Guatemala Travel Stories, Page 15

Meet New Friends for Happy Thoughts

I would like to teach you to travel like Peter Pan and Wendy; I would like to meet new friends.

"He taught her to fly. How?
You just think happy thoughts. They lift you into the air."
--- Peter Pan

Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala --- Monday, April 5, 2010
By Andy Graham of


The Search for Happy Thoughts
I have noticed my ability to find happy thoughts has dwindled in the last few years of travel, like Peter Pan, I am trying to find my happy thought that allowed me to fly. When I first left the USA, I met many people from foreign countries.
- Netherlands, German, British, Australians.

Gee, if an Australian cannot give you a happy thought, then nobody can…

Meet New Friends

I would like to find friends I know will be around today, tomorrow and forever.

I can meet new friends, let me think.

I do a test; I say the person’s name.

Do I think a happy thought when I say Joe?
If not, this person does not help me find my happy thought, and I cannot fly, I am grounded.

If for example, when I receive an e-mail from "Joe," do I want to instantly reply?
If not, maybe this person is not giving me my happy thought.

I naturally weigh my friendships, I can never return --- to the same friends. Therefore the Bonnies, the Dales, the Don Carlos are important, because they will stay.

I think of Chris, I always want to return e-mails to my friend Chris.

I think of readers who comment, I am always excited to see comments from a few friends, I instantly open them, while others I am not so quick to open. Yes, I know the lesson; I need to give happy thoughts to receive happy thoughts.

"I like Pizza."

Meet new friends, and then ask yourself, do they give you happy thoughts, if so like Peter Pan and Wendy, you can fly.

I meet many people who require me to walk on eggshells to be around them. I think to myself, I will just get it over with fast, step on the eggshells so they can say goodbye, that is what they want I think, I may as well help them.

Meet New Friends for Happy Thoughts

Retire in Guatemala on Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, there is no need for Air Conditioning, and no need for Heating, the ideal climate on planet earth. I have visited Lake Atitlan Guatemala 5-7 times during my 12 years of continuous travel. Lake Atitlan is by far one of the best locations I know for retirement living on the planet. Generally, old people cannot handle the heat or cold, so Lake Atitlan is the perfect choice. At 1500 Meters above Sea Level, and located in the Tropics, this place has warm days and cool nights, as close to perfect climate I have found.

List of Cities on Lake Atitlan
Panajachel - Acceptable for Retirement
Santa Cruz
San Marcos
Santa Catarina
San Pablo
San Antonio
San Juan
San Pedro - Acceptable for Retirement
San Lucas Taliman
San Andres

Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala --- Sunday, April 4, 2010
By Andy Graham of


I will Never Retire
I have no desire to be tortured by the locals, tourist, expatriates or foreigners; therefore, I can only visit these "Retire-in" locations. To retire in Guatemala, to live in one location, is to park my brain in one group of old people sounds like torture to me. I plan on living in many locations for 2-3 months per trip, and never retiring in one location, because the people change.

Presently, I have been in Panajachel for three weeks, I rented a great room for 140 USD per month, Private Bath with Hot Water, High Speed Internet, Color Television with Cable in the Hotel Amigo, one of the best values for a room I have ever had, this is 120 per night room for five dollars per day.

--- Average age of Retire in Guatemala Expats in Pana is 60 Years Old ---

People are Important
There is a great bunch of 50-90 year old people in Panajachel, I know this group of retire in Guatemala foreigners are more sane than the Thailand bunch, a close tie for the Philippines bunch, but all in all there is a problem. They feel old at heart for me, I have no desire to settle down into a rut and fall over dead.

Note: The plateau from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Lake Victoria is all at about 1300-1500 meters above sea level and is a wonderful climate. I would also consider this one of the better climates of the planet.

San Pedro is 20-35 Years Old
I have had my fill of old people, I respect them, but have little use for older people, they make me feel old. I am planning on moving to San Pedro in the next seven days, and staying for a month, I need a breath of young air.

San Pedro or Panajachel?
Generally, all the other cities on the lake are choices to live on Desert Island and be a hermit; you truly must hate people to want to live in the others cities on the lake. I suppose Santiago and Solola are big enough, but a person would constantly be making trips to Pana to find foreigners for conversations in English. The local Guatemala people are sweet, and have about a tenth grade education, not the best for a developed world level discussion.

Freedom to Roam because Communication Improves
I can buy a Tigo Cell Phone Modem that I put in my USB slot of my computers for 400 Quetzals which includes the first month of internet. Linda a Canadian not-living-in-Pana tells me I can use to make phone calls with this Modem.

The cost is 325 Q per month no contract and I can use eight gigs of bandwidth, so it is not unlimited, but very high. If this is the truth, I will buy one in on Monday, the maybe with the Tigo Internet system, I would live anywhere in Guatemala, my internet access would be stable. Generally, I need stable internet access to be happy, after that, I do not care about the room so much, as long as the owner and residents are sane.

