Guatemala Travel Stories, Page 18

Earthquake Haitian Born American Citizen Interview

Interview with John Coulange who was in Port-au-Prince, Haiti during the earthquake. He explains what happens and how people can help Haiti.

This is a unique person, because John is able to speak English, and the essential Haitian Creole language. Even though I spent two months in Haiti prior to the Earthquake, I was never able to speak simply with Haitian Citizens because this obscure language.

John explains an idea of his whereby Government and Non-Governmental Organizations could set up services in small cities around the country and help to stop citizens moving to the capital of Port-au-Prince which is over-populated.

Panajachel, Guatemala --- Tuesday, March 16, 2010
By Andy Graham of


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Earthquake Haitian Born American Citizen Interview

Bedbug Sniffing Dogs

I read that Dogs can help people to detect Bedbugs in Hotels by smelling them out, I am not going to celebrate this news.

I have a list of annoying animal type problems in Hotels

First: Ants
Second: Mosquitoes
Third: Cats
Fourth: Dogs
Fifth: Chickens
Sixth: Bedbugs

As you can see, Bedbugs is low on the list.

Panajachel, Guatemala --- Monday, March 15, 2010
By Andy Graham of


Excuses by Owners of Hotels
The last thing I want to hear from an owner of a Hotel is,
"I have the Dogs to detect Bedbugs."
I already hear too many excuse for these mongrels, I will move out of a hotel because of Dogs or Cats, they are not acceptable in my world.

Pet Lovers
Pet Lovers are akin to Smokers, they believe everyone around them must accept them or something is wrong with them. Dogs and Cats love me, if I even left the door open for a minute, they will move into my room and set up housekeeping, mark their territory and become my best friend whether I like it or not.

I do understand that Dogs are needed for security in many countries, however very few owners clean up after the dogs properly and cats for sure are unacceptable in Hotels.

I was walking down the road yesterday with my friend Chris, a dog was trying to walk up close to me; it wanted to be my friend. I said to Chris,
"This Dog is going to get some operant conditioning in a minute."

For those of you that were business major and avoided Psychology 101, click here to read.

We must teach the business majors to talk, I am sure there is some form of operant conditioning that can be utilized.

Bedbug Sniffing Dogs

Do Not Become a Travel Writer

I do read travel writers. I do not think of myself as a travel writer, I am a person who loves to travel and needs money. I do not like to read travel writing, I do not fantasize, I do not sit around dreaming about other countries, I think I am happy with my life. There is only one good reason to read travel writers, to plan your next vacation.

There is a rash of web sites promoting people to become travel writers. I think this is almost negligent, bridging on being a swindle. I am not sure how to describe this movement; however, I know they are not looking out for your best good.

First, admit to yourself, your first priority is to travel, not to be a writer. Alternatively, admit to yourself you want to be a writer, or maybe you want to be a webmaster.

Panajachel, Guatemala --- Sunday, March 14, 2010
By Andy Graham of


Travel Writing is Cliché Writing
I read or skimmed a Lonely Planet book on how to be a travel writer, the one point they make continuously as many travel writers wrote their opinions.
"Do not be cliché."

However, in my opinion, to be a famous travel writer, you need to be cliché, because you are going to write to sell tours, airplane tickets and hotel room. The last thing you can be is honest, you must write in a politically correct manner that makes advertisers happy.

My Success
My success is more about being an internet Webmaster, than being a writer, to do what I do, you have to be able to combine these three skills.

First: Webmaster
Second: Writer
Third: Photographer

If you do not want to be a Webmaster, than I am not sure, you can do what I do, writing alone is not going to make enough money, and I make money because of my webmaster skills, not because of my writing skills.

Writers must become famous, they need to self-promote until their fame sells whatever they write, or write a book. Paper books is an easier way to make money than writing for the internet, I do hope people get this clear in their heads. I am not a travel writer; I am webmaster who writes a lot so he has content that readers can find in

I am toying constantly with the formula needed to make money as a writer, I do not know how to make enough money as a writers. However, in my opinion, if I wanted to become a famous writer, I would make a press kit, walk into every newspaper I ever ran upon and hand them ready-to-publish articles about me.

Now, the key here, go do something before you think of yourself as famous, truly being you is not something; it is the doers in life who make the money.

Many of my temporary readers become incredibly angry when I do not write cliché and politically correct as they was expecting from a travel writer. I am a writer who travels, I do this writing thing as a self-discovery tool, it is truly enlightening to hear yourself talk.

I want to give you insights in how to make money to travel...

Do Not Become a Travel Writer

Eco-Gossip on Lago Atitlan Guatemala

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."
- George Orwell

The world is going to end tomorrow, maybe today, and for sure within the next billion years, then gain, maybe it is 10 billion years. When I hear eco-gossip, I assume the person also knows a few conspiracy theories.

The current gossip, the current noise is that the lake is polluted, I read about 10 pages on the internet and as best I wish to understand, they lake has a type of algae called: Cyanobacteria

Behind all the words, what I think the lake has is pond scum, maybe called algae, about the same as any normal lake.

Panajachel, Guatemala --- Saturday, March 13, 2010
By Andy Graham of


Hippie Dippie Concentration
The hippie dippie concentration here on Lago Atitlan is at saturation point, therefore as best I can tell; the hippies are ruling the roost. (Old men and women walking around who look like they have AIDS are everywhere in Pana.)

Eco-Gossip is Good
This is sort of political correctness applied to ecology issues, and what is good; they make people afraid to visit one of the more beautiful lakes on the planet. I am hoping they scare off all the tourist, keeping them from looking at Lago Atitlan.

