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July 28, 2007

Guatemala anyone?

So, there I was yesterday at my favorite traveler's book shop, Traveler's Bookcase, feeling adventurous and wanting a place to go for a week. The woman working there tells me I'd love Antigua in Guatemala. She says it's "special" and that it has the things I'm looking for. She says she thinks it is right up my alley.

OK, so I buy a Frommer's book on Guatemala, spend all night online checking things out, get up this morning, book my ticket, and I'm a goin'. I'm leaving at the end of August for 8 days. I hadn't even heard of this place 24 hours ago and now I'm booked to go there. Crazy sh*t!

Kathy is doing Guatemala, baby!

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August 3, 2007

It's all about balance...

I am free. I finished my five day photo shoot yesterday and it kicked my butt. I have bruises up and down my backside and legs. I sliced a finger to the bone cutting up ginger for the star photographer who wanted carrot, apple, and ginger juice every day. You remember the handsome photographer I mentioned before? It turns out his girlfriend is a freakin’ super model. Figures!

I got a call to assist Anthony's yoga class over at City Yoga this morning and I gladly took it. It was a total vacation for me after a long week of 10-12 hour days! It was almost shocking how easy it was for me to jump back in and I realized how much I have learned. I was on fire! Anthony, who I adore, told me after class that I am damn good at what I do. He always did support me and he told me I'd be a great teacher one day.

I am becoming one now...

I am creating great balance in my life. Slowly but surely, it is finding me.
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More on my upcoming trip to Antigua Guatemala below!


Continue reading "It's all about balance..." »

August 10, 2007

Antigua Guatemala

As some of you know I will be heading out to Antigua Guatemala in about two weeks time. I am very eager to get there as the more I read about it, the more enchanted I become. I am also in desperate need of some quality me time and I plan on doing some yoga, writing, and truly contemplating my life as I know it. I feel big changes coming on. There is this new me growing inside that is starting to make some movement...

Here is a video I came across on YouTube that I thought I'd share with you. Antigua is calling my name. I can't explain it, but I know I am meant to go there. I am a woman who always tries to honor her instincts.

I already have my first couple of nights booked at Hotel Casa Cristina for a fabulous $27 a night and I have a deluxe room that looks out over La Merced church with views of the volcano. Happy Me!

Enjoy the video. The music alone is worth it.

August 12, 2007

The simple way to Guatemala

I am not over planning nor over thinking my trip to Guatemala. I bought myself these two books and that's it. The rest I'll figure out when I get there.

Frommer's Guatemala- Fabulous book with clear information that hits the spot. Nothing too heady or fussy. It's my kind of guide book.

Lonely Planet's Latin American Spanish - The only phrase book I need. It has the basics, is really wonderfully easy to read, is small enough to carry around and it has some of the most hilarious phrases in the romance section you can imagine. It's informative and damn funny!

I am taking the most important thing of all with me, of course. It keeps the fire lit and the good stuff flowing.
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August 21, 2007

Some favorite things I'm taking to Guatemala

I am leaving in less than a week for Guatemala so I thought I'd share a few favorite things I'm bringing with me. I am a woman who is both stylish and practical. I happen to love my special treat things as well. They make the trip a little sweeter.


1. Lesportsac Big Weekender Bag - I got it on sale for a song! It is made of the most divinely lightweight material, is incredibly durable and long lasting (I've owned these suckers for years) and can roll up in a ball to come with me in my suitcase so I can load it up with travel purchases like textiles from Guatemala. It is also the only bag I need for a weekend trip.
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2. Be Present Agility Pants -
I just finally broke down and bought a pair of these at my yoga studio. They are made of a wonderful lightweight breathable material, are incredibly long lasting, and are utterly fabulous for doing yoga. They are hip looking enough to wear around on a casual day and are incredibly flattering on. They have these great slits up the back leg to just below the knee. I like bringing something I can wear for yoga but that I can hang out in as well. Every serious yogi chick I know owns them.
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3.Birkenstock Kairo Sandals -
I swore I'd never wear Birkenstocks but these babies are foreplay for the feet! The makeup and wardrobe women on the last photo shoot I did wore these every day. Smart chicks know fashionable can mean comfortable too.
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4. Seven For All Mankind Jeans - Because they truly are the only jeans I wear. I like my jeans classic like my men.
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5.Seda France travel candles- I take candles with me wherever I go as they soothe and relax me. I'm a fan of these in gardenia.
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6. Kiehl's Musk Oil - I like a scent on occasion and I refuse to haul around a bottle of perfume. I love my oils and I love this one in particular as it is so sexy and earthy. It also travels well.
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August 23, 2007

Kathy's links for Antigua Guatemala

As promised, these are the sites that have made it possible for me to plan my trip and have been utterly invaluable to me as well.

Next stop Guatemala!

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Links can be read by clicking anything highlighted in red below...


Continue reading "Kathy's links for Antigua Guatemala" »

August 25, 2007

On the road to a foreign land

I'm off to Guatemala today! I'll be blogging when I can and I do plan to write about my time there.

I am tired and excited. More than anything I am hungry for a new adventure. I can almost taste those handmade tortilla's from here...


