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Archive for the ‘What to Pack’ Category

like where’s the action? where are the tourists, diners and folks with the $$$?

maybe it’s just post Independence Day for Guatemalo and maybe it’s just a rainy Friday night…the air has gone out of the balloon and it’s starting to resemble a condom on the sidewalk.

the 5th Anniversary of the Bistro by Merced? doin’ fine but the owner not there at 7…Ron Fortin, he of the great sax…recently laid off per lack of business and talking of creating a new group of musicians with an ‘act’…the music scene in town has evaporatated, dispersed and taken a dive…Luke playing at the Escargot Room?…totally weird…Piano Mike and Moriah did one night at Caffe Bourbon, scheduled for two…2nd cancelled per lacka  $$…next time you see PM, ask him about this great/insane project he’s taken on..guaranteed to make your head spin, as it did a guy at the bar in o’Lot last night..

major congrats to Linnett D for selling another piece of art…no, she didn’t offer to buy me a drink..but that fact that anything is selling in town is a major accomplishment.

the Marvelous Miss M and girlfriend having dinner at dos Reilly’s..thanks, Ryan, for the free cocktail..it was raining, I left my umbrella at home and….thanks, dude..

the new ‘Tapas  Orientales’ place on 6th ave, norte? ..’Izakaya’? where Luna Miel used to be? I’m thinkin’ that their ‘ costillitas en BBQ China’ might be something to try…their’s is an interesting twist on menus..who knows?   and AyRobot? has Dan pulled the plug?  he mentioned looking for another place, closer in…Jungle Party is closed for 2-3 months…renovations and ‘seasons over’..

how much deader can things get?…MM has opened a gelato place/coffee bar next to La Casaca…great location..will gelato outsell Marco Polo or Sarita? or Helados Exoticos, Alex F’s great 40 flavors and counting?  Nido Anigua, Alex of Fusion’s place, looking xlnt…but empty…is it the rain or the season? bit of both, one suspects..’ran into Peter the G this morning…he’s touting the City as being the ‘place’ to be…from what I’ve heard about Zone One…i guess it’s time to get over my dislike for the ‘city’ and go take a look.

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and another opens: an old Mexican proverb which might apply to La Esquina, darkened for at least two nights in a row, same-o with Studio 35 but in 35’s case, workmen were seen bringing in lumber a few days ago…Frida”s the only cafe on that block doing tables tonight….even TacoUncontento doing biz…things goin’on around La Merced(what? )and a bride/groom posing with their wedding carriage on 5th. i admire their optimism…in my case, only too often t’was the triumph of hope over experience. A quote that Matt B shared with me, vis a vis a divorce attorney…”if you knew that the airplane had a 50% crash rate, would you fly in it?’

ok..La Esquina may well be gone…the old Deliciosa deli, on 3rd? workmen seen draggin’ in construction materiels…hmm…optimism rears it silly head once more in A-Town…about the only biz that’s gonna do well is  a pawn shop….pawn, not porn…well, if one could get a license…adult video/toy store! nuns in garter belts! but don’t get in the habit…drum roll..

Caffe Bourbon packed, with Piano Mike/Moriah furnishing their superb music..the guy on guitar,  early shift at O’Lot…and the Whiskey
Den, scene of disco hell last night? closed? yep…no word on who’s ‘idea’ that was….personally…’lame’…something better suited for The Lounge…and they can use any/all help…wonder how much they’re asking for the business? rotsa ruck trying to sell a business right now….this season hasn’t been exactly gangbusters…oops, wrong word…some business owners still touchy about the publicity of the night of the 18th…and they’re lucky that there wasn’t more coverage…ask me…you try to ‘pitch’ an editor of any travel guide/site about an article of Guatemala…’had one in the bag, the pipeline…first the headless folks in Peten, the Argentinian singer gets offed and so on..ad nauseum…and that’s right next to the museum and the mausoleum. i don’t know about you but the lack of ‘progress’, and the multiple story/event lines plus the non-apprehension of the Noche de Sangre players has me just a tiny bit spooked..
I’m watchng the shadows and the clusters of what might be…ah, hell..this sucks. Speaking of that, the PNC ‘dance’…this is all anecdotes…all firsthand..if you’re a gringo/gringa and look like target bait ($$$) and you’ve just done something that’s worthy of being stopped, here’s two varieties of responses…take out your phone, call someone and start repeating the names and badge numbers of those holding you..JM’s response to such..or hold out for a few hours until some amount of money is mentioned for the ‘fines’ and pay it..if it’s a vehicle bust, your papers will need to be in order..if it’s a gun bust and your papers aren’t in order, hasta la vista, baby..the PNC don’t appear to be proactive unless they smell money…we know by now that blood doesn’t count or mean jack s..t…yours, mine, guate’s or turistas..

