Tag Archives: friends

Save the Best for our Last Week in Antigua, Guatemala.

I forgot to mention that when given the oppotunity, I am a beauteous boot designer!

There’s a nifty little town outside of Antigua called Pastores and it’s a boot-lover’s heaven.  After gawking for months at all the original and unique footwear in town I had to find out where and how?  Christian and I took a skooter ride 15 mins outside of town to Pastores.  There’s no short of leather or boot shops along the main strip of this small town.  I spent the last week dreaming up of ideas on how to make my very own boot from scratch.  I complied all of my wildest boot doodles together on one dream sheet consisting of color preferences, shape, heel type, calf-height, texture, closuers, and stitching patterns.  All for a chance to make my boot-dream come true, and now my only hurdle was communicating this in spanish.  I bounced and skipped from one shop to the next trying to decide which shop I wanted to entrust this boot-dream to.  I found a pink shop that had boots  in the window that I really liked with similiar desireable features, this was the spot.  I carefully flipped through piles of different materials and leathers and then in my new spanish and dream list I tried to explain exactly how I wanted the pair of boots made.  The shoemaker took down a few notes and said see you in 7 days!  By the time I walked away from the shop I was ecstatic and found the expericence so charming.  It didn’t really matter how they turned out I just hopped that they would fit.

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For a week I would wake up excited wondering how my handmade boots were coming along.  For around $50 usd I created from scratch my very own unique boot sewn together by a small local family shop, just for me.  Too Cool!!

Finding a good pizza that fit our budget in Antigua wasn’t easy, our neighbor Ben showed us how to make an awesome homemade pizza  from scratch.  He even showed us how to save an extra few dollars by making the mozzerella at home, what?!  A few days later we learned how to make an artisianal bread in our dutch over that turned out incredible.  “Hey Ben, any homemade butter around for this insane piece of bread?”   “Yes,” he said.  “Wow, alright! Do you by chance know a guy who would want to buy our scooter and take care of all of the paperwork?” ” Yes,” Ben said “my old boss.”  And then the day before we left Antigua, Jose his old boss bought the skooter from us.  However, not before we took our last skooter ride to pick up my one-of-a-kind new boots (designed by yours truly, Jennifer Ruth).  It was slightly emotional for me, I was on my last skooter ride through a favorite town to pick up my dream boots.  I put my boots on, blushing and ready to show them off to my friends for a fiesta during our last night in Antigua.

Goodbye (for now) Fiesta

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Start the night off with some Golf, por que no?
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Meeting up with 5 other overlanding groups, swapping stories
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Josh after tequila to the face, no hands
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tequila shot in the eyes for Jenna
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Never stop dancing together
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Whiz-Bang Chicas
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Antigua part 1

Hello Antigua, Guatemala home of Laurel Baker!  Eight years ago Laurel/Lori left Chicago to “visit” Costa Rica for awhile.  She made her way north eventually landing in Antigua, Guatemala and has been there ever since.  Eight years ago I promised my great friend that I would visit her someday.  After a move to Sitka, Alaska and San Diego, California Christian and I built a van and drove six months and a few thousand miles for a long overdue reunion.  Within hours of arriving to her city I was on her bar/restaurant schedule for a full weeks worth of shifts.  The same day Christian signed himself up for spanish classes and was looking for temporary housing for us.

 

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Our plan was to park the van and stay in Antigua for about a month.  We found a cool communal spot to live in called La Casa Gitana (The Gypsy House) with every wall painted a different color and four other housemates.  It was a six minute walk to work and a ten minute scooter ride to spanish classes. Two weeks later I signed up for classes as well while contining to work.  Classes took place in a garden and we each had our own private teacher.  I loved the scooter ride to the garden five days a week down the cobblestone roads, pass the ruins from an 1877 earthquake all the way to the garden.  We spent twenty hours a week with a private teacher, Christian took seven weeks and I took five.  Halfway through we talked our teachers into a Nacho and Micheada party for a class.  We convinced them that with a little alcohol we could speak a way better spanish, and they went for it.  It ended up being more of a party with five students and five teachers joining in.  Mostly the party was in spanish until the class moved to a nearby pub with more beer, more nachos and tons of dancing.  With that recipe we all started speaking some rediculous spanglish.

Weeks before Christian and I made the descion that Antigua was where we will drag the scooter up to and try to sell it.  The weight of the scooter was destroying the van; shredding the back tire, ruining the suspension and breaking the shocks.  So for our last few weeks  we took it on many mini adventures through the colonial city, up to tiny mountain towns, through the nearby villages and out to organic farmers markets with live music.

We were able to meet up with a handful of friends here since we stayed put for ten weeks: Micheal and Izabella (kocovnici kocovni), Josh and Jenna (Travel Amateurs), Miles, Aaron and Nietzsche (Totoro the Van), Joe and Josee (Joe and Josee’s Journey) along with making new friends from school and housemates.

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Several times a week we would take the scooter to the mercado for some fresh fruit and veggies, which was always a colorful errand.  I didn’t want to forget to share the chicken busses here, they are retired american school buses that are bedazzled to the nines and take on king of the road role, however because we had the scooter we missed the opportunity to take a ride in one.