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August 28, 2007

I am here!

I arrived in Antigua yesterday and am settling in nicely. I am just back from a little Italian restaurant where I had pizza, red wine and aqua mineral. I LOVE my little hotel, Casa Cristina, and may stay there the entire trip. My room is on the top floor and has the most breath taking views of the volcanoes. Yesterday I napped to the sound of a monster thunder and lightning storm that came through and it was nothing less than heavenly to hear the sound of mother nature expressing herself whilst I slept. I am happy here... truly.

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My room with a view


I have been to some of the local markets and bought two wonderful native blankets for my bed. I have already learned to barter and got them down from 600 quetazles to 300 which means for these two glorious blankets in the most brilliant colors I paid about $39. Happy little me. This is what the owner of my hotel said she paid for hers. I am already becoming a local!

I begin my day by walking two doors down to Fernando's Kaffee where I get the best caffe latte. I have met some very cool people here and I love that I have no set plans and just wake up to see where the day will take me. So far, so good. I am at peace here. My senses are awakened and I am adjusting to a land that speaks a language I have yet to learn. I will...

More to come!

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August 29, 2007

A day in Antigua

I am settling in nicely here. I took Elizabeth Bell's cultural walking tour today and it was the best $20 I've spent in a while. Seriously, I am a non tour chick and this was captivating. She takes you behind the walls and into the culture. She doesn't just talk the talk, this woman walks the walk. I know more about jade than I could ever have imagined as we went to the jade museum and I now know that there is one special spot here in Guatemala that is famous for the most brilliant jade in the world. Well, some of it anyway. Oh, and this site was discovered by an American woman. I get a kick out of that.


Continue reading "A day in Antigua" »

September 1, 2007

More from Antigua

I have been busy being social and remiss in not posting on my blog. Sorry!

I have met a lovely woman in my hotel, Paula, who was in from NYC teaching a yoga teacher training out on the lake (check her out at Reflections Yoga Retreats). She's become a confidant and great partner in crime here in Antigua and we are off again tonight to go to an art opening and then have dinner. I see good chat and fine wine in my future!

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Continue reading "More from Antigua " »

September 3, 2007

Leaving Antigua

You know that longing you can get when you leave a place that has captured your mind, body and soul as you realize you are about to leave it behind? That is me today. I am sad to leave this magical place and yet I take comfort in knowing I will be back soon. I am planning to come back in January now. Antigua has seduced me...

My shuttle comes to pick me up in about an hour and a half and Rosario, the proprietress of Casa Cristina, has let me stay in my room until 3.00 pm when I am picked up for the airport. Check out is 11.30 am. They have been incredibly good to me here.
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I have so many images to share and a wee bit of video as well. I am overwhelmed with thoughts and feelings as I finish my packing and say goodbye to my lovely room here. I have an entire bag filled with treats for friends and linens for my home. I hope I get away with taking it all on the plane!

So, one last post from Antigua and then I will come alive with words and pictures that I will share once I am home and settled in with my girl cats. Funny, I don't miss my things at all. I only miss my baths, my tea and my cats. I realize I can be a wonderfully simple person when I get past the layers of pretty shiny things. I am a whole person, you see. I have become fuller and more authentic, have peeled away some layers and gone deeper because I have been here.

I bid you goodbye from Antigua then. With a quiet mind and heart wide open I bid her goodbye as well...

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September 4, 2007

Introducing Senor Rooster

It's not the best quality as I took it on my wee digital camera, but I love it all the same.

As promised I give you Senor Rooster from Antigua Guatemala...


September 6, 2007

Special women I met along the way...

I've been quiet since I returned from Guatemala as I have wanted to digest all of the emotions and images that resonate within me after such a special and profound trip. There are those that need immediate attention and have to purge their every thought and feeling even before their suitcases are unpacked. I am not one of them. I have enjoyed going quiet and ruminating these last few days.

My trip is mine and mine alone.

I share bits and pieces of my inner life when I moved to do so. I savor everything in my world like a fine wine, a good man or the deepest darkest chocolate on earth. It takes time to peel away the layers and go deeper...
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Continue reading "Special women I met along the way..." »

October 11, 2007

More thoughts on Antigua

I have never been so moved by a place that even before I leave I am planning my return. My time in Antigua had that effect on me.

A friend recently asked me what I found so special about Antigua, what the draw was. I think for me it was the sensation I got being there. I felt grounded. There was something about being surrounded by volcanoes that was very centering and somehow deeply rooting. I am also drawn to the pace, the slowness of things. There is a sense of taking things in a sort of slow motion in Antigua.

There is more, of course. The food, the kindness of the people, the architecture and the light all had a profound effect on me. I plan on returning in January and am looking into spending a chunk of time there. It is something I would really love to do. And I'll be studying Spanish! Learning a new language is always a beautiful thing. My short time in this country has inspired me to do so.

One can find peace in a place as simple as a room in a small hotel with the sunlight shining in through the windows after a rain storm.

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I did.


January 17, 2008

Back to Guatemala she goes!

