Thoughts From The Road (Antigua > Panajachel)

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.”
– Bill Bryson

It’s March and the beginning or our 4th week on the road. I’ve fully recovered from the stomach flu I had since Flores and happy to be eating freely (and fully) again. There are moments when I miss the comfort of home, having a regular & routine pattern, cooking and eating well, exercising at the gym, relaxing in a hot tub. Speaking of hot, we’ve come to learn that agua caliente (Spanish for hot water) is a commodity in Latin America. Most hostels will advertise having agua caliente as a selling point and they will all nod positively when you ask if it is 24 hrs. But there hardly ever is real hot water the way we experience it in the developed world – what they mean by caliente is water that isn’t freezing cold. Don’t expect it to be warm though.

At times I also miss the luxury of nice soft bath towels (instead of the lightweight dry fast towel we carry). Wouldn’t it be great to have one to dry down with everyday, and another on the floor to step out from the shower. Simple things like that we usually take for granted…

I’ve burned off all the “Toronto fat” accumulated over the last couple years. Clothes are noticeably looser (at least an inch or two vanished from my waistline), even the wedding band slips off my finger easily now! I wouldn’t be surprised if I weigh in at 10lbs less. Really really want to hit the gym!

I can’t imagine what the experience is like for KF. With monthly dues to deal with, it must be a lot tougher. When we hiked Pacaya yesterday I found it pretty grueling. For someone with less strength and agility, it must have been even harsher but she made it without much break in between.

We’ve met many backpackers on the way but rarely come across Asians. In fact, I think we’ve been pretty much the only Asian looking faces everywhere we’ve been. KF and I are really looking forward to meeting people from China or Hong Kong – I think we are missing the interaction with our own people and sharing recent news from home. I find myself checking email often for comments left by friends and family on our blog. Craving to hear from friends to keep us going and to know they’re there!

All that having said, we are really enjoying it out here. The freedom of having no fixed plans, the excitement of exploring lands unknown, the novelty of seeing things for the first time, the gratification of mingling with the locals… Getting used to moving around a lot, having no real home, finding things in our backpacks, living off a tight budget, and of coure… agua caliente showers.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010
on the road to Lago Atitlan

Post note: We arrived in Panajachel on Lake Atitlan and found a Malay restaurant here! The owner Ling spoke canto and it felt like meeting someone from home. She’s been here for 20 years!

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3 Comments

  1. Hyun says:

    Hi Glenn,

    This is Hyun and I am safe and sound back in Massachusetts. With the current atmosphere in the US I wasn't sure if everything will go without a hitch but I was able to get back home on the originally scheduled flight. At the end it killed my plan for Belize for allowed me to see more of Guatemala so everything worked out okay. Thanks for everything and good luck with your trip.

    Enjoy the lake area! I stayed in San Pedro over the weekend and I wished I could have stayed longer! If you head back to Antigua there is a Korean restaurant. (Ask any local about Casa de Corea and they should be able to tell you where it is.) Of course Guatemala City itself has many Chinese restaurants and immigrants. Rock on and I envy you guys!

  2. Charlie says:

    Sounds like the conditions in Central America is less than ideal. Good news for you is that agua caliente FRIA is less common in South America.

    You will have a very hard time meeting Chinese backpackers, but there are no shortage of Chinese immigrants, in all countries. Enjoy Chifa!

  3. ace says:

    it's always good to know what is running through your minds! i still have so many days to catch up on!

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