Seven Year Itch
I would estimate that 99 percent of all people who retire overseas give up on the location they choose, and then spend their whole time trying to sell the house they purchased for too much to the next stupid foreigner who wants to "Retire in" country. I am making a joke, the "Retire In" websites are expanding like rabbits, because Retire in Guatemala advertising pays good… hehehe. I do not want you to retire in any country, I recommend you rent for 2-3 months and move onto the next retire-in country.

Generally, if I was going to consult a person on how to retire in Guatemala, I would say, you re not choosing a location, you are choosing the people. If you like the foreigners who live there, ask your friends,
"Did you retire in Guatemala?
"How long?"

The majority are transients, and not really living in Guatemala, when you return to set up housekeeping your friends will be gone.

Retire in Guatemala on Lake Atitlan

Colored Carpet Runners

Photos and video of beautiful colored carpet runners are being used in celebrate Semaa Santa in Guatemala, Easter is being celebrated in Panajachel, Guatemala

Semana Santa the Holy Week. - Easter

Carpets are "Alfombras" in the Spanish language; see the video below for a better view of these temporary carpets decorations in the streets of Guatemala.

Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala --- Saturday, April 3, 2010
By Andy Graham of


Decorating the colored carpets in Guatemala for Easter Week, maybe this is version of Easter Flowers with a twist. Alfombras is the word to use if you truly want to research this tradition.

Generally, the Alfombras or Carpets are like "Carpet Runners," the path leading you to the door of a friend or the church. This is in Panajachel, Guatemala up the hill towards the market.

I am intrigued with the amount of work spent by the Guatemalan culture in preparation for Semana Santa the Holy Week. - Easter. I am fully aware I cannot work my way to heaven by good deeds; however, there must be some reward for creating things of beauty. Maybe it the satisfaction of knowing we are good, providing I do not allow people to observe, keeping the left hand out of view of the right hand.

Carpet Runners in Guatemala

The Catholic Church in Panajachel, Guatemala on Lake Atitlan. Guatemala is slowly being converted to Protestant versions of Christianity. There must be some goal of the Missionaries to convert Catholics to Protestants, as best I can figure out, everyone in Guatemala are already Christians, more than the USA, yet a steady stream of Missionaries enter Pana daily.

These carpet runners have many colors, truly interesting to view, if I am in Guatemala again on Easter, I am going to take great care to watch the streets and observe the locals creating these colored carpet runners.

Video Below

If you do not see a video above these words, it is because you are reading by email, click here and maybe you can find it: Videos
Video Above

I will not make any presumptions I know how they make these carpets, although I am feel sure that sawdust is the dominant material used in modern Guatemalan culture. Cultures change, adapt and utilize easier methods, although many people try to keep cultures in the dark ages.

Internet pages of interest: Carpets Semana Santa

Colored Carpet Runners

Are you Angry at God

"A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?"
- Albert Einstein

A God is a good thing; I sincerely think you should think about this, I hear a lot of underlying rage in the voices of the foreigners here in Pana as the Guatemalan people celebrate Easter. There is a cynicism, an anger, a low-level rage being felt by this Hobo.

If I put up a "Jesus", you may first feel anger, sort of contempt before consideration, tomorrow is Easter, try to enjoy the day. You may consider the Dali Lama a good man, I consider him a bad man because he causes division among men, he just will not put down the club.

The point it, I am just talking, and you are thinking, this has nothing to do with God, I am talking about you, me or the Dali Lama, keep God out of it.

Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala --- Saturday, April 3, 2010
By Andy Graham of


Are you angry with an "Ideal." a perfect God, or are you mad at the people talking about God?
How does one get mad at the idea of perfection?

Are you feeling guilty, and then you are angry with yourself?

Nobody is doing anything to you; you are doing it to yourself.

The Good Gods are blamed for what human do too much, sure the Pope is a man, but he is not God, stay the course folks, keep the focus. I could give a crap if you believe in God or do not, but I do want you to believe in Good, or maybe God.

Are you Angry at God

Trace Domain Name

When you buy on the internet, how do you know if the online internet company is honest or a crook? I have a problem that needs a solution, first I know I can trace domain names, I often use this page:

Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala --- Saturday, April 3, 2010
By Andy Graham of


I am the owner or person who registered the name ""
My name is Andy Graham, what I want to know is,
"How many domains do I own?"

I know how many I own…
I want an internet page that tells me.

The Problem
There are people who buy dozens if not hundreds of domain names. These people will spam the directory with Domain Name, not a different page, the same site with a different domain.

I am able to Trace Domain Names and find the name of the person. I then want to enter the name of the person into a form, clicks submit, and the page gives me a list of all the domains owned by this person or email address.

Clever People are my Enemy
If a person has multiple tricky and too clever domain names maybe we ban them.

How many domain names do I own?
How did you figure this out?

The world is overwhelming clever, a person needs to know how to Trace Domain Names for their own protection. When something feels tricky, clever or difficult, I leave, what is the point...?

Trace Domain Name

Elk Lake School Geography Class Dimock Pennsylvania

I had a questions and answers discussion with the seventh grade geography students from Elk Lake School, in Dimock, Pennsylvania. I found it interesting and fun to explain how I have traveled for over 12 years and visited 88 countries.