Yes, this little tutu is on a plane come Sunday night making her way back to the land of the Mayans for some time by the lake and more time in that special little city where the volcanoes rise up above you and root you so beautifully to the earth - Antigua.

I told my students a couple of Sundays ago that I realized I was feeling rather off center and a tad cranky and I knew when I got that way there was really only one remedy: TRAVEL

OK, travel and yoga. Both feed my soul...

So, I got online and booked myself a ticket back to the land of Jade and for eight glorious days I will be free, open and filled with a sense of adventure and desire. Happy little me.

This is both a pleasure and business trip as I am going to check out yoga retreat spaces on Lake Atitlan as my hope is to create retreats with friends and fellow teachers in the future. I'm a chick with a vision, don't you know?

I am the mistress of my own destiny.

I'll be blogging it out on the road as my new MacBook is coming with me so stay tuned and fasten your seat belts:

There will be tales to tell...

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January 21, 2008

A welcome back

After a four hour flight out of Los Angeles I arrived at about 6.30 am in Guatemala City. I then shared a cab with a woman from Australia who was on her way out to the lake to do a yoga retreat. She informed me after we got into the cab that she was sick and that she thinks she might have MALARIA as she was just in Mozambique and was bitten by mosquitos and has been sick ever since. Lucky me! What can you do, you know? You just roll with it...

I got into Antigua by 8.00 and as my room was not ready I dropped my luggage and hauled booty to Rainbow Cafe where I just had a big fat traditional Guatemalan breakfast and am digging on the free wi-fi. There's a cold spell here so I basked in the sun every time I hit an area bathed in sunlight as I made my way down the so very familiar streets of Antigua. I'm like a big cat luxuriating in the heat wherever I can find it. One learns to savor the simple pleasures...

When we drove into town I felt like I was arriving home. I was greeted by Rosario, the owner of my hotel Casa Cristina, with a warm hug and a giant smile. Welcome back, she said. I feel welcomed back indeed.

Next I'm off to the bank to get my Quetzales and then back to the hotel to crash for a while. I have places to go and people to see...

January 22, 2008

The man from Holland, fried Manchego and the light

This is my second trip to Antigua and second stay at Casa Cristina. Last trip I met my now dear friend Paula who was also staying in my hotel. This trip I've already made a new friend Aziz, a camera man from Holland, who is staying next to me and studying Spanish here. He's handsome and fun and we have a lot in common. We went out last night and had a late tea and a snack. We walked the nearly empty streets laughing wildly and telling each other stories about our travels. He's a lot of fun. Tonight we're off to dinner and drinks and some quality silly time. I love meeting fellow travelers on my journey's. Good people out there if you allow yourself to let them in.

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Special thanks to my girl Leslie for making me this fabulous pic!


Continue reading "The man from Holland, fried Manchego and the light" »

January 24, 2008

Off to Lake Atitlan!

I've had the most wonderful time here in Antigua the last couple of days. My new friend Aziz and I had a grand time out for dinner feasting on traditonal Guatemalan food and then walked down to Meson Panza Verde for after dinner drinks by the fire. The owner of Sangre, the Tapas and wine place I love so much, was having drinks there as well and as soon as he saw me commented on the fact I had been at his place the night before. It's amazing how you run into the same people here all the time and how they fast become friends. I was still hungry after drinks so Asis and stopped in Gaia, the fabulous Middle Eastern restaurant here, where I savored some grape leaves, cucumber salad and fresh mint tea. Heaven...

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Continue reading "Off to Lake Atitlan!" »

January 26, 2008

Hola from Lake Atitlan

I have not been able to get Wi-Fi with my laptop here in this little remote town on the lake called San Marcos. Carlos, the owner of Blind Lemons which is this little restaurant, bar and internet cafe here, was kind enough to let me just plug my laptop in tonight. Truth is, I didn't miss being online. It's nice to "unplug" and tune out for a while. We all need to do that every now and then. Quieting the mind is a beautiful thing. I need more of that in my life. Seriously...

I've been here for three days and I have a room on the lake with a view. It's more like a house as it's so damn big and has a yard that leads down to the water. Breakfast is included and last night I took a sauna (part of my room fee) and it was incredible (all for $25!). This area is famous for the saunas and they look like Igloos and are lit with this delicious smelling wood and a pot of water with these womderful smelling leaves are placed inside and then you are shut in. You just sweat like mad. I was in a bikini and Olivia, the woman I've befriended at Posada Schumann, where I am staying, was in her undies. We kept jumping out and cooling off as the staff laughed at us half naked and dripping sweat. We both went through two large bottles of water and one small one each in an hour! It was just such a magical and cleansing experience...

I've taken a tone of photos and I have so much to share. I took boat/shuttle into Santa Cruz today, an even smaller town, to visit Wendy, the owner of Villa Sumaya, where I hope to hold yoga/relaxation retreats within the year. Villa Sumaya is nothing less than utterly beautiful and it is the perfect spot for what I want to do. You relax as soon as you walk up the hill and arrive on the terrace. You can't help but let go once you're there. The energy is amazing.

