The Amish Cook from Oasis Newsfeatures

Back home from Central America

Hello all!

Well, the Belle Center folks are back in Belle Center.  We returned last evening.  It was a nice trip but, as always, it's good to be home.

We spent most of our time in Guatemala.  It is a lovely country that is marred by poverty and its accompanying filth and crime.  But, still, a very lovely country.  Volcanoes, beautiful forests, lakes, mountains, waterfalls, Mayan ruins, and old Spanish colonial buildings.

We stayed in Antigua for several days.   It is a World Heritage City.  the Old City was built in the 1500's and hs remained unchanged, for the most part, since that time.  My hotel room was in an old Spanish palace.  it is called the De Posada de Don Rodrigo.  My room had a domed ceiling with a crystal chandelier.  Iron grills covered the windows.  The doors were the original doors and the key was huge and must have weighed half a pound.  Very beautiful place.  I enjoyed just sitting by the courtyard fountain and listening to the marimba band.

We, also, traveled by chicken bus and migra van to the village of Acul where we stayed at the nearby Hacienda de Milles Amores.  The chicken bus was an experience.  The drivers are, let us say, reckless to the point of madness.  Passing three or four other cars on narrow mountain roads while whirling around hairpin curves.  The chicken buses are retired American public school buses that have had the engines jerked and replaced with souped up power engines that make those buses MOVE!

I, almost totally lost it on the migras, however.  There are small fifteen passenger vans that reach out to the most remote villages.  On both of the migras that we took, we got on at the beginning of the route.  Thus we all had seats.  As the vans progressed they took on more and more people.  We were finally chugging along with 25 people inside of a 15 passenger van and 5 more clinging to the top.  I felt like I couldn't get my breath and that I was suffocating.  There were people just jammed in.  About five or so just hunched over us standing in the door well.  Four people to a bench seat that were designed for three.  More sitting on small stools placed in the aisle that leads back from the door to the rear benches.  It was an experience in itself and one I don't want to repeat.  I'm getting too old and stiff to sit in one position where I can't even flex my legs an inch.  The scenery was breathtaking but I couldn't appreciate it because I couldn't breathe in the first place.

We stayed in Pana Achel for several days.  It is a city on Lake Atitlan.  The city had been isolated for months because of a rock slide which blocked off the road.  The only way there was by boat across Lake Atitlan.  We stayed in a nice hotel.   The native Mayan Indians come down out of the mountain villages to sell handcrafted wares.  They just mob you.  I can understand.  They were desperate.  Tourism was down 95% because of the world economy; the blocked off road; the pollution of Lake Atitlan; and crime.  I have a hard time saying,"No."  Let us just say I have lots of souvenirs.   I, finally, just had to learn to say, "No molesto por favor!"  (Don't bother me, please.)   I mean, you couldn't eat your breakfast at an open air restaurant without people pushing items for sale in front of your face.  You get to recognize and have a relationship with some of the vendors on a personal basis and then it gets better.  Lake Atitlan is a lake in a volcanic crater.  Very beautiful.

Well, I could go on and on but I, unfortunately, have other things to attend to.  My last two days I picked up some kind of complaint.  Montezuma's Revenge, perhaps?  The commode has become my best friend as of late. 

Bye for now.



Re: Back home from Central America

Hi Gusluke:

I, too, am glad you had a good trip and made it home safely.  Your descriptions of the chicken bus and the migra van brought back memories.  I lived in Venezuela for two years (many years ago) but managed never to have to ride on either of those two conveyances.  I got a kick out of your experience in the open-air restaurants.  Back when I was in Caracas, the ploy was not so much to push an item in your face in hopes you'd buy it (although that did occasionally happen).  Instead, a group of guys would come stand next to your table to "serenade" you -- playing instruments they had obviously never learned to play, banging on drums, blowing horns, even beating pots and pans, all the while screeching and hollering at the top of their lungs like cats in heat.  It didn't take long before you'd be reaching into your wallet to get them to leave!  Worked every time, without fail!  I'd forgotten all about that. 

I'm curious about one thing.  How does your community handle the requirement for a passport photo?  Is an exception made in that case? 

Welcome home!

~ Janice


Re: Back home from Central America

I'm glad you are safely home.

Re: Back home from Central America

Hello Gusluke, welcome home! I was eagerly awaiting your return because I knew you'd fill us in on your trip. My husband's nephew visited Guatemala with a group from the Catholic church he belongs to, to deliver school supplies to the chidren there. He said it was beautiful country. Sounds like you had an interesting trip - I'll pass on the chicken bus and the migra van, thank you! I am mildly claustrophobic, so I know I couldn't have handled that! Glad to have you back; we've missed your comments! Feel well soon!

Re: Back home from Central America

Interesting account of your trip!! My sister went to Panama a few years ago and talked about those busses!! I think I will pass..too chicken for a chicken bus,I guess!LOL! Thank-you for sharing,and I hope you feel better soon!