Friday, August 5, 2011

Back in Guatemala

I have arrived, once again, to the lake. I am so excited about this trip as I have rented an apartment for an entire month! I have not stayed in Guatemala this long since the days I lived here in the 80's.
My new home

The mighty camper, camped on my doorstep

First day I got here, I found out that Ingrid and Joerg were here, remember the Germans traveling the world in four years in the awesome vehicle? I meet up with them, did some shopping of course. We found them 2 cortes, took them to one of my sewing guys and had 2 light weight blankets made for their camper. We all had dinner that night with a group of other friends of mine. Next morning, they were gone. Follow these amazing people on their trip at 

Driving up to Chichicastengo
Thursday is always Chichicastenango day. Hopped in the truck and went for a drive through the winding mountain roads to the most famous market village of Guatemala.  This is a giant market from arts and crafts, to food. I need about 6 full days of shopping here to make my shippment.

Main Street Closed to Enter the Market
Rows of Tipica
Weaving sticks, batens, backstrap; everythings one needs to weave

With shopping bags in hand, you start down the main street. Vendors are halking their wares in your face, walk straight, pretend they are not there. Even better, pretend you are not there. Head in any direction and note wonderful things to buy. Then the fun begins, the bargaining, an expected must.  This is my first day back, so touching base with my regular vendors, saying hello to all. I buy a small amount, can't resisit. My main goal is to find some new things, I find 2 new handbags I like and make orders. Some have really cool beading.
I ran into Reid Barnhart!  Yes, the jacket lady of Warrenton. She is visiting Guatemala with a few friends on tour. Too bad, I didn't get a photo and we were not able to meet up the next day.

Jose is running for Mayor, again. This man was one of the first people I ever bought from. He made all sorts of handbags and wallets. He bought 2 of my Doberman puppies and is a very good friend. He has had so much fun being Mayor, says he likes the travel the most.

Back to Pana.  Long days work is done.

Friday, April 29, 2011

My Garden in San Miguel

Newly planted tomatoes from Texas

It is Spring up here in these mountains, time to plant the vegetable garden. 
 The growing season is too short to grow tomatoes from seed, many people think you can only grow grape or cherry tomatoes. Not so, I have grown big boys and beefsteaks for the past few years. The big secret is to bring plants from Texas! I put them in a paper sack, throw them in the car, lay a sweater over the bag. So far, I have never had customs look at them. My guess is they would not like that, Mexico has some strict agriculture rules just like the states. They never leave my house, so I guess I am not contaminating any produce. Take a look at my babies this year. These are the best plants I have gotten so far. The seeds go in next, cucumbers, squash, assorted greens, green beans, and anything else I can find in my seed box.

The Cactus are in Bloom!

These guys are strange plants, many blooming for a single day, or morning. 

First, we have the my latest Pataya flower, third one of this season. It is a giant, 7 inches by 4 inches. Blooms early in the morning, lasting a few hours. The cold climate of San Miguel rarely gives us fruit, when it does the fruit is not so good. Too bad, I have to wait for my summer trip to Guatemala for the deep fuchsia, treat to the palette, fruit. July and early August, one can enjoy the fruit from Santiago.

The barrel cactus, caught in the early morning light. These lasted almost the full day.

Let me show you the rest of the garden...

My Aztec Lily

This year they are blooming like never before!

When in San Miguel visit the Guatemalan Textile Showroom.
Garden Door Entrance

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Driving to San Miguel

With all the Hoo-haa about crossing the border into Mexico these days, everyone is very concerned about travel to Mexico, is it safe? I can tell you, San Miguel is still very safe. There has been no real change for many years, no matter what you may have heard. I was so surprised during Spring Break that our government told the public to not come to Mexico at all, anywhere in Mexico.  Now, that is just nuts, how can all of Mexico be unsafe? Anyone wishing to visit their favorite spots in Mexico can certainly fly in just as they have done in the past. Mexico is a large country with extreme variance from state to state, just as we have in the United States. 
I drove back from Warrenton yesterday, no troubles at all. Those of you who know me, already know I have had troubles driving in the border area. Certain roads are higher risk than others. My favorite, beautiful drive is off limits for the time being. That would be the Brownsville to Cuidad Victoria route, for me that means not passing by one of my favorite beaches, South Padre Island. I believe the safest route is from Laredo at this particular time. If one stops overnight in Laredo, crosses at bridge #2, not Columbia, early, but not too early in the morning (8am), the roads are with traffic and easy to follow. Wow, that info is opposite of the normal way which us seasoned travelers normally do. Right through the major bridge? Yep, the reason is to be around many other people and not to pass when there is very little traffic. At 8am, I found the border not too crowded to whip through quickly, later in the day I hear it is a nightmare. The immigration checkpoint on down the way into the interior of Mexico was amazingly organized, looked much like the actual border. From there, I followed tolls roads when available. The only checkpoints I encountered were placed at toll booths, where one feels safe because you are around all sorts of people. Yeah, Mexican government, stop us only where we feel safe. I was stopped only once, after exiting the San Luis Potosi toll booth, "Que pasa?" said the Police official, as if something was dreadfully wrong. Seems he needed to know why on earth I was driving alone. Equally baffled that I lived in San Miguel alone, he asked me three different times who I lived with in Mexico.  Who even asks strangers these kinds of questions, well officials always ask me this. Followed by how many children do you have and so forth. I prefer it to, "Please open the back of the truck". Me and my digital piano and tomato plants walked through completely unnoticed. Now, off to plant a garden!
Share with me your favorite route crossing into Mexico, we all would like to know.
Make Memories - Come to Warrenton