I'm taking a boat back to the main town of Panajechel tomorrow to then catch a shuttle back to Antigua. I've gotten the rhythm of how people travel here and I'm even kind of digging the water shuttles. This from the chick who gets boat sick!

More to come. So much more to come....

I bid you goodnight from San Marcos.

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January 28, 2008

On the last day she went slow

I'm heading back to LA tomorrow at the crack of dawn. I have a shuttle picking me up at 5.00 am to make an 8.30 flight.

I don't do early mornings.

I've just come from visiting my massage friend Deet at her house and will be having dinner this evening with other friends who are staying in my hotel. I've just had the biggest menu del dia, or menu of the day, at a little joint called "Cafe El Gringo" where I was sent by a local friend for a true feast for all of 25 Quetzales or about $2.50. I had chicken and rice with potatoes and carrots, homemade tortillas, some freshly baked banana bread and a drink that tastes like hibiscus and cranberry juice. It was out of this world good. You can really eat like a Queen here for a song, let me tell you...

I got soaking wet on the boat back from San Marcos La laguna to panajechel and had to change out of my soaking wet clothes when I got to the dock. The boats are fairly primitive and rustic to say the least. Even with the plastic tarp they gave us, both gringos and indigenous people alike, we still got whomped by the high winds and waves on the lake. Again, I just rolled with it. You can't sweat the small stuff. I can handle a wet butt every now and again. It reminds me how lucky I am to have tons of clothes to change into. The local people on the lake are very poor and seeing how they live puts things in perspective in a very big kind of way.

Off to some tea and some thoughtful contemplation. Well, perhaps some ice cream just to be wonderfully wicked as well.


The shuttle boat on Lake Atitlan

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January 30, 2008

A few favorite images of my time in Guatemala

I'll be posting more photos of this trip and writing more about my experiences there as well. There is so much to share!

This trip was truly a heart and mind opening experience. The moment I arrived in Antigua I came alive and felt so grounded. And Lake Atitlan really does draw you in, just as my friend Paula assured me it would. There really is magic there.

Mayan culture and mythology is utterly fascinating to me...

I give you a wee taste of Kathy's view of Guatemala.


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Continue reading "A few favorite images of my time in Guatemala" »

March 31, 2008

Oh Mama, I wanna go to Pana!

That's Panajachel, Guatemala, my sweet little chickadees. And this little tutu is a goin'!

I'm heading back to the land of the Mayans next week, my third trip in eight months, to see my people in Antigua and then head out to Ati (the local slang for Lake Atitlan) to see some people and places. I have a dream. That's about all you need to know for now...

Ah, Panajachel. Some call it Gringotenango (place of the foreigners) as there are so many former hippies and expats from around the world living there. It's the main town on Lake Atitlan and it is where all the boats depart from to head out to the smaller towns on the lake like San Marcos la Laguna, the town I settled into back in January. Pana has some good energy to it. I'm going to sink my teeth in and see what flavors it brings me.

It's hot there right now so I'm looking forward to some light and heat and acting like a big fat cat lazing about in the sun, taking my daily naps and eating and drinking whenever I see fit. I also just found out that a lovely man who I met when I was there in January will be back on the lake when I'm there. Someone to play with! Happy little me...

I'll be staying at my usual haunt in Antigua, Casa Cristina, and my beautiful friend Rosario, who owns the joint with her husband, sent me the loveliest e-mail today welcoming my return and telling me I am more than a guest to them. She even gave me the Queen's discount! And she referred to room number 12, that sweet little slice of heaven on the top floor overlooking the rooftops and the room I always stay in as "your room." LOVE HER!


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Continue reading "Oh Mama, I wanna go to Pana!" »

April 4, 2008

I'll be here next week

I've already made some really fabulous social plans for when I get down to Antigua and out onto the lake. I'm looking forward to really uncovering the secret pleasures that Panajachel can bring me and plan on spending some more time on Lake Atitlan in the little town of Santa Cruz la Laguna. Lucky little me.

Here are a few pics of the area for you to feast on. You might just find that you'd like to get down there and take a little bite yourself.

I know I did...

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The shores of Panajachel

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The boats that you take to get around the lake

Continue reading "I'll be here next week" »

April 8, 2008

Off to Guatemala!

I'm heading back to Guatemala tonight on one of those crazy late night flights. I'm just about to finish packing (I am packing as light as possible this time around) and then off to a quick pedi as I always like to travel with happy shiny toes. It's a chick thing...

I'm flying with Taca Airlines, so this will be a new flying experience for me. Here's hoping it's a grand one!

This time tomorrow I'll be sitting at Fernando's Cafe in Antigua drinking a latte and catching up with Fernando. It's the simple pleasures, you know?


My Macbook is coming with me so more from the road!

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April 10, 2008

Returning to the familiar, hot showers and friends

I arrived in Antigua at about 9.00 yesterday morning after an overnight flight from LA. I immediately set off to Fernando's Kaffee for a latte and some breakfast. I had a quick catch up with Fernando and was greeted with a friendly wave by one of his waitresses as my shuttle pulled up when I arrived. It's always nice to be welcomed back.

