Guatemala Travel Stories, Page 16

Marketing Automation of Backpacks

I am working on Backpacks here in Panajachel, Guatemala. What does that mean; I have been surfing around for the last hour trying to learn the correct terms that describes what I am doing.

I am inserting 12 years of world travel experience put into making backpacks. This means I must find best solutions to backpack problems. Then I am using my skills with computers, internet pages and marketing to vertical integrate the process whereby the design and quality represents my 12 years of experience.

Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala --- Tuesday, March 30, 2010
By Andy Graham of


What am I doing?

Marketing Automation seems close:
However, so does
Vertical Integration:

Steps 1-20 Marketing Automation

Assume this:
I am not going to stop traveling to manufacture, market and sell backpacks. Then I need to map out the steps, from 1 to 10, from A to Z.

There is a need for marketing automation, what does this mean, truly confusing, but I think this is the business term that applies to what I am doing.

I am listing out problems, and then incorporating solutions into the design and marketing.

The backpack pocket is not closed, it is open, and he did not zip it shut.

What is the solution? This is a daypack, not a backpack, more like a mans purse than a backpack, the goal is more towards fashion and less functional.

Maybe this the correct design, if all this man has in the pocket is cigarettes maybe he needs quick access, and theft is not a problem. If for some reason he stores his Smartphone in the same pocket, then we have a problem.

Marketing Automation
We are automating the collection of backpack information, we will allow readers to give feedback or contribute ideas. Marketing is an educational process, as we explain the pros and cons of backpacks; maybe I can assist backpackers to understand what they are doing?

Example: The girl above has on sandals; her backpack is prepared to go hiking in the mountains. She does not know the difference between a travel bag and a hiking bag, they all seem the same to her. She will survive, however the school of hard knocks will continuously knock on her door.

Marketing Automation of Backpacks

Online Advertising at the Edges of the Web

If you asked me, who are the best travelers, I would tell you the truth and not cliché explanations.

1. Oil Workers - They have tons of money.
2. Military Soldiers - The governments pays their way.
3. Traveling Salespeople - Because their business pays for it.
4. Missionaries - Their Church pays their way
5. Retired Ex-Hippies - Their retirement Pension pays, and they are braver.
6. Special Reason Travelers

- Their passion or love pays for it.

Fishing in Israel, this is one of them special reasons to travel, and online advertising is needed for these Edges of the Web topics.

Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala --- Tuesday, March 30, 2010
By Andy Graham of


People Travel for Many Reasons
Boy Genius from India told me the other day,
"The reason does well is because we have topics at the Edge of the Web." is a directory; it allows free online advertising for strange and exotic topics like Fishing in Israel. The website above submitted his or her site on this page of today:
Fishing in Israel

As many types of Travel as Types of People
I realized there were thousands if not millions or reasons to travel; I made this page on the type of Travel over 10 years ago.
List of Types of Travelers

Needleless Acupuncture in Panajachel Guatemala
Presently one of the fashionable activities in Pana is "Needless Acupuncture." When my friend Linda told me about this, my first thought was.
"Hmm, where would theses people submit their web sites?"

Maybe under Health…?

I said to myself, the new project of Boy Genius and me will allow me to add these new topics quickly and painlessness on my part.
Maybe I will soon add:
"Needleless Acupuncture in Guatemala."

Then a few of the fashionable Teishin Web Sites from Lake Atitlan or Panajachel would be able to submit their sites. My readers would be able to find this at the "Edge of the Web" type of travel sites from Pana like:

James Easter
Christian Nix
Jennifer Martin

Travel Guides
If you read about travel too long as I have, you will eventually learn that travel writers have this desire in-the-back-of-their-heads to write travel guides. They will start to list out all the categories.

Tourist Attractions
Boring, boring and boring, and I hope this does not describe me.

I guess the same happened to me; however, I have focused on allowing exotic web sites at the edge of the web to do online advertising. This is my secret to travel, I seldom go after the cliché travel topics, and I try to explain the edges of the web topics.

Online Advertising at the Edges of the Web

Expectations are Premeditated Resentments

"A Nod Is as Good as a Wink... to a Blind Horse"
- Rod Stewart

I love listening to expatriates living in Guatemala, it is an insane asylum, every conversation is a "Catch 22."

A Catch 22 is a no-win situation… or
Maybe life is a just a test, just one big temptation.
"Lead us not into temptation, we will find our own way."

Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala --- Monday, March 29, 2010
By Andy Graham of


Panajachel, Guatemala

Expat says something,

I listen.

I nod my head.

I self-talk, saying to myself,
"Andy, keep your mouth shut."

I think to myself,
"If I say nothing, they will assume I agree."
"If I say something, they will know I disagree."

Knowing I am in a no-win situation, I say,
"I like Pizza."

A wink is a good as a nod to blind horse."

"A Nod Is as Good as a Wink... to a Blind Horse"
Crazy is never boring.

Expectations are Premeditated Resentments

Meet Girls of Guatemala

Yes, it is possible to meet girls here in Guatemala that are family orientated, Christian and would make good mothers, but not for long. The new generation of Guatemala Indigenous Girls is quickly learning all the bad habits of USA and European girls.

My new friend Linda from Canada for some odd reason gave this Guatemala Girl her cell phone to use, and the girls quickly went into
"Girl with Cell Phone Mode."

I have seen this look before… the whole world stops for the cell phone, nothing is more important, the cell phone sucks the brain out leaving a blank look.

Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala --- Sunday, March 28, 2010
By Andy Graham of


"Are you talking to me?"

"Let me get back to work, this is more important than selling Guatemala Souvenirs."

"What do you want? Why do you keep taking my photo, I am busy?"
Meet girls of Guatemala, I think not, they are busy.

I know this young Guatemalan girl from the village of Santa Catarina one Lake Atitlan here in Guatemala will one day wonder to herself,
"Why am I wearing these clothes?"
Meet Girls of Guatemala, same same, not different.

The Television, Internet and Cell Phones are pushing the Guatemala culture into the future at an alarming speed.

If you want to meet girls who have traditional values, who do not talk on cell phones and ignore you, you had better book a plane ticket today; there is maybe a 2-5 year window. I took all these photos in succession, one after another, I enjoy seeing meeting girls like this, and they are lost in concentration in a world that believes they can do 10 things at the same time.

Tigo and Claro the cell phone providers here are putting a cell phone in every hand and a blank look on every Guatemalans face. (They drive cars, motorcyles, and tuk tuk taxis with these cell phone looks on their faces.)

Now the real question is, if you married one of these Guatemalan girls….
"Would they sit in front of the television watching soap operas and cartoons all day?"

Meet Girls of Guatemala

Calling Guatemala is Feature of a Verizon Smartphone

Features of a Smartphone are difficult to explain, it is like asking the question,
"What can a computer do?"
Where does one start explain the features of a Smartphone?

I wrote a Guatemala Travel Tip the other day on 20 ways of calling Guatemala.
Calling Guatemala

I forgot the truly easy way, and if I had a daughter or son I was worried about, the ability to keep constant contact would influence my decisions, I suspect I would pay to have a Verizon Smartphone in their little get-in-trouble-hands.

My Verizon Smartphone has a feature that allows the USA telephone number to find me in other countries. When you would call my Verizon USA mobile phone number, it will forward to any country.

Therefore calling Guatemala is simple as calling a USA telephone number.

Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala --- Saturday, March 27, 2010
By Andy Graham of


I am presently carrying a Verizon HTC Touch Pro II; I carried the Verizon BlackBerry Storm while I was in Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania last year.

Three Major Features to Smartphone’s
1. The Phone - BlackBerry, Iphone, HTC, Nokia, etc.
2. Operating Systems, RIM, Mac, Android, Windows Mobile
3. The Global Access or the one country access.

I recommend you evaluate these three aspects of a Smartphone, to just say, buy an Iphone is anal and short sighted, it is the three features or variables working together.

Verizon Plan:
I am a world travel, as best I can understand, it is going to cost you 100 USA dollars to have global internet access that will seamlessly allow you to check emails in 208 territories or countries.

ATT World Plan:
I do not understand the ATT world plan; me and Boy Genius in India have sliced and diced this for the last couple of years since Verizon gave me a Smartphone to evaluate globally. We both as of today feel the Verizon gives me easy to use global access, I believe I have double the number of countries of ATT and I never need to arrange plans while in a country.
- Thank you Verizon.

Do I understand this, that is a good question, but I can say, I feel Verizon has the best global email plan, the telephone feature is of less value to me, but would be valuable to a business traveler on short trips.

