Saturday, November 8, 2008

Wonderful Guatemala!

I just completed my first slope flight of this trip and also my first-ever flight in Guatemala; more on that later. Today is Wednesday, November 5, and I’m not sure when we’ll find the proper internet connection to publish this post.
We bought a paper from a boy on the street this morning to find out that Obama won. Guatemala sure is happy about that, as are we and the rest of the world. I’m already wondering what dirty schemes of the born-again neo-cons will be cooking up to topple the Obama administration four years from now...
We got the car fixed, that was a treat. Marcos from Hogar Infantil took us to a mechanic he knew. When we got there, the car kept starting just fine, of course, but the mechanic listened to it while I was starting it a few times. Then he said “I know what’s wrong,” went in his shop and produced two copper brackets. After three hours and 500 Pesos (~$40) the car was fixed. The mechanic showed me the worn brackets he had replaced; it’s a wonder the car started at all, and now it’s purring good as new again.
We headed to San Cristobal de las Casas that day, a high-altitude town popular with European tourists. Most striking to me was the complete lack of overhead wires and cables in the down-town area; outside of down-town, they were everywhere, just like in the rest of Mexico.
We were ready to get to Guatemala, so the next day we drove to the Mexico/Guatemala border at La Mesilla, We had no problem turning in our car permit, but the immigration officials abused their power to scam us with our knowledge. I’ll report on that at a different time; right now, I’m enjoying Guatemala too much.
Guatemala is a beautiful country, no wonder so many travelers like it. The drive here to Lake Atitlán was absolutely spectacular, and the roads are very good, even though the topes (“tumulos” in Guatemala) are even more severe than the Mexican ones.
We’re camped here at the Visión Azul Hotel’s RV Park right at the shore of the Lake; it and three big volcanoes dominate the view out the camper door. An onshore breeze came up this afternoon, and I launched my CR Aircraft Climmax Pro. The small shallow bowl provided enough lift for some close-in flying, while its western edge allowed me to climb high and catch thermals. With altitude to burn, I dove into the bowl for some close-in aerobatics, much to the delight of two native “Kaqchikal” children who were watching.
Children: which volcanos are south of Lake Atitlán, and which ones are south of Antigua? Which one is the highest? And just what might “Camote” be?


Anonymous said...

Hey guys
So into Guatemala, with a brighter future for all I trust.... and so as you move deeper into the tropics I have a tasty challenge for you...
while in Oaxaca I found the Asian fruit that is widely know as loquat, and some of my buddies tell me they know it as mespiro, or mispilo which seems to be a common name in some parts of Mexico... its 1/2-1" yellow fruit, grows on small to medium size trees with large leathery evergreen leaves... the tree grows and fruits in San Francisco CA, but here its too cold to fruit... just curious if it is common in Guatemale, and what it is called there as it seems to be an early colonial import and maybe a common name ..... in contrast to the indigenous wild turkeys which have many dialectic names....

And good to see you got to WOW the local kids with some slopes..... looks like a tight landing, but least had a launch ramp with no borregos....
And sounds like you guys may be starting a paper airplane movement down thru Central America.... be interesting to see what creative new designs may develop... good slopes ahead for all

Marcela and Dieter, ShredAir said...

Jim, in Guatemala the fruit is called nispero, according to our friend Fernando Escobar, with whom we're staying at the moment in Guatemala City. Unfortunately, this is not the right time for this fruit.
We've decided to head to Tikal; probably only make it to Rio Dulce tomorrow. This will add another 1000+ km to the 8000 we drove so far. But we're here now, might as well go.