After breakfast I walked down toward the big market and bought myself a cell phone. It is frickin' crazy what the US charges us for our cellphones and usage fees. I bought a Motorolla cellphone and it came with 175 minutes on it for $30! And they have really user friendly deals here where there are double and triple days so when you buy your minutes to download they give you double or triple what you pay for! My country kind of sucks at times. We're so advanced and yet so ass backward as well.

I came back, took a nap, and then I was off to my friend Deet's house for a blissful massage. She informed me that there was an art opening at Meson Panza Verde across the street and told me I was coming. How could I refuse? So, we headed over for wine and art and great conversation. After meeting and greeting we walked over to the Traveller's Menu for some dinner. After that it was ice cream cones and a walk in the park where we grabbed a bench, sat down, and talked about life and love and everything in between. What a perfectly wonderful night!

The only snafu that I have hit is that my favorite little hotel, Casa Cristina, has disappointed me with their hot water situation. I did NOT get a hot shower yesterday and I tried twice to get one. I had this problem on my first stay here and Rosario turned up the hot water temp so we all got hot showers. She said people weren't complaining but I saw that they had in some reviews. They just didn't complain to HER. Now it appears the temp has been lowered again and in the middle of the day she turns the hot water off to save money. I am not happy about this. I cannot stay in a place where there is not sufficient hot water. What to do?

If I don't get hot water today I will have to find another place to stay. This saddens me, but as I ask for very little when I stay in a hotel, having really good hot water for a shower is a bare minimum requirement! The screaming kids visiting yesterday didn't help either. My nap was cut short by what sounded like a circus taking place outside my door. This happened on my last visit as well. I think I'll take today to investigate other hotels in the area. Perhaps the hotel fairies are telling me it is time to open myself to something new?

Off to check things out and enjoy Antigua. More to come!

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Continue reading "Returning to the familiar, hot showers and friends" »

April 11, 2008

Life's a bitch

When you have to settle on going to a place like this for the weekend. I am very unhappy that I have to drag my butt out to the lake today to partake in good food, wine and play. Sad little me. I demand reparations for this travesty upon my being.

*heavy fascitious sigh*

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Santa Cruz la Laguna. I'll be here again this weekend. Hasta luego, baby!

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April 14, 2008

Pana, a man in Santa Cruz and the sweet life

Just a quick check in after just coming back to Antigua from three days on the lake and a return to my laptop!

I feel like I lived a whole life in three days. I spent time with a man, made dinner for new friends and even looked at a few houses for sale! What can I say: I'm a chick with a vision.

So much to share but I'm sitting with a latte and trying to digest everything that I've experienced in these last few days. My mind is full...

I stayed with my friend Glenn at the house he's renting in Santa Cruz. It was lovely to be with him and even though he dragged my butt out of bed to hike up this ridiculously high hill before I'd even had MY TEA (I have the sunburn on my back to prove I was ill prepared for this feat and you know I swore under my breath the whole way up), I enjoyed spending time with a native man who, although he is from a totally different culture, has a lot in common with me. Sometimes it's spooky!

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Glenn on a hike in Santa Cruz

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My feet at Glenn's place


Continue reading "Pana, a man in Santa Cruz and the sweet life" »

April 16, 2008

Self portrait/Perspective

I'm back in LA and feeling out of sorts. I am realizing I crave a simpler life and getting out into LA traffic today really pissed me off! I have a wall full of expensive handbags and in Guatemala I am happiest using my $5 handmade native cloth bag that slings across my body and is a little slip of a thing. Funny how you gain perspective when you step out of your box and allow yourself to slowly adapt to another culture. It also makes you appreciate more fully the things you have back in your daily world and how many of them are not really all that important after all...

When you are a real traveler you take on bits of where you've been. You become a fuller person rich with colors and tastes and smells and experiences from other lands.

I am full tonight.

I have so many photos to share but to me this one best captures how I feel. I am a work in progress. I am slowly trying to strip away the sharp and twisty bits and go deeper into the grit, the meat of things. In this moment, in this room in Guatemala, I was filled with wonder, peace, anticipation and a sense of abandon.

~Some moments are just so terribly delicious.~

I am utterly imperfect. And honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way...


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April 22, 2008

Teachick's Guatemala Trip Tips

Here are some useful tips for those considering a trip down to Guatemala. This after three trips there in eight months and I'm going back for an extended period of time this summer!

With the euro out of control and the dollar so miserably weak, I say take advantage of exploring other parts of this world of ours where you can actually still get really great values and you leave feeling that you haven't been gauged or had to sacrifice to travel. Make your money bring you pleasure, not pain!

I hope some of you find these helpful:

- Airlines with good ticket prices to Guatemala City: Delta, Taca, Spirit, United. I've spent between $250 and $373 for non-stop roundtrip flights from L.A. If you happen to live in Florida Spirit has ridiculously cheap specials all the time from Fort Lauderdale to Guatemala City for as little as $19 plus taxes each way. I met a really cool gay couple from Florida on this last trip who go back and forth for this reason! And really, with those prices, how can you NOT go?

- When you get to Guatemala city airport walk outside and look for men holding signs that say Antigua shuttle (or the name of the place that you're going to). You should pay no more than $10 for a shuttle to Antigua or $20 for a private taxi.

