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Evening trip up the Columbia River gorge - a beautiful reminder of how blessed we are to travel and then to come home to this place.
Another fantastic art collection at 'best in the US' PDX
A perfect itinerary booked using airmiles was soured a few months ago when the airline saw fit to change my initial flight, giving me a midnight departure and a 12 hour layover in Dallas. A little research found that signing up for an American Express card (1st year free of fee) and paying $50 at the door could buy me a relative resort day in their Centurion Lounge with chase lounges for napping, gourmet buffets, comfy seating and a chair massage.
It was a splurge but worth every dime, especially when my flight was delayed and the layover became 16 hours. Travel tip: sign up for real time text messages about flight status. When I received notice that our flight was cancelled due to foul weather in Dallas I had a 30 second jump on the rest of the crowd at the gate; being near the 1st in line for rerouting meant I was able to arrive in Guatemala the next morning after a brief (<3 hours of sleep!) stopover in Mexico City.
Benito Juarez Internat'l Airport in Mexico City at 2am
Waiting for the airport shuttle in the Holiday Inn lobby at 5:45am (booked online as I waited to board my flight with tips from Mexico City locals heading home)
I'm still waiting on a checked bag of gifts and household items but at least it's in the hands of a trusted driver now. Another travel trip: try to fly carryon only and even if you don't, carry on a change of clothes and needed medicine and toiletries.
I generally fly into Guatemala in the evening and was delighted to recognize Lake Atitlán and its ring of volcanos from the air.
The aforementioned trusted driver, Alfredo Garcia, met me at the airport and dropped me in Panajachel. I enjoyed the conversation and scenery along the way. I took this photo of a stingray bike (retro here, too, called 'Californianas' - for Mike since we both tore around on them as kids
and this photo of brick makers because it was fascinating to watch.
I caught the next lancha across the lake from Panajachel to San Pedro La Laguna.
That's Ti Wachooch to the right of the red roof on the left edge of the photo - 3 dark eyes and a tower.
After hello hugs with Mynor, Josefa, and family, my top priority - after an overnight flight the 1st night followed by a 3 hour hotel stay the 2nd night - was sleep. After a wonderful nap I enjoyed a friendly, delicious dinner at the Cooperativa School with a large extended family group of Mynor's cousins, followed by more delicious sleep.
Note to Mariah and Greg: Definitely qualified as a Meat Fiesta.
Next morning - Sunday October 25th - I rose with the sun to beautiful views and headed to the park and the market to fill my eyes with color and buy food for breakfast. There are markets for produce and meat every day in San Pedro but Sunday's is the largest.
I enjoyed bumping into people I know (like Beca Project student Maria Cecilia with her mom and uncharacteristically serious little brother)
and shopped until the 20 quetzales (about $2.60) I had in my pocket was gone. The result:
After breakfast Mynor and I headed out on his motorcycle to present an invitation to party on our rooftop to each of the Beca Project families.
The motorcycle is a huge blessing but we still had to walk much of the time through varied and interesting terrain.
Diego Edwin and family
Ana Maria and family
It took about 4 hours to visit 65 families (a new world record!) and we were rewarded with a lovely Josefa-created lunch for our accomplishment.
I spent the rest of the day settling into our little Ti Wachooch and enjoying the afternoon and evening scenery before heading to bed.
You can find the complete photo collection for this trip HERE.