Elle’s birthday tonight..she’s in Canada..probably never see her here again…’kind had that feeling but it was good when…no further ‘Roatan’ news but that’s how it goes when you’re in the legal system…it’s like gnawing your leg off when you’re caught in a bear trap..I’m hopin’ that it gets resolved, as i miss John…thanks, Paco, for the offer of a drink last night…rock on, La Pena de Sol..Latino…oops..’told some Guate’s about the translation…LAPDS’s version…’what?’…amuses me how words have multiple meanings here…like hueco…in costa rica, that’s a hole in the pavement…here? don’t ask, don’t tell..go read the http://plazapublica.com.gt article at Antigua…out on Sept 1..weird, just like thr British Embasy’s version…my only advice is to honk twice when you’re reloading..which reminds me: I need a spare clip for the new Beretta.

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some of them…here and there…it was a horrific night

Shaun of O’lot…whatta long day and a night of bad memories…’BTDT’ but it doesn’t make it any easier…Lava packed, Pangea doing biz up/down, Sobremesa doing some trade…i’m wondering if the new location hasn’t somehow changed the ‘draw’…time will tell..Peter the G’s burlesque show? killer…Lucy Lucious is  a natural and I’ve been watching strippers for 50+ years, dated a few hundred or so..she’s got ‘it’…Crystal DeLite? let’s just say ‘ambiguous gender’and leave it at that..

amy time, any where

Angies’ crankin’ up for some kinda mariachi event…but in the front room, where the wines are kept…Coppola’s most xlnt labels…

the 'diamond' series...

MT and JR having what appeared to be a ‘business dinner’ at Abassi…and the fez? a fake…i’ve owned too many…fuggedaboutit…TLG and the remainder of the Blue Dawgs at O’lot…jammin’ after Ron Sax Fortin did his xlnt gig..

in lieu of last nights events i confess that for the first time i felt somewhat unsafe in Antigua…not a rational,logical thought, mind you, but a quiver of uncertainty about one’s personal safety after dark,on the street.

 

the evening? El Muro off to a slow start…Sangre deader than dead…Ricardo’s Tabacos y Vinos packed..Studio 35/Gaia sucking…Queso y Vino doing their usual full weekend house full of Guate’s..El Sereno? serenely dead..wtf? marimbas on the steps of City Hall,playing into the night…’love this place..let’s hope that last nights random violence was exactly that…too wierd otherwise to consider..per michael tallon, the shooting range people will get back to me after the weekend..’his girlfriend is in town’..oh…that explains things..

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this Brigadoon/semi/DisneyLand we call home: five people ram-dumbly attacked in town last night…2 outside El Muro, one outside dos Reilly’s, one on 6th calle somewhere and the last? a guatemalteco who lost a lotta blood and an ear…one of Ocelot’s bartenders stabbed…no, not Camilla or Carla…that would’ve been cause of a public lynching.

blood in the street

four of the five were auslanders…one a Canadian, the other an Aussie…perfecto…first the ATM problem, which hasn’t stopped(BAC/antigua and the ATM at the Hotel Antigua this week)….looks like I’m personally gonna take proactive measures tonight…no, that bulge doesn’t mean that I’m happy to see you..where are the cops? where’s Adolfo? where’s this ‘mano duro’ stuff?

gotta wonder about the mind-set of the two assailants…drugs? more than likely…alcohol?…that’s a given…sounds like a bad PCP binge to me…not a lot of acid around and yeah..blow? yep…some kinda gang initiation ritual? has Antigua become the new Acapulco/Juarez?

one thing I am doing tonight….El Caminante’s Burlesque Show…featuring Lucy the Luscious, who’s become one of local FaceHole’s most popular ”friends’..jeez…whata week and it’s only Fried Day…’got the news/scoop from Robto De Oro re Edwin Chavez/and the missing diamond scales he ‘borrowed’ a year ago…they somehow ended up ‘on the river’ in Frank’s possession…the bad German version of Jack Palance…Ed, as usual, doing his verbal acrobatics…’should been an attorney, because you know when he’s lying…his lips move..thanks…a week of WTF? yep, you’d think I’d have known this…gotta stop channeling Polly Anna..no news(same story, different day) of the less than great Antigua Shooting Range…one wonders, one does..

and..there might just be good news re the Salty Beaver…shur as hell hope so..this hasn’t been a week of any kind of good newz…o please, let Lucy show up tonight..i could use some serious T&A..diversion, entertainment…I’ll keep you abreast of events…later..

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The rains are here…at last, at least in the afternoons and evenings…too late for the farmers and too late for the rivers: as a precaution, I’m keeping the ice cube trays full. Civil Defense, as we were taught, begins at home..Duck, Cover and pass the rum.