- You can pay for your shuttle with American dollars. I always bring about 100 Quetzales (equals about $13 or so) just in case.

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Continue reading "Teachick's Guatemala Trip Tips" »

April 27, 2008

A special place in Santa Cruz la Laguna

I've been to Santa Cruz la Laguna on Lake Atitlan twice now during my travels to Guatemala and there really is something so sweet and quiet about the place. You can only reach it by boat and there are only a few small hotels there. I have friends there now so I believe I'll always have a place to stay. Sometimes the friends you meet along the way just stick with you, you know?

There's this special little place I've grown fond of called Hotel Isla Verde to the left of the docks about a quarter mile down the coast. You feel as if you're walking up into the heavens and with each plateau you find these delicious little nooks and spaces like hanging canoes to swing in and a wonderful open stage that is utterly perfect for an outdoor yoga class. Yes, this is a place I'd like to hold retreats! The eco-conscious and totally simple cabin style rooms sort of hang over the hillside and as they are fairly open spaces even the bathrooms open you to the great outdoors. It's enticing, really. The simplicity and beauty of it all is rather intoxicating.

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Continue reading "A special place in Santa Cruz la Laguna" »

May 5, 2008

A little luxury, you say?

I know I write a lot about budget travel and how I am the Queen of the deal. ~Indeed I am.~

Well, I am also a lover of luxury and the occasional splurge and fully believe in living life with a sense of balance. I've been known to adore a swank hotel room and am happy to sink my happy little self into a deep delicious tub whilst sipping wine out of a crystal glass.

But of course.

So with that thought, I give you a few of my favorite splurge places in Antigua, Guatemala. I plan on staying in a couple of these oh so swank places myself and will happily let you know how those baths work out. Me, a tub and a sexy little bottle of red? Perfect...

Do I spend money on myself from time to time? Mai oui! Yes, I most certainly do! I don't believe in waiting around for anyone else to bring me the finer things or hand me a nice little dish of romance.

I romance myself whenever I can, thank you.

A smart man will know this and simply want to add to my joy (and how I do love a good man) and if he's really smart he'll surprise me with a little luxury from time to time. ~I do believe I'm worth it.~

And to all of my utterly Divine Goddess readers I say this:

My dear sweet and wonderfully spicy little chili peppers, you're worth it too!


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I give you my luxury hotel choices for Antigua below


Continue reading "A little luxury, you say?" »

July 11, 2008

Guatemala's calling!

I am heading back to Guatemala for 17 days next month. I've just booked my ticket, have asked my friend Deet to book me into a room where she lives in Antigua, and may very well have most of my meals included in my rate or be able to cook for myself. I'm going to live like a local this time around. Oh yes.

Now to start looking for a Spanish school/tutor so I can study Spanish on the weekdays and then head out to the lake on the weekends to see friends and play. Damn it feels good to have done this. I've been a bit wackadoo as of late due to the wanderlust not being sated and today I am breathing more freely. I know in one month I will be back in the place that lights me up from within and settles me down to my bones. Fabulous...

Airfares have gone crazy high and those non-stops flights I've always taken that were so cheap - this will be my fourth trip to Guatemala in one year - have now more than doubled to nothing less than $675 and ain't no way I'm blowing that kind of money when with some serious airfare tracking for weeks and a whole lot of patience I found myself a ticket for $319 roundtrip with a stop in Mexico City. Sweet!

In a little over a week I'm off to San Francisco for another yoga teacher training and some time with friends. I'll be blogging about it so more on that later.

I love my life...

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August 11, 2008

Guatemala tomorrow

I'm heading back to Guatemala in the wee hours tomorrow morning. I'm actually taking a 6.35 a.m. flight which means I'm booking a taxi for 4.00 a.m.! Thankfully I'll sleep the 3 hours to Mexico City and then only have a brief layover there and then another hour to Guatemala City. I'll be in Antigua by 4.00 p.m. or so and am getting a massage with my friend Deet and then having dinner where I'm staying. A walk through town, some people watching in the town square park and then a nice nightcap will complete things. Sweet.

This trip I'm trying a few different places to stay. I'll be primarily based out of El Rosario in Antigua which is where my friend Deet rents her studio and where people coming for Spanish study often stay. It's directly across the street from my favorite swank hotel Meson Panza Verde which is nice as I like their little bar with a fireplace. A nice place to settle in for an evening glass of something and my journal.

El Rosario will be $20 a night. For that $20 I'm getting a nice private room with private bath, a fireplace and 1-2 meals a day prepared by the woman who runs it. Can't really beat that. And my friend Deet does a lot of their bookings. It will be nice to stay in another part of town. It's wonderfully quiet down there and very green.

My friend Paula Tursi is doing her annual yoga teacher training out on the lake so I'll head out to see her and catch up. I met her exactly one year ago on my first trip to Antigua. We were instant friends. It will be nice to reconnect and savor some quality girly time!

I'll be studying Spanish for at least one week and perhaps more while in Antigua. Private instruction for a week for 3 hours a day should run about $80. That includes the book. Three hours is enough for me. I zone out after that. My attention span can be knat like at times. And who wants to spend all their time studying?

