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Archive for the ‘El Salvador’ Category

Reuters, whom I kinda respect, had a short note re the 5.5 quake today…”located 47 miles southwest of the ……poor Central American….”  great…more bad press for Guatemala, just like the shooting of the 5 or 6 peasants upcountry last week…loved the photo of the paunchy Colonel and his perp expression.

and yes, another earthquake of the financial sort in town…reportedly(unverified but i’m not surprised)the revamping of what was the Casbah Project is dead in the water..’totally, dude’…as in gonzo, doors closed, the deals off, hasta la vista, baby…great, another Antigua landmark, another hole in the street for 5th Avenida Norte.

if you like car races and what red-blooded man doesn’t, November the 11 at the Cofino Autodrome is the next scheduled loop de loop…per Richard Neel,  anyway….and if spandex is high on your list, this is a very very good place to check it out...

yep…it’s a tough job but someone’s gotta do it. I would but it conflicts with my trip to El Salvador, but if you want to borrow my press pass…lemme know..it’ll get you into the pits and its good for ‘interviews’..phone numbers, names…cha cha cha..and there’s cars, also!

so…5t ave norte is now even more of a ghost town….poor Angel and her Djinn, exiled to the frozen wastes of Sangre…are they ever going to take down the long dead/gone Estrella sign? oops..now they ‘re offering ‘breakf ast for two..50q! o boy…ever wonder or think about what happens to the leftover/unsold food in restaurants? the beans are beans, the eggs will keep and the pancake batter is stable…but the salad, the vegetables, fruit and meats? so, another what was a classy joint is gone and the town takes another metaphorical poke in the eye…let’s see…El Sereno, Mito’s and a few others…how do they stay open? None of this really means much of anything….I walk by and wonder, that’s all…ah, Cebollinas now offering free margaritas to the ladies, Thursday nights, 6-9 (I think) so, put on your wig hat, muu muu and check it out. I would but Johnny’s Place this Thursday/Friday is where I’ll be….need some beach time, etc..Antigua is boring me lately,  frankly…Scarlett..

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is it ever gonna stop? yeah, every one says another week…two weeks…what the hell do they know? I know that I’ve got mold on the hat band of my favorite old black fedora,if not also on my mind…my mind.. what’s on, my mind? not much(typical)

Caffe Bourbon,now offering hamburgers…o tired cliche, o tired menu item…Pietra,what was on the saure, moved a block south, by Mono Loco…rotsa luck…another hope/dream/idiotic scheme moving into the previous space..

http://www.examiner.com/article/the-lady-psychologist-and-her-magic-horse?cid=db_articles

yeah, this isn’t my usual ‘beat but it’s different…whore’s therapy..no…dammit,spel chuk..’horse therapy’ and damned interessting..more to follow, once the rains quit in the morning and i can shoot better photos..if it were the previous, rather than the latter, i’d be thinkin’ of going out to the Jet Set (and I am)for some ‘indepth interviews’..looks like a run to Monterrico next weekend,compliments of Johnny’s Place/Yann…yey! I hadn’t known, for example, that he’d gotten married(why am i always the last to know?)for a little update and time off…right, the hectic schedule of being rained on, morning, noon and night…the only bright spot is that I’m still on Umbrella #1, a first..gave the real 1st one away to MDC of Salon Creativo, a few months ago..

The Great Antigua Bus Tour? yes..finally, finally got to ride the tour today…I like it, better than the previous incarnation..story goes that next week is their ‘Grand Inauguration’..this week, they’re getting the kinks worked out, etc..the water’s back on is all of town..finally..pipes hooked up, etc..

