Journal

Estoy de goma

 
La Torilla All Stars festival

La Tortilla All Stars festival

Wherever you go you one of the first words you learn is how to say ‘I am hung over’ in the local parlance. In Spain – tengo resaca; Mexico – estoy crudo; Ecuador – estoy chuchaqui; and Guatemala – estoy de goma. Here, it literally means I am sticky, rubbery! Well today we are sticking to the sofa and the watching movies and eating pizza all day.

El Día de la Asunción

 

DSC00156 (Large)August 15 is the day commemorating the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, when many believe that Jesus’ mother at the end of her life physically rose to heaven. Jocotenango, small town just 20 minutes walk from Antigua, holds annually a fête to celebrate this religious festival and so we went along to see what it was all about.

And to be honest, it was just like Honley carnival from when I was growing up in Yorkshire.

Antigua Guatemala

 
Smokinnnnnn'

Smokinnnnnn'

We arrived in Antigua Guatemala on Friday night, having moved here for my freelance travel writing work, and spent the weekend wandering around in awe of this beautiful city.

Once the capital of Spanish Guatemala, it was ravaged so many times by earthquakes that after the 1773 biggie the colonial government ordered everyone to abandon Antigua and move to Guatemala City. It is our good fortune that many inhabitants ignored the decrees and began to rebuild the city into what was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

Holidaying along the Ruta del Sol

 
Yorkshire pack horse - with style

Yorkshire pack horse - with style

We left peaceful Finca Punta Ayampe yesterday and headed to Montañita, hedonistic surfer town, for some fun fun fun. Last night we had a big night out, hitting up cocktail row – a lane full of wooden stall after wooden stall, a line of about 20 on each side, serving up delicious fresh fruit strong liquor refreshment. It’s a place with a single high-end hotel but it’s great for backpackers’ hostels with hammocks on the beach, cheerful bars and tasty cheap seafood. I ate five plates of king prawns in less than two days.

Unapologetically real

 
Undeveloped charm

Undeveloped charm

We also had spent a day sipping fresh fruit cocktails and eating seafood on the beach in Puerto Lopez. This working beach-town has definitely not been spoilt by tourism. The only travellers here are backpackers, happy to stay in very basic hostels, ignore the rubbish on the streets and eat at plastic tables, knowing that as soon as a swanky resort hotel is built all the authenticity will disappear. And you can’t get it back.

Poor man’s Galápagos

 
The ultimate in footwear

The ultimate in footwear

Having decided it costs far too much money to get to the Gálapagos Islands and do a tour ($1000), it was well worth the $55 for the boat trip to Isla de la Plata to see humpback whales, blue and red footed boobies, red-billed frigatas and turtles .

El Presidente

 
Oh Rafa, you're making me blush!

Oh Rafa, you're making me blush!

We were watching a news report last week about allegations that President Rafael Correa’s administration has not been as open and squeaky as it should have. After trying to distance him self from his corrupt brother, video evidence of a FARC leader claiming to have donated money to Correa’s 2006 election fund has been shown on Colombian TV.