I have a friend to see in Guatemala City and will be busy seeing friends in Antigua and out on Lake Atitlan. And of course there are the friends I've yet to meet. My friend Paula laughs at me and tells me I know everyone there. I guess I just meet people really easily. I always tell travelers to stay open as that's when the good stuff finds you. It works for me.

So what's it like to travel solo? Utterly fabulous...

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August 14, 2008

Settling back into Guatemala

I arrived in Antigua on Tuesday early evening after a hellish time of it going through customs in both Mexico AND Guatemala. I loved flying Air Mexicana, but having to stop in Mexico city and use my my ENTIRE 1 hour and 25 minute stopover to go through that mile long immigration line for no reason at all when I wasn't even walking out of the airport? Total crap and stressful beyond imagination! I made my connecting plane just before they closed the door. CRAP.

Air Mexicana: the airline that actually still gives you full meals, even on a one hour flight! And the food was, wait for it, GOOD! Who knew?

Continue reading "Settling back into Guatemala" »

August 16, 2008

A day out with my girls in Antigua

There are five of us women staying at Olga's (El Rosario) right now. We all eat together and we have all become fast friends. We shop together, play together, drink together and take care of each other. This has become my goddess trip!

Continue reading "A day out with my girls in Antigua" »

August 19, 2008

How did I end up with a cat in Guatemala?

So here's the story.

I'm out the other night with my friends Yael and Julia. We wanted to go out and spend their last night here in Antigua having some fun. We went to a movie, we had drinks, and we had dinner. Nice.

So then it happened. SHIT! We're coming home and we here a desperate cry from a cat coming from behind their studio. Julia says she's heard it since early that morning. It's late. It's cold. We stand there ooing at one another and then I say it: Okay, so we're doing this.

I say it in that way you say something when you know it could turn out poorly. You say it in that way that says you know you're opening a door you might not want to walk through. You have to understand I am a cat woman. I don't take these things lightly.

I go to fetch the flashlight out of my studio and when I come back Yael and Julia have found the cat, who it turns out is a kitten, trapped in a box that someone had clearly chucked there. Someone chucked a little cat in a box. If you only knew the wicked evil thoughts I'm having right now...

So there's this little bitty thing running around howling bloody murder late at night and we're trying to catch him. This is not a place where animals are often revered and kept safe. I am told this is not the first time someone has found a cat or dog who was chucked in a box. Wicked evil thoughts again here.

By now we've got the property night guard involved and he's trying to help. I finally sit in one place and quietly call to the kitten. He comes to me. He's freakin' adorable. Shit...

He's flirty, he's got personality, he's in great shape and he has more to say than anyone I know. I finally pick him up and take him into the girls studio. They agree to keep him or the night and are as attached to him as I am. Yael and I also agree that we will share the costs for shots as I will be the one who has to take care of him until we can find him a home.

I HAVE A KITTEN LIVING IN MY ROOM. THIS KITTEN.

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He is about 10-12 weeks old and he's one of the finest cats I have ever met. I utterly adore him. He slept in bed with me last night, curled up against me. Didn't move. He adores me too. Oh, and he has an appointment for his shots in less than an hour. Yeah, I'm like that. Once I commit I see it through.

Olga, the woman who manages where I am staying, has a young woman who works for her. This woman has a small boy of six. She has said she will take the kitty. I know that, I do. but just the same, I'm checking into what it takes to get a cat to America from here. I am told it is expensive and difficult. And I have two cats! And I'm allergic!

But...

Then I come back to find this little beast playing with the toy mouse I bought him. Yes, I bought him a mouse, and litter. I am trying to train him to use a litter box. Rather unheard of here as pretty much all cats are outdoor cats. There is only ONE brand of litter here, Tidy Cat, and it's ungodly expensive.

But...

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How did I end up with a cat in Guatemala? AM I CRAZY?

What to do...

August 20, 2008

Senor Gato

Just a quick update on the cat situation.

I took him for his shots yesterday and he is perfectly healthy. The vet told me it is not as hard as I thought to take him back with me if I choose to. It will cost about $140 for the certificate and that includes the vet having to go to the American Embassy in Guatemala City to get the papers stamped and get "permission." Then there is the $30 fee the Embassy charges. Then there is the cat carrier to buy, cat airline ticket to get, etc. The vet said it is all doable. Oy vey carumba...

The thing is he was never trained and pees on the bed. I am training him and he finally used his litter box this morning. I was the proud mama yelling to my friends to come and see. Totally insane, I know. You just have to understand that this little guy came to me and he hasn't left. I am considering taking him home and then maybe either keeping him or giving him to a friend. This way I would know he would get a good home and I would be able to see him. Here it is questionable, to say the least. The young woman who wanted to take him now says she's afraid he'll run away when she's at work. She is very poor and probably does not live in the best situation. So, one down.

Everyone is in love with Senor Gato. Olga, the manager of El Rosario, where I am staying, is cleaning the blanket he peed on and said it's no problem. The people who work on the grounds are coming to see him and offering me up the names of vets to help. Senor Gato is now famous. I am in possession of a famous cat.