Who is the very tasty, usually very well dressed babe that knocks on Jades Antigua(upper 5th)at 8am?  she’s an early morning vision, whoever she is.

if I count my chickens/quetzals, I’m off to El Salvador next month…couple of days in my favorite city, San Salvador, catch up with Dan of Lips, maybe an outing to some Mayan ruins I haven’t seen..and a special thanks to Robto de Oro, for parachuting in some much needed $$ following the demise/loss of my debit card…maybe,just maybe next weekend I’ll have a replacement.. so, if i hit you up for a few $$, that’s why..from the looks of the FB ads, Mario is whipping up the crowds at La Sala..a good thing..that part of town may well be the new ground zero, given the demise of upper 5th avenida..funny how things shift, eh? different crowds, different times,…Zone One, long the garbage pit of the City now becomes the new hot spot..good for Henrik et al for seeing this and goin’ forward…altho now that Neil Craig has his own joint, who’s gonna cook at the  new/improved pub at what was Casbah? and are they ever gonna open? oops..not s’posed to write about this stuff…’scandalous babble material’

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‘just kidding..actually it’s a beautiful day in A-Town and we’re all lucky to live here, even Darth Vader. At about 10:30 on upper 7th I’m waiting for the library to open and across the street? some guy in a complete Darth Vader costume…cape, boots and helmet, striding towards town..for what/where, who knows?  it was kinda surreal like watching John in the metallic blue helmet being pulled along by his dobermans (he has 8, he says)..

so, scandalous babble? more? i saw a tourist lady this morning with designer shopping bags(she’d bought stuff from some store that gave them away)and i was struck by it…usually in a tourist town, people buy stuff and walk around with their gift bags. The last time i saw this was in Aug/Sept, when the $alvadorenos where in town(as they were this weekend)…the only thing I see is people eating ice cream and drinking coffee. I’m beginning to wonder if Antigua is close to ‘flat-lining’…as of a year ago, there was music every night of the week, somewhere…today? where? I know that nostalgia isn’t what it used to be but as of ’08 when i landed, this was an exciting place, with a vibrant nightlife…today? walk around at night and count tables, count the heads on the Finca Azotea/Filadelfia shuttles, talk with the tour guides…or the street vendors…the lights are out in many a bar/restaurant and those that are open are sweating the evening’s cash flow.

Know that for over 30 years I’ve done offshore consulting, feasibility studies and trend analysis, either as an appraiser or a writer for subscription-based newsletters and the last 6-7 years exclusively in Central America..I personally love Antigua and Guatemala but selling an article on either? uphill…if not impossible..why? bad press,  image and so on..this year? down the tubes, $$ wise for Antigua..INGUAT doesn’t have a clue or a budget and the…no THE  year that they could’ve done something(2012!)…what? tis sad…to me, at least but..the upside is that we don’t have to deal with the crowds, like Semana Santa…I’ve watched a business owner on 5th for the last 4 years…first he sold his horses, then his Mercedes and then the Land Rover…a good location, product and ambience…why? the economy…local, up north and in Europe…and it ain’t over…the States are hosed, for a long long time..Europe isn’t looking so good and so on…tighten your belts, local merchants…maybe Christmas will see some kinda improvement…if you have clients from the City with $$, schmooze ’em…otherwise you’re just selling beer while they’re watching the game and personally I don’t see the numbers (PC’s aka pouring costs)adding up in your favor. 

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I may need one, sooner or later. The added 4 or 5 blocks to town and the extra tuk-tuk trips seem to have caused a PITA…pain in the ass..yeah, i know…so what else is new? not much…nostalgia just isn’t what it used to be, as I’m reflecting on the quietness of Antigua these days.

When I moved here, there was opera, faires, festivals…the Gallo Girls, the Brahva Babes and a host of other spandex-encased models for this and that…yeah, there was more broken beer bottles and puke on the sidewalks..it was all part of the charm(to me, anyway)..one by one, the lights are going out,places are closing, the music scene isn’t happening….did the Antiguenos get what they wanted? a slow, sleepy and antiseptic town? hey, you Salvadoreanos! Come back to Antigua…no shootings, stabbings or…watch TV in your room and….

