Joan and Art were the only two to take advantage of a 5 a.m. tour of the mangrove flats. The tour was done in small flat bottom boats with a helmsman using only a thin pole to propel the craft. He stood on the back much like you would see in Venice. At five a.m. it is extremely dark so picture taking was curtailed. This time allowed us to get well into the water way before the wildlife was scared off by the busy water traffic. There were several boats on the tour and we all sat silently watching the sun come up over the water. We saw lots of birds and an unusual fish that swims with its eyes out of the water. When scared they would jump across the water like a skipped stone, This would be their defense against the many herons waiting for breakfast. The waterway is at Monterrico and leads to the Pacific Ocean.
Joan gets ready to board the somewhat tipsy boat at 5 a.m.
A bit of an adventure heading off into the darkness,
Volcanoes start to appear in the distance.
Waiting on the quiet water for sunrise.
Beautiful time after sunrise.
These fellows could move boats along quite fast with the poles.
Two species of snakes live in the mangroves, Not often seen.
Mangroves send hundreds of roots into the shallow water. This one has unknown bird.
Pelicans travel in packs.
Stork on the right, possibly Ibis on left.
Unusual fish swimming with eyes above water to spot herons. The fish are called Cuatro Ojas (four eyes) because their eyes have evolved so they can see both above and below the water at the same time. They are 30-35 cm long.
Like a skipping stone.
Leaping to escape.
More funny fish Ha Ha!
Typical boat used for transportation.
Typical boat used for transportation.
We will call this the chicken boat loaded with people heading for work.
More people using the water transport.
Two small children heading for school.
Car boards the ferry. Notice the powerful motor.
Two large termite nests.
Not sure if these are termites or not starting a new nest.
On Wednesday we took a three hour van ride with our driver Luciano to the Dos Mundos Resort at Monterrico on the Pacific.
Same water as home just a lot warmer. Here is a slide show to give you some snippets of what we are doing.
Today we spent a relaxing day travelling up the steep road to Santa Domingo Park where we ate another fantastic meal in the ultra modern restaurant.
Five of us traveled up to the beautiful park in this rather unusual vehicle. Carefree Ken followed in his own special vehicle.
You can see Carefree Ken here with his red back pack on the way to lunch.
Since the scary incident yesterday Ken has not let his red back pack out of his sight. When asked, Ken denied sleeping with his pack but when he got up in the morning for coffee the impression on his cheek looked an awful lot like the buckle on the pack.
Following are some of the things we saw at the park not in any particular order.
View from the top looking down on Antigua.
Inside the restaurant.
One of the giant halls.
One would think this is a mural is depicting some ancient hieroglyphic. Maybe not, see next image.
We found this notice of a major Rotary event last year at t;his park.
Here is a sample of another rotary initiative in Guatemala. See sign.
They try to disguise cel tower at top. Snowdon told me about this.
The midnight blogger is a little worried Ken might get the last laugh.
Just a few images to keep our radio audience happy.
With lots of hugs and tears we left the smokey air of San Antonio for the three hour van ride to Antigua. Antigua greeted us with a “puff” from Volcan el Fuego and the finest food you can get at Posada de Don Rodrigo. The people from Guatemala City visit Antigua on the weekends and Saturday was a zoo. The downtown street are blocked off and it is generally a crowded street festival. Today we will lay low and wait for the crowds to diminish.
Volcan de Fuego on the left gave us a show. This is the volcano that had a major eruption the day before we left home.
Finding your away around Antigua is a challenge. A map is a must.
As you walk the narrow streets all you see are walls. This is our hotel from the street.
We each have rooms opening into a central garden. There are no other guests so we have the garden to ourselves.
Chilling our at our hotel for much deserved rest.
Lots of street performers on the weekend.
Ken and Denise walk under the famous arch in Antigua.
We returned to Posada de Don Rodrigo for another wonderful meal
The Posada de Don Rodrigo is a photographers heaven as is most of Antigua.
A picture everywhere you turn.
Chemainus Rotary at head table for community appreciation event.
We were first led to San Antonio in 2014 by Jacqueline Mealing who is familiar with the major issues in the town.This year the big issue is the school because the landlord cancelled the lease and the school would have to be closed. Jacqueline played a key roll in helping a new school committee, made up of volunteers, find a new location, draw up plans and start fundraising. This week final approvals were made and the new school will go ahead without the aid of local politicians who were trying to raise the costs possibly for personal gain. Jaculine was thrilled to see the community come together and work for their new school. An engineering firm donated the drawings and lots of people came forward to help including our Rotary Club who allocated $900 for the project. The new school will be finished by the end of March.
All of our Mayan guides got up to give their thanks. It was exciting to see how much self confidence they had compared to last year.
On Feb 19 the community decorated the site where the school will be built and honoured our Rotary club by seating us at the head table. Our $900 CND donation is a huge amount for the school. After many speeches and thank yous the school put on a dance presentation to music followed by an older group doing a western dance. After the entertainment everybody enjoyed a special meal with pop.
It was very interesting to see how a happy drunk who wandered on stage was dealt with. He was gently guided to the side where he stayed. See next image.
Our happy friend stands to the right.
These are some of the same kids who got the soccer balls.
Western garb and dance
Chemainus Rotary President Elect, Daphne Carlyle and team leader Joan Takenaka present $900 to President of new school.
The new school board joins us at head table for the meal.
Many many thank yous. Mucho, mucho
Gift bags made by Ruth Spearn of Chemanius loaded with personal care products were well received by the ladies of San Antonio. The word went out and the ladies came. More bags will be given out to those who attend health care classes to be conducted soon.
Loading the bags took a surprisingly long time.
Just like Christmas.
When all is said and done, all was said and done. Discussing the last two weeks on the hotel deck, Rotary Team 2015 felt it was mission accomplished with lots of enjoyment and satisfaction. Our time started by finishing construction of 12 beds started by the Qualicum Rotary Club. While this was going on materials were ordered for our other projects. First to arrive were 135 sheets of metal roof lamina which were eagerly picked up. Then came 8 stoves to be distributed and assembled Filler items included buying and distributing 19 pairs of shoes and stuffing and distributing 50 gift bags. Then the 17 wash sinks came and left. Two days off were spent travelling to nearby town markets then back to work completing the two houses. During a special celebration in our honor we donated $900 to the new temporary school to be built by March. All along the way we gave away toys , balloons, flashlights, hats, Canada pins. school supplies and kites. And of course the favorite with the young people, as last year, was the presentation of twenty soccer balls and soccer uniforms. Distribution of our rice, sugar, beans, corn and incamparina (food supplement) was well received, especially by the elderly. Orders have been placed for construction of a third house after we are gone. In addition to adding to the local economy by buying materials we paid wages to 4 men, 4 women and numerous other helpers. A wonderful bonus was the added self confidence that we noticed in our guides. We feel our efforts have helped them become true community leaders.
Chemainus Rotary President Elect, Daphne Carlyle, and team leader Joan Takenaka present $900 to the President of the School Association. The presentation was made at a special public event held in our honour.
Our 2015 Guatemala Team.Top: Joan, Denise , Butch, Daphne. Lower: Ken and Art.
Some new faces have been added to the “Faces of Guatemala” page. This page can be found by going to the main blog page and clicking on the tab at the top.