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


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