Tag Archives: Antigua

totally crazy roadtrip tow truck trip


Posting about road trips yesterday helped me recall a really fun road trip story.¬† Totally one worth remembering (and posting about ūüôā ).

This story ends in a truly magical moment.  But first, the setup:

The story begins at a beach, a lovely hot beach with black sand on the Pacific coast of Guatemala.¬† It was just after the Christmas rush and we were vacationing there with many of our dear relatives.¬† After 3 days of sun and seafood, it was time to drive back up to the capital city.¬† We packed ourselves into 2 vehicles and started the drive back in the afternoon.¬† On the way, we came upon a big detour, complete with traffic jams and police vehicles.¬† Apparently there had been a huge explosion at a plant down the road aways, and traffic was now being directed up the “old road to the capital”.

The story: ¬†At this point we started climbing a bit on the winding road.¬† We passed a car that was stopped (they had stopped in front of a farm and were apparently going up the driveway to get help) and Henry (who grew up in this¬†country)¬†said “Wow, this is sure a bad spot to have car trouble, especially when it’s getting dark!!”¬† I really really wished that he hadn’t said that.¬† A strange uneasiness gripped me.¬† I kid you not, ten minutes later our vehicle stalled and died. ¬†Totally dead. ¬†And it was getting dark.

We had been driving behind the other vehicle, so I fumbled around to find one of various cell phones to call Henry’s dad ahead of us to let him know that we were stopped.¬† The car was on an incline, but we choked right in front of the entrance to a farm or estate, so we were able to roll off the road a bit (no shoulders on this narrow, two way road).¬† Henry said that usually this was a very lonely road, with a bad reputation for thieves and hijackings.¬† Today there was a lot of traffic because of the detour.¬† I felt so much better…

And then, to really make me feel really panicky,¬†the police show up.¬† I scramble to call and let Henry’s dad know that.¬† You may not understand the panic that you can feel about having the police show up unless you are a criminal or you have driven in Latin America.¬† Let’s just say it’s nothing like the feeling I get when I see the Royal Canadian Mounted Police…..I’m afraid that corruption is rampant in Central/South America…

But wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles….they helped us out!!¬† I can’t remember the technical details of what was wrong with the vehicle, but it was NOT starting again and there was nothing we could do, so the friendly police officers hitched our vehicle to their pickup. (notice how close the speeding traffic was to us).¬†¬† Notice in this next photo how one officer helped with the hitching, and the other stood guard on the other side of the road with a large gun.They could only give us a tow to a more level spot that was off the road, where we could wait for a tow truck.¬† My sister-in-law was taking all the photos, since the kids and I were not supposed to get out of the car….so no one would see the “foreigners”.Henry’s parents said that they had never seen police be so very helpful before.¬† Truly it was a miracle.

Here we are being pulled up the hill.

The climax:¬† The helpful policemen left us infront of a closed (abandoned??) shop (or something) on a rather lonely-looking piece of highway.¬† There was still traffic whizzing by once in a while, but it was getting really dark, and we had to wait for a tow truck to come from Antigua.¬† So we waited.¬† Darkness fell quickly.¬† All sorts of scary thoughts danced around in my head.¬† Really, you can’t understand unless you’ve been there!!¬† And the thing I’ll never forget is seeing my mother-in-law sitting out in the¬†twilight with some large stones in her hands, singing and keeping watch over us!

There was a heart-stopping moment after we had been waiting in the dark for (almost) hours, when a black vehicle pulled into the “shoulder” in front of us.¬† As someone mentioned later, if they had wanted to help, they would’ve slowed beside us, rolled down the window and asked if we needed help.¬† It looked very suspicious…but who knows why, they paused, then drove off.

Finally finally the tow truck appeared.¬† (Did I mention that I was kept busy trying to keep 4 tired, sweaty, hungry kids from beating each other up inside the car this whole time?¬† We scrounged around and found some chocolate covered cookies to eat and some chip crumbs.)¬† And now for…..

The big excitement:¬† We had to RIDE ON THE TOW TRUCK!!¬† There was no where else to put everyone.¬† So the man said, “We’re really not supposed to do this…but oh well, hold on!”¬† I thought we’d be towed by the front wheels, but much to my surprise….We were being carried!¬† That’s me waving out the window!My other sister-in-law came up to my window and said “Is this enough excitement for you, Denna??!”I replied that I hadn’t been asking for excitement, I had just been pointing out that my life in Canada was pretty boring, not like life in Guatemala.¬† Really, it wasn’t my fault, I hadn’t been asking for it!!

Ready to roll!

We were off!!¬† Something I knew we’d never get to do in Canada: riding in our vehicle on top of a tow truck!! Only in Latin America!¬† What a bouncy ride!

I felt a bit bad later, when I found out how much everyone in the other vehicle worried about our safety when they saw how much we were jiggling around!¬† But we….had a blast!!

The magical moment:¬† We opened the sunroof and blasted the music as we looked up at the stars!¬† We were listening to the album “All things Bright and Beautiful” by Owl City….which turned out to be our theme music for our whole trip to Guatemala (a gift from our cousins in Texas on the way down). ¬†We all enjoyed it, from the 5 year old, to the thirty-something and the forty-something year old…

As the CD player blasted out “Galaxies”¬†Henry and I ¬†leaned our heads back and watched the stars swirl around, as we held hands and listened to the kids singing along…it was¬†a truly magical moment.