Zipolite, I can’t quit you

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We rolled up to this mystical beach late one hot mexican night.  Looking for a perfect spot to set up shop for maybe two or three days we lucked out and found Habana’s Cabanas.  Ok, sounds kinda cool let’s go talk to the boss.   For $7 USD a night, you can park behind the cabanas 100 feet from the Pacific Ocean, a few feet away are the bath/showers, WiFi incl, cold beers and water in the office and shade underneath the cabanas.  That’s not all, our hammocks hung underneath the cabanas and fresh food will walk-by you just in case you’re too lazy to move to get snacks or dinner.  A margarita guy will pass-by, the ice cream man delivers and chocolate croissants show up at just the right time.  Pizza calzones, taco lady, herbal pastries  you name it, they make it and deliver to your hammock all day long.

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This place made it feel like we were on vacation, not a trip that takes a lot of work; straight-up, kick-back.  We took long walks on the beach, starred at the sunsets, laid in the hammocks for hours reading, telling jokes and stories.  Oh did I mention this was a clothing-optional beach, we may have tried it out or not.  We planned on two nights and it quickly turned into ELEVEN awesome days.  Friends were made here and other friends joined the scene a day later.  With nothing but time on our hands I decided that I would try making almond milk from scratch, after ton of messy work it turned out great.

Christian loved catching happy hour everyday and taking a walk down the beach for a brick oven pizza or a plate of Al Pastor tacos for about $1.  On semi-windy days he would bust out the kite and attach the go-pro to it for our make shift version of a “drone shot” along the beach.  It’s been a few months since we were here but this is a place we will return to.  We still talk about our time in Zipolite, in our six months of traveling this ranks as top 3 favorite moments.

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A few times we took the scooter out for great adventures and sightseeing, why not.  We headed out on the scooter for a gorgeous twenty minutes ride towards a lagoon called La Ventanilla Mangroves where we tour a small boat tour to check out some crocodiles, birds, Iguanas and turtles.   The next day we went to the Turtle Sanctuary in Mazunte the town over from Zipolite with our friends in a teeny tiny taxi and 6 of us crammed in an almost clown car while it was around 100 degrees.

The rest of our day was filled by sitting in our hammocks and people watch.  Naked old  guys would wear flip flops and a back pack, nothing else.  One occasion a chic was holding hands with two guys one on each hand and making the men walk backwards naked the entire length of the beach.  So as you can see we were entertained sitting on the beach for a short eleven days.

 

 

 

 

Oaxaca City, Mexico…mucho culture

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Oaxaca City, Central Park

A walk through the park on a Wednesday afternoon looking for our friends and we stumble upon this lovely orchestra performing.  This city was beautiful and full of handicrafts of all kind.  However, by the time Christian and I arrived we were over crowded cities.  We just didn’t have the energy to explore more while we were here, so we looked for a camp spot nearby.

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Wednesday afternoon in the park in Oaxaca.

We had two choices here in this area for camping.  We could park in a gated gravel lot in the middle of the lively city with no shower or bathroom.   The other option was a campground twelve miles outside the city that had WiFi and a bathroom however it was located between abandon buildings and in the middle of nowhere.  We chose the latter.  The next morning with our WiFi we found out there was a small public water park within walking distance.   PERRRRRFECT it was 100 degrees with no wind, and we were in the dessert.

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On top of Monte Albán, alone!

Now that we are seasoned tourist of Ruins, we got to the top of a small mountain range where we found Monte Albán before it opened.  Monte Albán sits 1,300 feet above the valley of Oaxaca and it’s City at an elevation of 6,400 ft.  This humdinger was inhabited for over 1,500 years by at least three different civilizations who literally chopped off the top of the mountain, almost as it stands today.  This site contained tombs, temples, inscriptions and it even had a ball court!

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friends buying crickets-snacks at the market

This is Josh and Jenna (from Travel Amateurs) they are our overlanding friends that we met along the way.  So glad we did.  While in spanish classes in Guanajuato they heard that crickets are a greeeeaaat protein (as Tony the Tiger would say).  Some really took this info to heart, like Josh and Jenna.  On the other hand Christian and I decided that if chicken or any other food was more accessible that we would choose everything else.

The next day six of us overlanders went up a 10,000 ft mountain for the Oaxacan experience.  The six of us hiked for four days and did 35 miles at 10,000 to 8,000 feet depending on the next town’s destination.  I wish that I could say that hike was glorious and maybe for some of the other five it was. My experience was…”Stay alive, don’t fall it will hurt, eventually this will end!”  One day for about 1,000 ft we slid down a “trail” with 40lb packs on our backs.  Tons of Fun.  This hike wore us all out so much that we never had the energy to check out the waterfalls, caves, and view points.  Pro-tip: Drive to the small Eco-towns and hike to the cool stuff.  Ex-pro Tip: Anything tastes better than crickets, like CHIPS or peanut butter or real trail mix.