Antigua/Monte Rico

2nd week here, and it seems to be just flying by.  Is it Wednesday already??

This week, I´m building an artificial wetlands for a washbasin, shower, and the urine from the composting toilet at the cabanas where I live.  I am managing 4 volunteers to get the job done while I work on refurbishing the toilet (it´s been defunct for a few months because of the lack of wet-waste handling).
This most recent weekend, I went to Antigua with a few of my fellow volunteers.  Quite an adventure getting there, but we made it in time for happy hour at the hostel we chose.  A few shots later and we were hopping around town.
Antigua is crazy fun, but would be too much for me in the long term.  It seems that everyone (tourists, travellers, expats, and locals alike) parties until 3am every night.  There are a limited number of happening spots, so if you´re there for more than one night, you tend to run into a lot of the people you met the night before. Second day in Antigua, Saturday, I befriended a troubled troubador–I knew my harmonica would be key!  He took me around to a couple of more local spots, and I ended up at Banana Azul playing guitar, mouth harp, and singing for hours.  Again, the experience with my roommates in Oakland doing round-robin improvisation of songs came in quite handy and had everyone there laughing to tears.
Met a beautiful woman there and we ended up talking through the day and into the night.  More about her later if there is more later 😉
Next day, Sunday, a Spaniard and I decided to venture to the beach at Monte Rico, supposedly about 1.5 hours away.  Got a ride from the owner of the Blue Banana half way, at which point the Spaniard discovered he couldnt get money out of the bank and decided to return to Antigua.  I continued on to MR by myself, expecting a quiet day and night at the beach.  2 vans, 2 hours of walking in 90+ degrees and humidy, and 1 more van later, I arrived in a ghost town.  Nobody was there because it´s the rainy season here in Guatemala and around 2 or 3 in the afternoon, the sun disappears behind masive storm clouds and its just muggy. I walked until I hit the beach, turned right, and walked up the beach until I saw a hotel that was open (it had 2 gringos out front).  Checked in, met a group of South African Christians who travel around Latin America for a year doing good, and settled in for the quiet night I had expected.  Walked down to the beach to check out the rain, and a large group of locals were hanging out around a fire beneath a large canopy out on the beach.  Made friends, drank, smoked, played harp, talked about important things, like the current and coming plight of the large indigenous population here.
Next day, I talked business with a man, Otto, who has had a VERY crazy life.  In his later years, he has changed his ways and devoted himself to the uplift of the indigenous people.  He lost his land, businesses, and car during the recession, and now is intent on using Chicken-Bus transport only.
This weekend or next, I´ll be travelling further up into the hills to visit a sustainable foresting/carpintry/textile collectivized village that is in need of technical, marketing, design, and management help.
I´m thinking I might need to buy a local phone to handle all these things, but I´ll try and share with my dad for the time being.

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