And it was a very bouncy, long ride!!¬† We had to drive right through Antigua, which has all cobblestone streets, so that was really really bouncy! And by that point, I had to go to the bathroom really really badly.¬† And Diego’s ear had begun to ache again (ear infection).¬† When we stopped at a gas station, we all hunkered down inside the car on top of the tow truck so no one would see that we were in there!¬† It was fun to drive through Guatemala city with all the lights and signage flashing past as we jolted along.¬† Eventually we stopped and our brother-in-law picked us up and took us to an aunt’s house, where we ended the night with pizza and cake!

I tried to take some photos from the back of the tow truck, but none of them turned out, and then my camera battery died.¬† I just have to imagine that moment of seeing thousands of stars and of feeling the earth spin (as we wound around corners), and then seeing old buildings and ancient ruins as we jerked down the cobblestone streets.¬† Not to mention the tight squeeze in those narrow roads as highly decorated buses scraped by us!¬† Ahh…what a moment!

Here’s a video of one of the songs that we were belting out as we bounced along….and it gives a good impression of our crazy road trip on the back of a tow truck!! enjoy, as I remember….

The video also goes along with my road trip post from yesterday….and yes! that’s the DeLorean from Back to the Future!

my “bum art” collection


My spur-of-the-moment photo art collection.¬† Really, I did it to embarass my kids, what can I say?¬† I know that on my “about me” page of this blog I have a list of things I don’t like, i.e. vulgar things, stuff like that.¬† Just to show that I’m not a total prude, I decided to¬†post my little bum art collection of photos that I took at Christmas time.¬† We visited a wonderful art garden, on the top of a hill overlooking the colonial city of Antigua, Guatemala.¬† Without meaning to (at first)¬†I took the monkey bum photo, then realizing that it was embarassing to most of my kids, I kept on…the youngest one was obviously not embarassed at all, and was very enthusiastic to do a bit of posing!!

This reminds me of the trouble it took to find out how to say the word “bum” in another language…namely, Spanish. But maybe “bum” is in another language for you….in the USA it’s usually “behind” or “butt”…which I always found a bit on the vulgar side, I admit. I prefer the often-used Canadian word “bum”… I think that word probably would come from England, though I haven’t acutally looked this one up! Anyways, I guess it was a bit embarassing when I was young, trying to find out how to say¬† bum in Spanish.¬† I think we always used the word trasero, which means “behind”.¬† Then one day I was at the ice skating rink (the only ice rink) in Guatemala City…and there were only a couple of people skating, and I happened to be talking to a girl who was skating (very well), and since it’s easier to bring up the subject of “behinds” when you are practicing a sport where you are likely to end up falling on your behind…it was kind of easier to drag it into the conversation!¬† She laughed and told me the word nalgas, which I later figured out meant “bum cheeks”.¬† ūüėČ

Anyways, this last trip down there I heard a few “new ones” for me, so thought I would write up a little list of ways to say “bum” in Guatemalan Spanish, to go along with my little “bum art” collection.¬† As far as I know, they are just funny slang and not offensive or vulgar.¬† (Of course I have no idea what they mean in Spanish from other countries!!¬† Just have a laugh, and don’t get insulted, please!! ūüôā

trasero–behind or rear end

nalgas–bum cheeks

fundillo–(I think this is old-fashioned slang)

chumasera—(I’m pretty sure this is the back end of a vehicle, as in the rear end of a car!!)

las pompas, or la pompa

el pompis–(I think this might come from a TV show, Chespirito?)

las nachas—-(this just sound too too funny, like nachos! So I guess if you say “buenas nachas”, that doesn’t mean good night!!)

el mero, mero—literally, the head honcho! haha! (the head honcho, that’s English slang)

Enough laugter, now let’s get down to the serious ART:

colorful Mosaic monkey bums

Strangely tailess horse patooties….oh, ah, and ahem….someone else’s…..

yikes, this one is a little more graphic, but it was a challenge to try and get the Triple Butt shot….(is this, like a famous statue of something…the 3 muses or such?)

there were even scary bums in trees

ok, ok, there’s a behind in this photo somewhere…….somewhere……

this next piece of Art was accidental…my girl was going to pose beside the statue, and I was in the middle of saying, No, step back! but snapped the photo anyways….so this one looks weirder than it was meant to…..!!¬†¬† (! que nalgitas!!)

and this one, was just perfect….

but she was still in “bum mode” and wouldn’t show her face even when I wanted her to!!

the final bum….

titled “Simbiosis”, this sculpture¬†was the last bum in my collection, snapped out the window of a moving car, close to the airport.

A fitting “end” to the collection, eh? ūüėČ

out and about Guate: Color Inspiration


I loved photographing pretty much everything I saw out the car window in Guatemala ūüôā

There was a lot of cool graffiti down Atanasio Tzul, and I even dared to get Henry to drive in close for some photos…but didn’t dare hop out and pose by the walls…too many scary stories ūüôā

The kids loved this one:

Loved this little store front, an interesting mix of products/produce:

and my favorite, old Antigua door-knockers ūüėČ

Color inspiration from Guatemala

Color inspiration from Guatemala

I can’t get enough of color!¬† I’ve finally figured it out, I’m crazy for color.¬† Doesn’t matter where I find them.

¡Ya lo decifré, el color es mi locura!  Me encanta ver colores, no importa donde los encuentro.

Aquí hay unas paletas de colores que hice de unas fotos de mi viaje a Guatemala.

Here are some color palettes from some of my photos from my recent Guatemala trip.

One of the gorgeous window in Antigua…

I love bougainvilleas in any color, but especially in magenta!

So many corner stores!  Lots of cell phone advertising; instead of hanging a sign, they paint your whole building!

I’m afraid that turtles are not my favorite animal, but the kids loved them….

There’s nothing like swinging in a hammock with the sea breezes floating past your bare feet.

I could just drink all these colors up!! ūüėČ