Oh, and my Spanish lessons are going really well and I'm having a fabulous time. My days here are full and I am letting the good stuff find me.

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August 22, 2008

Views of Antigua

I am sitting at Academia Colonial, my Spanish school and second home in Antigua now, using the WiFi and drinking coffee. The air is warm and gentle on my skin and I can hear bits and pieces of Spanish and English doing that familiar dance around me. The sun is lazy in the sky trying to decide in this late afternoon if it is ready to move on toward the night. I can hear the rattle of pick up trucks outside through the open doors and the occasional louder rumble of the chicken busses.

I am content. Just utterly and deliciously content.

I thought I'd take a moment to share some images of Antigua with you before I head off to dinner and then champagne with a new friend in the evening. Today was lunch at my friend Nancy's on a big table with shared dreams of lives filled with travel and freedom. I love my life here. Truly.

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Continue reading "Views of Antigua" »

August 26, 2008

I said I was ready for a new man but....

I didn't plan on him being a cat!

Senor Woody is getting his passport and immigration papers today. The vet is sending a man into Guatemala City to do it all for me. That means a trip to the Department of Agriculture and another one to the American Embassy to ask permission for him to come with me! I am off to get his cat carrier and some sedative drops next. He's a talker, this little new man in my life, and ain't no way I'm putting him, myself and my fellow travelers through THAT kind of stress!

Come to Guatemala, drink Mojitos, flirt with handsome men, make fabulous new girlfriends, buy native crafts, eat great food, study some Spanish and... adopt a cat.

Yeah, it's like that...

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September 3, 2008

Rumbar: Best little bar in Antigua, Guatemala

I have discovered the perfect little spot for cocktails and cheer in Antigua. Do you remember the TV show CHEERS and how Norm would walk through the door and everyone yelled out his name in that welcoming kind of way? Yes, Rumbar is like that! Jean Paul Lagarde (an American chap from New Orleans) and his partners have created a sweet little spot where the drinks are always tasty and the Jumbalaya and Quesadillas are out of this world. Gabi, the chef, who also happens to hold gourmet cooking classes there, makes some of the yummiest treats you can imagine. And Jean Paul makes a mean custard with berries that is now one of my favorite desserts going. My vote?

GO

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Continue reading "Rumbar: Best little bar in Antigua, Guatemala" »

April 23, 2009

Back to Guatemala with man in tow

Simon and I will be heading down to Guatemala next week and look forward to ten days of adventure and play! When we met he was planning on going down to explore Guatemala on his own and loved my stories about my travels there. We decided that we really wanted to share the experience together. It is a journey we both know we are destined to take together. travelers.jpg Ah, we shall see where the days take us....

April 30, 2009

A quick note from Guatemala

We landed in guatemala City on Tuesday and were greeted by masked employees wearing gloves. This swine flu thing is being taken very seriously . That said, coming into Antigua not one person was in a mask and life is full and vibrant here as usual. I was feeling under the weather after we arrived but two hot toddies of 12 year old Guatemalan rum, lime and sugar did the trick! Simon is loving it here as much as I do which is a good thing. We are enjoying our room at Casa Cristina and our days are full of wonder and play. I'll write more as I go along. Must go have a latte at Fernando's Kaffe and start my day....

May 3, 2009

Hola from Santa Cruz la Laguna

Simon and I are happily settled into Hotel Isla Verde in Santa Cruz and our casita hangs out over the cliffs and we have a perfect view of the lake. In a word? HEAVEN....

Okay, so there is no real hot water to speak of and the man staying above us never stops talking! We laugh in bed at night at his running commentary and wonder how his wife can deal with him. That all said, we sleep to the sounds of nature and the wildlife here and when it rains the sound simply lulls us to sleep. Our bathroom is open air and we take showers while looking out over the land and lake. It really is kind of magical.

I was sick with something for two days -methinks something crawled up inside me and freaking died! - but indulging in things like fresh papaya, banana and yogurt shakes will surely heal me right up. Yep.

So, off to drink said shake and swing in the canoe swing with the man. Life is, well, kind of fabulous....

April 14, 2010

En route to Guatemala

We're sitting in the Ft. Lauderdale airport waiting for our connecting flight to Guatemala City. We jumped in a cab and headed out for breakfast at a diner that was highly recommended by a fellow on our flight in from L.A. We found it was a fabulous way to break up a 4-plus hour layover! We'll be savoring our two weeks away and taking advantage of some good old fashioned sleep time as between the nightclub behind us that keeps us up and night the the utterly uncivilized French woman who moved in next door who awakens us at dawn we are tapped out. WE NEED TO SLEEP!

I am so looking forward to some quality down time and will post more after we settle in. I am always happy to return to Antigua to see friends and we will likely head out to the lake to relax, swim and see a friend there as well. This will be my 6th trip to this country in about 2 1/2 years so I clearly have a connection to the place. It is also wonderfully affordable which is key. We're staying at a place I love for about $17 a day per person including all home cooked meals. It's almost cheaper than just staying home!

More soon...