Combinations I would buy… Maybe
1. A phone with a typing pad, I am not fond of dialing telephone numbers on a touch pad, and navigation is better with the keys than a touch pad. However, truthfully, I need to see more systems, and if they have these two features of a Smartphone below, I am game.
2. Google Android Operating System.
3. Verizon Global Access plan - 100 USD per month.

I think to just say Iphone is nuts, I want the ability to uses features like Google Maps, Docs, Google Reader for RSS, I do not want some translations, transliteration problem.

A person needs to know their level of understanding, how well do you understand computers, is there a close friend that can help you daily to understand? I would love readers to comment, add links to Features of Smartphone’s, or ways for us to weigh the pros and cons of Smartphone features or benefits.

Disclosure of Influence: 4

Calling Guatemala is Feature of a Verizon Smartphone

Water Removal is Healthy

"Don’t drink the water," this is the mantra of tourist. Here is a Travel Tip to help you minimize health problems caused by polluted water.

Drying your dishes after cleaning is as important as cleaning, therefore I have taken to hanging my dishes and toothbrush on my clothesline. Water Removal is needed for good health.

Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala --- Friday, March 26, 2010
By Andy Graham of


"Hot water from the tap is the eighth wonder of the world."
- Andy Graham of

This healthy benefits of hot water the citizens of the USA take for granted is generally not available on the planet. The minute you see people drinking bottled water, you can almost assume they do not wash dishes in hot water.

Drying dishes in the sun, this photo was taken near Kilgoris, Kenya outside the home of a Maasai family.

Sunlight can replace Hot Water
Maybe this is called ultraviolet disinfection, if you want to kill off the nasty germs, bacteria’s, microbes, amoebas, worms, parasite, and other nasty words, use the sun. Water Removal is the solution; you must remove all the water by completely drying dishes.

This is my friend Grace a girl who is part of the Maasai tribe or ethnic group who live near Kilgoris, Kenya a village just north of the Masai Mara.

I believe Graces was apologetic and felt a little social shame as I took the photo of her walking back from the dish rack. In reality, I was incredibly impressed at the intelligence of this method of drying dishes. I know the value of the sun, and the power of direct sunlight to sanitize my world. Funny, tourist generally have it backwards, the primitive people are doing what is needed for good health, while tourist restaurants pretend to be modern at the expense of their clients.

I recommend you take a healthy tour, by walking into the kitchen of a tourist restaurant and search for hot water. You will realize, water removal is not a priority.

Water Removal is Healthy

Job Costing in Guatemala

Job Costing is an important part of travel. When you travel, do you care how much the locals earn, if you want to be a responsible traveler you should.

This man probably earns less than one-dollar USD per hour. 6.48298 USD is the minimum wage in Guatemala per Day or 52 Quetzals. As I understand this and evaluate, the Job Costing for this is job or worker in Guatemala would earn 52.00 GTQ per day, or I should expect to pay this man about 6.5 Quetzals per hour if he works an eight-hour day.

Job Costing is the responsibly of all tourist or travelers who are responsible global citizens.

Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala --- Thursday, March 25, 2010
By Andy Graham of


Job Costing
"Job Costing involves preparation to calculate the costs involved of a business manufacturing goods. These costs are recorded in ledger accounts throughout the year and are then shown in the final trial balance before the preparing of the manufacturing statement."

Responsible Travelers Know Daily Wages
Generally, the best number to use is 10 dollars per day, maybe one dollar per hour. However, if you truly love a country, you will be a responsible travel and not overpay workers. I will pay about 25 percent extra or more than the locals, but I try my best to keep it realistic.

Why, after you pay too much, workers refuse to sell products to friends, family and other locals at reasonable prices. It inflates cost for normal people; they no longer can afford to live in their own country, because they are competing with people from Europe or the USA who earn 10-100 times more money in one day.

I always do some job costing in my head, before I make a purchase. I try to use local businesses who sell to locals, therefore allowing normal people to prosper. I try to avoid businesses that allow one status of person to prosper greatly by using local wage scales, but charging tourist prices. I want to pay local prices, then I feel I am a responsible traveler.

I will make Backpack in Guatemala
I am in Guatemala to manufacture backpacks, which sounds more grandiose than it really is. I will find about 5-10 people with sewing machines and give them parts of the backpack to produce. I must do some job costing. I need to learn or estimate how long it takes them to produce one part.

Example: Part number 6 the Waist Harness
Say, I want the person sewing to make the left part of the waist harness, I can guess that he or she will do one per hour and pay the person one dollar per hour.