Manana…off to the Pacific Coast with she of the infectious grin(and parents)…hang by the pool, try to read, write and basically screw off(metaphorically speaking)for a couple of days…lets see..here’s some old photos..

what's her face and Dad...Alberto

what's her face and Dad...Alberto

‘just in from Hector’s 2nd Anniversary celebration of his restaurant…old and new customers and the delightful Rebecca, fresh from Manhattan…she fits in perfectly. .in a week or two she’ll be slingin’ plates and taking orders.

no other hot news…the immigration process is taking longer: and I’ve figured out that I can’t backdate the Beretta,since I don’t have a paper trail or a licensed seller of same…it will always be ‘hot’ and illegal,like some of my old girlfriends. The only difference being that they weren’t capable of going off 14 times in a few seconds(not that I didn’t try). …and don’t even think of ‘hair trigger’…the Examiner gig continues and they’re workin’ me to a frazzle…upload, jump thru hoops, add hyperlinks, crank the stats…you could pump it by going to www.examiner.com/x-22480-guatemala-travel-examiner  if you felt my pain and click on the subscribe button…no pain, no obligations and so on…I need the $$ and they’re only payin’ pennies…’might have to downgrade to a cheaper brand of rum(feel my pain)…if there’s an internet connection at the beach, I’ll try to keep the flow goin’..if not, imagine being by the pool, with umbrella drinks…pina coladas at sunset, cha cha cha….oh, and I”m drivin’….that should be amusing. Old folks in back,used to going along at 40 mph.

One last thing…we(Antigua)will be having another ex-pat from NYC moving here…he’s a perfect DOM(Dirty old man)who paints. I suggested that he take up the slack and become THE painter of nudes here…someone’s gotta do it and its a great gig…I will be the quality control person…hmm

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I had the best of intentions.  I would go to Puerto San Jose, do the charter boat marina, go to Puerto Quetzal for the cruise ships and talk with captains/boat drivers and get the story of being on the waterfront, hooking up those sail fish….alas…the shuttle from Antigua dropped me off at the offramp for San Jose and along came a ‘chicken bus’….hopped aboard, the gringo with suitcase and panama hat, and for 2 quetzals…downtown San Jose!  whoopee…no, less than whoopee…my hotel was a ways further and the tuk-tuks in town are not motorized…they’re pedal powered. ..add 200 lbs of gringo, a suitcase of maybe 30 lbs and the poor bastard had to huff and puff. The hotel, the Posada Quetzal, wasn’t quite what the photos on their web-site offered…a decent pool, good staff but the room I was given was reminiscent of a summer time campsite…thatched roof for a ceiling, bare fluorescent lights and a few bugs..rough wooden floors, no glasses, no ice and no towels: malo…I found a store/tienda across the street that had a dust-covered bottle of Ron Botran Anejo…so old that the cork broke off..half in the bottle, half out..a dip in the pool and a snooze later, I woke up in the early evening. Across the black sand of the football field were the lights of another hotel, right on the beach…Posada de Don Carlos…my kind of place.

I love beach scenes

I love beach scenes

I moved the next morning…my driver w/the 9mm and co-conspirator in nocturnal adventures, arrived about noon. A friend of his called, with an assortment of women to meet…we met, we drank another bottle of old rum(but with a good cork)and retired for a nap before meeting them later at their work place…I assumed, wrongly, that they worked in a club, a bar or such…nope…red lights, nude dancing and propositions of the more personal type…we’d stopped at the store for their last dusty-covered bottle of rum: by this time, the widow in black had seen me buy three bottles in 24 hours….hmm…a serious gringo….off to the club, which opened at 8 pm…no sign, no clue of the action inside…locked gate, admission only by permission…ah, good car, gringo..must be money inside…to be continued..must sleep and rest.

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These items are usually found throughout Mexico and Central America, where the plumbing may be less than desireable and the level of comfort lower than you may be used to.

Have no fear. With a few simple precautions and some minor adjustments you will have that hot shower or the cooler version when the heat and humidity demand a second rinse-off by noon. Note the adjustable slider button on the front of the device: all the way to the left is usually a black dot, with the middle being a blank oval and to the right a half black/half blank circle. These are the temperature settings. Do not adjust these when you are in the shower with the water running. The device uses AC electrical power to power a heating coil in the shower head, kind of like the heating element that you might use to heat a cup of tea at home. Note the wiring, which is usually haphazardly taped together from the external lamp cord that they probably spliced into earlier. Do not touch this!

Turn on the water slowly, allowing the heating element to do its job and warm the water to your desired temperature and then you can enter the shower. Once in, it is safe to increase or decrease the water pressure for changes in temperature. Turning it off is also safe. The key to your shower safety lecture is to remember that you do not want to be fiddling with an electrical circuit while standing in water..yes, it’s probably only 110 volts but save your needs for electrolysis or having your permanent re-done until you’re in the hands of a professional. 

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