This was good fun, I would like to thank Mr. Mapes, Ms. Fisher and the seventh grade geography students.

I asked Ms. Fisher why I was talking with the Geography Class, she answered:
"To talk to a real world traveler with more cultural experience than we could imagine!"

Class Blog Page of Elk Lake School:
Geography Class

Map to the Elk Lake School, in Dimock Pennsylvania, you will need to zoom in our out to figure out the location in Pennsylvania.

View Larger Map

Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala --- Friday, April 2, 2010
By Andy Graham of


Video Below
If you do not see a video above these words, it is because you are reading by email, click here and maybe you can find it: Videos

Part One Geography Class

Part Two Geography Class

Part Three Geography Class

Part Four Geography Class

Video Above

They asked some good questions, the one about Malta made me think.

Andy Graham in Panajachel, Guatemala on Lake Atitlan with three Volcanoes.

If your School Class wants to talk with Andy Graham a world travelers please contact me at:
Contact Andy Graham -

Elk Lake School Geography Class Dimock Pennsylvania

Military vs Civilian Travel Gear

25 Percent of the travel gear I carry is "Something Military." The gear was originally designed and manufactured for use by soldiers. I go into Army Surplus stores 10 times more than I go into gear shops,

My Army Style Mess Kit --- Purchased in Ghent, Belgium at a flea market.

Is it French Army?
Is it British Army?
Is it Swiss, Belgium, I am not positive.

Is this a French or British Mess Kit?
Army Style Mess Kit - Yeomans Outdoor
Authentic French Armee Mess Kit, Fatigues Army Navy Surplus Gear
Army Surplus
French Mess Kit -
French Mess Kit Photo
Hi Gear Army Style Mess Kit Camping Equipment
Vietnam - Equipment and Uniform

My Assumption
Pots and Pans used for 2.5 Million soldiers are tested.
Pants made for 2.5 Million soldiers are tested.
Backpacks made for 2.5 Million solders are tested.

Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala --- Friday, April 2, 2010
By Andy Graham of


Goal of Designing Gear
Perfect gear is perfect gear; it is not important who designs it.

IF designed by the Military of the USA, British, Australian, Swiss, German, Japanese or any of 252 possible countries.


Civilian Companies:
IF Victorinox, Northface, Osprey, Kelty or the thousands of other companies design it.

Some Hobo in Guatemala chasing a Windmill Backpack Design.

Fashion or Trends Rules Gear Designs
Fashion rules the backpack, and gear industry, or 90 percent of travelers would be walking around with Army Surplus gear.

Collection of Good Ideas
JD an ex-Vietnam Veteran, a man from the USA who lives in Baguio, Philippines put his finger on the pulse, the goal, the focus when he wrote the comment,

"I'm sure that by the time you add your 12 years of civilian packing along with current military specs, you just may come up with an outstanding 'hybrid' that solves a lot of the problems you have identified."
- JD Marketing Automation of Backpacks

This is the goal, to collect all the good ideas in one location, with solutions to problems.

Formula is:
Military + Civilian + Experienced Travelers + All Good Ideas Submitted + Photos = The Best Possible Gear

This is the Backpack page where I am collecting all good ideas and photos:

I suppose if a person made the perfect backpack, they could sell it to the Military.

Military vs Civilian Travel Gear

I Want to Prove I am Not Perfect

I Want to Prove I am Not Perfect

Why do I write so much?

A reader by the name of Scott wrote a comment.
"I take it that your brain does not sleep. I'm always amazed how you keep posting content and it never ends. Your a machine that does not tire."

I sensed when he wrote this, he was angry at me.

I write about my life, and I know I cannot draw a perfect circle freehand.

Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala --- Wednesday, March 31, 2010
By Andy Graham of


Perfection could be Defined as:
Do not look at me, I am not perfect.
Look at me, I am not perfect and need your help.
Look at me, I am perfect.
Look at me if you wish, I am not ashamed, I know I am imperfect.
- Andy


Four life positions
The phase "I'm OK, You're OK" is one of four "life positions" that each of us may take. The four positions are:
2. I'm Not OK, You're OK
4. I'm Not OK, You're Not OK
1. I'm OK, You're Not OK
3. I'm OK, You're OK
- Book --- I'm OK, You're OK, by Thomas A Harris MD'm_OK,_You're_OK

Take Your Pick
I am willing to prove I am OK and not OK at the same time. I will allow you to make your choice; I know that even when I am not perfect, I am still OK.

I will prove I am not perfect; I am willing to expose my innermost thoughts.

Secrets are the Problem
When I write, I am required to think about myself, I try to tell you all my secret thoughts. In a way, I am trying to say, get it over with, if you do not like me for who I am, that is ok, if you like me for who I am that is ok.

Solitary Confinement
Prisoners put in solitary confinement often commit suicide. When people are forced to think about themselves with no release, they often find they hate themselves.

I am ok, when I am not ok, I am still ok, and the only important opinion to worry about is the man in the mirror. I never tire of writing or talking, I like to listen to myself, and I like the person in the mirror. I know you are just looking over my shoulder as I write the story of my life, that is ok with me…

I Want to Prove I am Not Perfect