 

Walter Fischer (ex-INGUAT)says that they(he and his 3 partners)are going to have a ‘grand opening thing in 10 days (or so)…cocktails at the Palacio and a Press trip to check out the new route…they’re adding Finca Filadelfia to Juan Carlos’ old/original route..talking of 4 buses eventually but if the shuttles to Finca Azotea and the Finca Filadelfia are any clue (mostly empty) that may be premanure…no, premature..

thank you, KDP, for sharing memories of what Antigua used to be..alas, Riki’s…a franchise? Ixcot shoud be so lucky, they’re so dead…again, how/why could owners with 16 years in the Tex-Mex biz not see the advantage and take the ‘crepe’ route? and where’s Adan, the great Cuban pianist? aside from he and Ron Fortin…Nelson’s in San Francisco, recording stuff..Cadillac Hotel/Eddy Street/Tenderloin…scruffy…

per La Prensa, Da Mayor is sharing space in the same facility as Alfonso Portillo and other illustrious captives…’wonder if they get to talk with each other…gotta be some great conversations, eh? has Adolfo been given a change of clothes since last week?..a Colom sighting on a plane from Honduras this week: I didnt know that there were contracts out on him for past dirty deeds…Colom? that mild-mannered dude? something about Black Thursday..I can see putting out a contract on Sandra, if only for being ugly, stupid and so on..oh, and power hungry…ever think about what she looks like without makeup?

have a great weekend…i’m having a weak end(PITA) bring me a whoopee cushion, Santa..

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thanks to some long time Antiguenos and today’s La Prensa coverage of Adolfo’s Big Fuck-Up, I have a clearer picture of the whole/hole…’blame it on the toluene I might’ve sucked yesterday, spraying the latest batch of book holders or the frenzy of chisme that swirls around this town. The consensus appears that ‘he’ was more than the usual ‘skim the funds’ kinda mayor…it was the size of the skim-job, setting new standards in being rapacious, new levels in being audacious…hey, he dressed well, even in handcuffs. As mentioned, he’s in the can for a long holiday weekend, one way or the other. Of course, he blamed it on ‘politics’ and says there’s no proof…but since they removed him from the Patriot Party (Manos Limpia), took away his immunity, found several accomplices (wanna bet it’s gonna be ‘make a deal and walk’ time?) Maybe Gautemala is really thinking seriously about cleaning up the politicians and/or this case was too big to ignore (B)..

a note from one of my two favorite NGO’s, From Houses to Homes…Joe Collins, founder, is in the States for treatment of a return of a dreaded illness…you wouldn’t want it, believe me, but he says he’s getting better and plans on returning to Antigua whence he’s cured.

If you were in the Mercado early, even  the back parking areas were packed with buses…there can’t be anyone left anywhere, in any of the aldeas/villages because they’re all here today, milling around downtown(I left), thinking that peace/quiet/tranquillity might be achieved at the finca…almost…the Stadium, west of me and downhill, is ground zero for marching bands(drums/noise) you know, back when I was a boy (Eisenhower)band ‘people’ were nerds…here, if you can play the drum, xylophone or some kinda noise making device, you’re kinda like the jocks used to be…work, job, career? drum 101, A+…right, take a seat, we’ll call you. 

count our blessings, I s’pose…per La Prensa, another van of tourists was hijacked…10 this time and 20 last month, on their way to Tikal…fabulous, great…another poke in the eye for Guatemalan tourism: come see the Mayan ruins and get robbed..o boy, this’ll play well in Keokuk or Bakersfield.

Maybe the $alvadoreanos will come back to Antigua this weekend, since the coast is clear…well, now it is, now that the giant ash clouds from Fuego have drifted off…maybe City Hall needs a new song…”Pop Goes the Weasel”…the drums, the drums…may go out again, may not…so? so what?  have a great weekend, avoid the crowds(some might picka you pocket)

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the rain…drizzle drizzle…kept me in(and probably just as well, you say)..however the Bacardi Anejo and espresso kinda make up for it.

 

Walter Fischer and his partners, who picked up Juan Carlos’ defunct Antigua Bus Tour, have repainted the bus(his says they’re adding another 3) and…so on and so on..the bus is being seen driven around town, which is a start.

