#253162 - 10/17/07 10:39 AM Re: TRAVELOGUE GUATEMALA [Re: Marty]
Danny2 Offline
Good read, thanks.

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#253172 - 10/17/07 03:14 PM Re: TRAVELOGUE GUATEMALA [Re: Danny2]
elbert Offline
and timely ,I'm headed that way Sat.
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