Worker produces 8 in one day
8 x 1 dollar is 8 dollars per day.

I wish to pay 25 percent more than locals pay, just for diplomacy reasons. I will go convert money to Quetzals, I must pay in local currency.
8.00 USD = 64.1560 GTQ

I check the daily wages, I know it is 52, but I will double check:

Multiply: 52 x 1.25 = 65

Ok, I am fine; I am paying enough if the person can produce one per hour. However, from experiences and watching workers in Katmandu, Nepal, I know these workers will be able to do about 5-20 in one hours, so I may well be overpaying. I have to be real careful, I do not want to do job costing where I pay to little or too much, I want to be fair.

Little Guatemala Girls
When a little Guatemala girls walks up and has in her hand maybe 200 small woven or braided bracelets, and she ask one dollars. Maybe you can do the math, if she sells eight in a day or one per hour she is making a living.

Please do some job costing when you walk around in foreign countries, we do not want the economy of the whole planet to experiences the job despair of the USA or Europe. Sadly, I know this is an Entrepreneur function, and generally, the majority of workers feel they are underpaid when they are overpaid, but please try to be cheap, overpaying is the problem, you will never be able to underpay a street vendor, that is not possible.

Job Costing in Guatemala

Lake Atitlan Hotels and Bars Invaded by Missionaries

Christian Missionaries have found Lake Atitlan; they are coming here in large groups and living in Lake Atitlan Hotels. These groups feel like American tourist on steroids, they are hanging out in the bar called Solomons Porch, here in Panajachel, Guatemala. (One of the most popular tourist locations in Guatemala.)

As I was walking into the American Yuppie priced, feeling a little Hippie Crossroads coffee shop here in Panajachel, I asked my friend Anthony.
"What is a combination of yuppies and hippies?"
He says,

TMI - Too Much Information

Chris is carrying a toilet seat he purchased back to the Hotel El Amigo here in Panajachel; somehow, he has broken two toilet seats and feels it is his responsibility to purchase a new one. He stopped into the Dinosaur Coffee Shop, and receives his daily kiss from this missionary girl.

Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala --- Wednesday, March 24, 2010
By Andy Graham of


Music and Love Christian Missionaries
Carrying the Guitar
Carrying the Kisses
Oops, I mean…
Christians carry the word of God

Missionaries are carrying the word of God, that is what they are doing. I asked Chris, why this missionary girl feels compelled to kiss him daily and give him a hug. She is about 17 and he is 61, normal American girls do not give the time of day to older men. He said something like,
"She gives some love, and maybe I will come to church services."

Missionaries making me pay for my sins
I truly believe the Christian religion is the easiest religion to follow on planet earth.

The easy system:
Step One: I sin
Step Two: I ask for forgiveness. (I need to mean it.)
Step Three: Through the grace of God, I am granted mercy, I am forgiven, even though I am guilty, I will never be punished for my sins.

Finished, and hopefully we go forth and sin no more.

The difficult system:
Missionaries often make me feel, I need to pay to be forgiven, that is not the deal offered. I have to go do a bunch of good deeds, listen to music, and kiss everyone, and hang out in a bar called Solomons Porch.

I do not feel guilty
Greg who ran the Christian Orphanage in in Leogane, Haiti with his wife Jasmine was telling me,
"Andy you need to pray."
I said,
"I do not sin, that saves on the need to pray so much."
"If I do not sin, I do not need to ask for forgiveness as much."

I look at many Christians in their heart and ask myself,
"Why do they need to pray so much?"
(I especially feel they sin when they want others to watch them pray.)

Good Deeds by Missionaries
I kind of think many missionary believe with good music, good love, and good kisses, then add in a few good deeds, this will believe they will pay the entrance fee to heaven. Then, they get the church to pay for their missionary trips to Guatemala, a country that is up to its ears full of Christians, write it off on their taxes and by good deeds, they are saved.

Voice of God
I was asked the other day if I wanted to attend a church service. My friend said,
"They will play music."
I thought to myself.
"That is the worst thing to tell me, the last thing I want to do is listen to music at a church service."

After a few days of thinking about this, I have realized why…
"I cannot hear the voice of God when everyone is playing music, kissing me, and trying to make me do good deeds."

Welcome to California.

Lake Atitlan Hotels and Bars Invaded by Missionaries