And you thought that times are hard? my favorite newspaper vendor is selling off her personal jewelry…lotta silver, some gold

 

So? the 2nd or 3rd Festival de Maiz (Corn Fest) that I’ve been to…I ran into an ex-INGUAT official who didn’t know anything about it…I asked an Antigua-born guide about it..zip, nada..for people who are in the tourism business, one would assume, etc.

news from our wandering troubador, Nelson Lunding..he’s way up on the northern california coast, in places that few of us have ever been to, much less heard of..#1..point Arena? #2 Gualala?..I know ’em both..big deal, right? WTF in either case..too far south to pick up any of the Emerald Triangle aka dope biz from Humboldt..who knows?

the ‘Perfessor aka Mike Donley, checking in from the Pacific northwest…says he’s ‘sold’ his boat’…o please, God…the two happiest days for a boat owner are the day they buy it and the day they sell it..s’posed to be back in A-Town around the end of October and a good thing…at least two ‘professional women’ have confused the two of us…as being the one and same…since my hands are clean, my conscience clear, it’s gotta be him..

final thoughts on a rainy Friday night and a conversation with a pub owner re: nightlife..the Three Aces in Hyderabad, Athens/Mykonos, the Bulldog/Amsterdam, El Gato Tueto/Havana, Lips/San Salvador, Hotel Del Rey/San Jose, Club Exotic/Reykejvik, The Library, ‘Vegas, (fuggedabout Crazyhorse II), Patpong Street, Bangkok, Copa de Oro, Juarez and for local color, Club Exceso in Xela..Antigua well never catch up or come back to what it might once have been: get over it. The Beige Patrol runs it. 

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In the morning the Mayan ladies gathered in the park…being interviewed, tape-recorded and photographed from afar…surly PNC troops lurked a few blocks away: were they concerned that the ladies would riot and flog them with necklaces and fabrics?..a later gathering around 5ish…I’m expecting a march this week. The FNL could/would use this as another excuse to gather in front of City Hall and demand justice(or media coverage).Why are they being punished for making a little money and feeding their children?

A sad event on upper 6th avenida..the wake/funeral for four young Antiguenos, snuffed out on their way home from the beach yesterday…supposedly a chicken bus driver, on his phone, etc…street packed with mourners…packed, all in black..

thanks, Sunshine Grill, for the slice of pizza wrapped in plastic..taking a clue from the ladies who walk with stuff on their heads, I made it home in Drizzle #2 with at least my head(bald)dry…wtf? at 5:30, Ocelot gets slammed with 20 gringos? Dan at the bar, totally ‘whelmed..

and yes, thanks for recommending that I go by La Canoa and have a further look at the art..know that I proudly have an original watercolor, limited edition, hanging over my bed and that I’ve collected serious art for several decades. I also think that we all have our strengths and weaknesses..mine is, for example..I can’t write dialogue…fiction yes..dialogue nunca..if its any consolation I also think that the Barfly Hall of Fame in a certain saloon coulda been done by a better cartoonist/artist than as it was…but again..it’s all just my opinion…if I’ve offended, it wasn’t personal but…well, i apologize for any hurt feelings…this town? instant chisme..and my opinion of the changes at what was a classy joint called Casbah? the pool tables are nice..purple cloth..cues gleaming, balls racked just so..I don’t get the concept…how do three pool tables crank $$ and go head to  head with Red’s, around the corner? but…know that when ‘sports bars’ came into being during the 80’s/90’s, they were hot..I find them lame…hey! Lance Armstrong!…NASCAR! whoa! being in a country where the only sport is futbol…and badmitten/speed walking?

‘sorry about the 4 kids who got wiped out yesterday…judging from the crowd it was a major impact..
The ‘El-Mo Show’?…went to Costa Rica on Sunday…i think they were in the airport in El Salvador today, moaning about TACA(take another chance  airlines)…are they going back to Toronto?  yeah..sometime…if john wasn’t in Malta, I’d put them together(he’s from Toronto also)…I can only imagine Elle’s expression being in Dan’s most xlnt strip club, Lips…I like Mo…they’re an excellent match.

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