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My Guatemala

I claim Panajachel, Guatemala on Lago Atitlan as mine, I have been here maybe five times and I know I will keep coming back.

I sat in what we call the Dinosaur Café; I was on a chair next to Bonnie. This little boy walked up and down along this wooden bench, I sat in waiting, and I was egging him on from afar. Ok, walk, walk, yes, just two more steps, now look up, I took the photo, this is my Guatemala.

It is early, about 7:30 am, this like tike is bundled up in his mother love, making sure he can stay warm in the early morning altitude of 1500 meters above sea level.

Panajachel, Guatemala --- Friday, March 19, 2010
By Andy Graham of


Freedom is a horrible thing; I can go anywhere I want to the planet, therefore making decisions become difficult. I often think having a regular job would be easier, I would enjoy having the man tell me what to do all day, I get lost in freedom.

People say they are hobos, nomads and vagabond, that they are wanderers of the planet, in reality 99 percent of us have strict plans, I am the 1 percent. In my freedom, I strangely keep wandering back to Panajachel, Guatemala, warm days enough to tan in the sun, and cool nights where I need a small blanket.

I was sitting on the same wooden bench, warming in the sun, when the good, the bad, and the ugly sat down on the floor to have a shoeshine boy conference. I took a couple of photos and the one boy hold up his hand saying,
"Five Quetzal."

I did not pay, I look into their eyes and imagine their futures, it is not possible to say what lies in the hearts of these small men, I know one will go astray, and the other will be good, all in all, they are part of a normal world.

There is a whole world of looks here, what is the old women thinking?

The little girl is looking around, the little boy is looking at me, and this is my Guatemala. This country is full of people who want to smile and say hello, they want to be happy. I can walk by a foreigner and say hello, they can look at me, like what gives you the right to be nice. I walk by a Guatemalan person and they will say hello before I do, Indigenous Guatemalans are quick to be friendly.

Quick to be Friendly
One of my prevalent muses is how to make a section on my web page that would evaluate cultures on their ability to be a friend. One of these days, I will have a questionnaire, I will only allow friendly people to fill it out, and this will be the vetting problem.

A. Do the locals smile? Guatemala Indigenous Yes
B. Do they locals say hello? Guatemala Indigenous Yes
C. Do the locals look at you as if you have no right to say hello. No in Dominican Republic, yes in Haiti.
D. Can you say hello to a person and they will ignore you.
"Yes to a person from the Capital of Guatemala, the more Spanish blood people."
"No to the Indigenous Guatemala People."
"Yes to the foreigners in Guatemala."
"Yes to Dominican Republic people."
"Yes to the foreigners in Dominican Republic."
"No to local Haitians."

90 percent of the people from the USA do not want me to say hello to them, I am the minority, I am the one that feels compelled to say hello, and expect you to acknowledge my presence. If you ignore me, I will do my best to make you uncomfortable until you either give up and be decent and friendly, or walk away in disgust. I do not allow unfriendly in my world.

A few Foreigners in Guatemala do slowly learn to be friendly, not all, but many need to go home, they need to go hide.

This is Mariela, maybe Holly; she is a girl from Honduras who sells homemade jewelry along side of the Santander, the main Tourist Street in Panajachel, Guatemala. I think maybe she is one of Sexiest girls I have even seen, in a dreaded, pieced, belly, rolling, staring, personal way, she is a Queen surrounded by Hippie Dippies.

Some people dress up with too many tattoos, too many dreads, and too many adornments and scream,

I like it when another person preens me, I cannot imagine preening myself enough to look like some of the emotional refugees. I try not to look at the dreaded, pieced, and tattoo bunch, I know they need more hugs, kisses, cuddles an intimacy than I am capable of supplying in one lifetime. I say hello, I give a nod, I do not wink…

However, however, however, I look at Mariela as often as possible, I take a walk down towards here stand daily to see if she is full of power. There was a Hippie idea, we will be free, and I think she achieves it, she is free to be her, the rest of the group are true Hobos, they go from play to place looking for a job and if they could, they would con you out your money.

Somewhere in this Hippie Chic is a perfect world, she is able to stay perfect while being surrounded by Bums, Tramps, Vagabonds, Nomads and Hobos.

Note, I told here she could not do that Kiss me on the cheek thing, I told her it made my blood pressure go up too high, truly not what an Alpha Male needs to experience. I accept is, she is more powerful than I am.

I know how to line up my ducks, I know the pecking order, I accept my station in life, but like Charles Dickens said in the first paragraph of the book "David Copperfield." I still am asking the question of myself,
"Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show."

My Guatemala

Phil J

Hi Andy. Great blog. I had to re evaluate my life after I read it. I will put Guatemala on my list of countries to visit. I am enjoying the sunny southern California weather. Lots of busy people who do not say hello. But a whole lot of the hispanics do. Good morning, smiles, and hellos.