Rambling Robert's Travels

This blog chronicals the travels of myself, Rambling Robert, on my next adventure to South America.

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I am a world traveller. I do not work as such. I have been homeless and unemployed since 1October 2003. I worked as a chef for 30 years in America.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Everyone calls it Shayla

Greetings everyone,
I am in Quetzaltenango Guatemala. It is a city in the north west of Guatemala. The name means place of the Quetzal (Quetzal is the national bird of Guatemala) Everyone refers to the city as Xela (pronounced Shay-la). I dont know why. This town is very popular with travelers. I arrived here yesterday and have not really begun to explore. I am staying at Casa Argentina which is very popular with backpackers and a number of people have recommended it to me. I have met up with a couple of American travelers named John and Mike from Minneapolis, who are my friends from Nicaragua. They are nice guys and easy to travel with. Our plan is to leave together on Monday to go North to Mexico and work our way up the Mexican Pacific Coast to Puerto Escondido and then cut inland to Oaxaca. We shall see. It sure is a long way from Ushuia.
It is about my 13th or 14th day in Guatemala. I was in this country in February of 2004 and I liked it then and I like it now. It is a lot more expensive now than it was the last time when the dollar was 10 to 1 to the Quetzale and now is 7.6 to 1.
That being said it is still a cheap country and if you dont drink in bars you can easily get by here on less than 15 dollars per day in most places.
Before I was here in Xela, I spent 10 days at a place called Earth Lodge. It is About 30 or 40 minutes by pick-up truck or bus from Antigua Guatemala on a beautiful hill. There are fantastic views of the 3 volcanos surrounding Antigua. Volcan Fuego is doing its Volcano thing and once every hour or so it spews out huge clouds of super heated gas clouds. At night from time to time it makes beautiful eruptions of bright orange colored lava and spews forth giant red hot boulders. You can hear the rumble in the distance. Earth Lodge is about 45 km. from the Volcano so there is no imminent danger, plus this is a somewhat normal situation as the volcano is behaving the same as it has for the past 3 decades.
Earth lodge is a rustic resort run by two cool young peole named Drew (from Canada) and Brianna (from California). They serve home style vegetarian meals for lunch and dinner and ala carte breakfast. There are no other realistic food options, but they are not necessary since the food is really good and healthy and natural. They raise a few goats and make their own cheese yogurt and milk. They make their own muesli (granola). You can hang out and chill or play badminton or horseshoes, chess backgammon, read, hike,take saunas, get loaded or what ever. I was going to stay for 2 or 3 days and stayed for 10. I feel like I needed to just relax and hold still for a while. I really liked Honduras but I went through it too fast and I feel much better after my 10 day break from reality at the Earth Lodge. Goats milk will do that for you. I read 4 books in 10 days while I was there!!
So it goes and so it is. Today I will explore Xela. This weekend there is a big to-do for the Carnival here so I should have a lot of fun and party a bit Whoooo Whoooo Whoooo!!!
here is a parting thought for you all:
"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned." -- Siddhartha Buddha
I am still working on my anger management. It is a life long project for me, but one that is imperative if I am ever to truly awaken.
Peace to All who read these words.
Rambling Robert

Monday, February 06, 2006

Coban Honduras

Hi Everyone, and greetings from Coban Honduras.
Coban is the most famous archeological site in Honduras. In Pre Colombian times, The Maya Indians built a vast city here. I just arrived today about 4 hours ago and checked into Manzana Verde (green apple) hostel. It is the only place in town with a kitchen for guest use. This will be my first Chef Bob cooked meal in two weeks. I am making chicken and vegetable soup with two canadian guys I have been traveling with since Tela, about 10 days or so.
After leaving Tela we went farther north along the Carribean coast in search of warm sunny weather and nice beaches. We arrived in Trujillo and knew this was it. What a lovely little carribean beach town. We stayed in a secluded place about 6 km out of town called Casa Kiwi. Nice hostel over-all but there were some serious fueding going on amongst the management and so it was a bit of a drga. The place is on an isolated beach which is just choice!! White soft sands and lovely blue waters you can walk out abaout 60 meters before it gets deep. We finally got a break in the weather and enjoyed 3 bright sunny days there. Then we were off on a bus to San Pedro Sula, Honduras' second largest city for another fun filled night at the hotel centro.One of Honduras great cheap hotels. We only stayed overnight and split in the morning to go to Lake Ojoa.
Lago Ojoa is the largest lake in Hondurawss. It is a beautiful lake with not too many tourists. Quite nearby is the Pulzanek Waterfalls, Honduras' highest at 43 meters and there are many nice swimming spots near the falls. Spent a whole day at the falls and just hung around hiked a little and swam in the pools. My kind of day.
JWe stayed at a really interesting place outside Pena Blanca, in an area called Los Naranjos at a place called D&D Brewery. Thats right kids a brewery!! Ooohh yahh its a good day when you find the countrys only micro brewery and that he has 6 rooms to rent and a BITCHEN garden and a swimming pool and a good restaurant and a local dude who hangs around and sells ganja.
D&D was a real highlight. It is owned by an Merican guy from Washington named Robert. He makes really good beers and he also makes his own soda pop Including Blueberry and Rootbeer and his own cola and a cinamon cream, all 5 star. Twice a week a bunch of Mennonites come and drop off a few varieties of fresh made breads, including perfectly fine banana bread and some very good cinamon rolls. So while I am talking food, Balleadas are little flour tortillas folded over and stuffed with beans eggs and cheese, I have become addicted to these little delights. They usually caost about 30cents US. Aslo memorable was a soup I am sorry to say I forget the name, it is thick and white and made of corn. It is quite sour and topped off with crushed toasted sesame seeds and a squirt of hot sauce...Awesome, they serve it in a hollowed out coconut shell with no spoon, you drink it out of the shell.
So after we left Lake Ojoa, we spent a couple of night in some highland towns called Gracias and Esperanzas very interesting simple villages, they remind me of Bolivia in architecture, dustiness and un paved roads. And so it goes and now here I am in Coban. I will stay here for a couple of days more, I will go see the Ruinas tomorrow and then maybe one or two days more here and then off to Guatemala.
here is a parting thought from one of my favorite Americans...
"Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. There is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of its filling a vacuum, it makes one. If it satisfies one want, it doubles and trebles that want another way." -- Benjamin Franklin
See you when I see you,
Rambling Robert