Here is our 2004 news. We have spent our first full year living in
beautiful Antigua, Guatemala.
As you know, after a holiday in Antigua in 2000, we
bought a house and rebuilt it by mid-2003, then rebuilt it again in
late 2003 to change seven shops into two more apartments instead.
That project finished early in 2004 and we now have five apartments
and only three shops … much easier to manage than three apartments and
ten shops !!!
garden it’s amazing how quickly things grow when there is no winter!!
The rainy season lasts from May until November…most days with some
rain… very rarely a whole day of rain. The nights stay a temperate
60-65 degrees and the days from 70-75, but never above 80.
The rest of the year is without a drop of rain - but the same
temperature. Antigua is true to its name – the “City of Eternal
there are hot and humid areas in Guatemala, they are on the Caribbean,
the Pacific Coast or in the Peten ... where the Tikal ruins are
located. We find living in almost year-round sunshine a boost to our
And, not surprisingly, there are many Americans,
Canadians and Brits down here…so Spanish is not essential. The number
of US Embassy retirees living here is amazing…probably because the
cost of living is low…due to the low cost of labor. We have Sears,
Office Depot, Pricemart (like BJ’s)…Gap and all the rest.
We chuckle about the fact that it seems like the Guatemalans just shop
(go to part 2)
The money coming back home from those who work in
the U.S. supports a lively economy and a growing middle class.
However, it is true that some 75 % of the population, predominantly
all the Mayans, live in poverty. Since Guatemala finally elected a
President who is not corrupt, as those who preceded him, hopefully the
standard of living will improve throughout the country in the next
Barbara & Tomas
When Barbara moved down, she was immediately adopted into the bridge
circuit. She hadn’t played in nearly 30 years, but now manages to
play 2-3 times each week. This lead to a lot of new friends…but since
most all of us travel a good bit of the year, the players are always
changing. She is also doing volunteer financial work for non-profits
in town – the one closest to her heart is WINGS…a group that promotes
birth control in rural Guatemala.
never seems to stop. Soon after he arrived, he took on a project to
“decorate” our street with flowers. He enlists local merchants,
neighbors, friends to buy wrought-iron fences around the trees on the
street; we then buy the flowers, and employ a person to plant, water,
maintain them, and deal with trash. We now have nearly
150 gardens….and only about 25 left to
“sell”. He and the new mayor see eye-to-eye on the project and the
mayor has finished paving around the trees, painting the curbs, and
keeping the area nearly spotless. The incredible difference is the
“talk of the town”. Tomas is helping a few restaurants with websites,
still working on the Antigua “super-site”, and together we manage our
apartments and shops.
Most important, we have taken time off. A month’s trip to New York by
car in May…returning through Mexico and stopping in old Spanish
colonial mining towns along the way. Then we celebrated our 25th
anniversary by retracing our honeymoon for a month in Germany, France
and Italy in the fall – almost exactly the same except about 10 times
more expensive than 25 years ago!!! We also take frequent 3-4 days
trips…exploring Mayan ruins, Spanish colonial towns and
(go to part 3)
the diverse, very spectacular
geography of Guatemala, and Chiapas and Oaxaca in
Jennifer & David
Jennifer (21), is happily learning Spanish and
developing her independence in her “own” apartment. She met a friend
who visits every weekend…they go shopping, to the movies, bowling, to
museums, dine out…and discoing at the local club. The other night
they came home at 1:30 am !!!! It’s nice that she can walk wherever
she needs to go – grocery shopping, the dentist, McDonalds (ugh – yes
we have one and a Burger King too). We are now working on getting her
DVD rental store up and running for 2005. Now that she knows Spanish,
she will “manage” her own shop – doing what she loves the most….movies
and movie stars !!! She continues to amaze us - her Spanish
vocabulary is better than Barbara’s!
(20) is in his third year at the University of Rochester. He decided
on clinical psychology as a major, with a minor in Spanish. This
means more than 4 years of study…but hopefully with scholarships since
his grade point average is above a 3.5. He is happy, has a great
group of friends, does well at our house in Prattsville on his own for
the summer, and also coaches the local Little League team. He is
hoping to find a job in his field for the summer, in Rochester, next
year. He visited us in Guatemala twice this year. And his prior
travels with us now seem to be paying off. He arranged a trip over
Spring break for himself and nine other friends in London - they had a
blast !!! It looks like the whole family loves to travel.
in Antigua is wonderful.
Please tell us about yours. Let us know if you plan to visit ???
OUR BEST WISHES FOR 2005 !!!