Can eco-gossip do harm, I am not sure it is possible, because the more they talk, the more we clean up the environment, I suppose I should keep my mouth shut. There is no reason to be reasonable when people are making noise like false prophets; they are still speaking in the name of good ecological practices.

Water Research
I called up a water-testing laboratory in Illinois, a man named Pete told said,
"Andy, you cannot send water to the USA to be tested."
"Within 24 half the problems will be dead."
"Within 48 hours 80 percent of problems will be solved."

I want to see a person walking around with a water testing kit; I mean the good one, not some toy.

"Guatemala currently is suffering from a severe famine from a long drought (climate change), peoples priority is to eat, to feed their children and their families."

I read a plausible article on this algae problem, and then the writer wrote that quote: oops, a telltale sign of her perspective.
By Barbara Schieber

Fun stuff this Eco-Gossip, I just watched that movie 2012, a great movie, and a good story, the moral of the story, gossip sells, keep it up, one of these days it will implode.

Eco-Gossip on Lago Atitlan Guatemala

Were Slaves Taken Back to Africa After Civil War

I was told the other day,
"After the United States Civil War ended, the U.S. Government paid ships owners to take some of the slaves back to Africa. Instead of taking them back, they just stopped down in the Caribbean Islands and dropped them off."

I wrote a post while in Haiti, saying I can see the faces of West Africa in the faces of the Haiti people, I recognized the look of these people because I traveled for one year in West Africa.
West Africa Slavery

Panajachel, Guatemala --- Friday, March 12, 2010
By Andy Graham of


Man from Bristol, England
Then, another tourist I met hung his head in shame and said,
"Bristol, the place where I am from in England was one of the locations where many of the slavery ships came from."
I said,
"I am 100 impressed with the city of Bristol, I saw their slave museum, I think it is amazing that a few businesspeople in Bristol could take wood ships and almost conquer the oceans."
"Whether Slavery, Pirates or Privateers, they did a great job."
Moreover, I then added,
"Slavery was a huge business in Africa for 500-1000 years, when it ended, prosperity for the African chiefs ended. These Black Chief were in the business of slavery, they are the ones who suffered the most, not the whites."
And do not feel sorry for the USA Blacks,
"Now days you cannot even talk African Americans in even thinking about visiting Africa, half way going back to live, they seem to be ashamed to be from Africa."

Gossip History
One of my greatest joys is to listen to history of the world as told to me by other tourist or travelers. Truly written documents are considered more important than reality, because a person has written a book, it somehow is the truth.

Very few books are written without an agenda, reality and truth is rewritten in about 90 percent of books to support the cause of the dingaling writing the book. I am nervous when I talk about anything that happened 500 years ago, I was not there, I know everyone is lying, how could I even begin to feel confident, there is always another person with another view that is plausible. However, every day of the week I hear a person tell me facts, I know they do not understand very few facts are truly facts, they are just opinions represented as facts so long, the history books write them down, and forget to check them.

Were Slaves Taken Back to Africa After Civil War

Take Great Photos after Rain Stops

I want to remember this, I will tell myself.

"Andy, If it rains all day in a city, pay attention, if and when the sun comes back, the skies could be exceptionally clear and blue. This would be a great day to take photos, remember to walk around and take photos after the rain stops."

Thanks Andy for the reminder.

Panajachel, Guatemala --- Friday, March 12, 2010
By Andy Graham of


I was in Sosua, Dominican Republic during the months of January and February 2010. It rained about 2-3 out of every 7 day week while I was there. There was an annoying amount of rain, truly inhibited lying in the sun or talking photos.

After a rather long 4 days of rain, the sun came out, and suddenly I could see the small mountains or hills in the background of this photo.

I suppose, if when you arrive at a location, take a gander at the horizon, try to evaluate how far you can see, and think to yourself,
"Is there something there that would enhance photos?"

When there is contrast in a photo, it helps to highlight the main subject of a photo.

Take Great Photos after Rain Stops

Letting Go of the World Travel Tip

The Conundrum of travel is, to enjoy travel a person should try to let go, because trying to understand ruins the trip. The world is too large, too mysterious, and too grand to be understood, it can only be experienced, and we can have interesting conversations about what we observed.

I meet many tourists, and a few wanna be travelers, invariably upon learning I have traveled for 12 years and visited 88 countries, they want to know.

What should I do in this country, which country is your favorite, where should I go? There is something about modern man who cannot relax and enjoy life, and they must make work of enjoyment. The prime directive of travel is to enjoy yourself; you do not need to make a todo list.

Panajachel, Guatemala --- Thursday, March 11, 2010
By Andy Graham of


Todo List
I think of books like
"1000 places to see before you die.",000_Places_to_See_Before_You_Die

I can see how this book would be useful, a person could check out the places recommended for one country before they left to visit a country, but generally just another todo list you will not complete, as if we need more guilt in our lives…

Although, I do promote a Bucket List, I do not suggest or promote the idea of trying to visit 1000 places or even making a short list, it is much better to wander through countries, without a care in the world.

Guilt Make a Horrible Traveler
I feel no guilt, I try to not feel guilty, I do my best. And I try to have great self-talk, when a person ask me,
"What are you going to do today?
I say
"Try my best to do nothing."

I just wander from thought to thought, I write this Travel Journal about some random thought that comes to my mind in the morning, and it is easier to write when I do not plan.

Some people say
"Let go and let God."
I can see this, but why do we need to give him a todo list, but it is the same idea, please get rid of all these long todo list we will never complete.

Letting Go of the World Travel Tip

2006 March 9 Enter Guatemala Leave Dominican Rep

2006 March 10 Enter Guatemala Leave Dominican Rep

No matter where you go, "you will be there,"
- Diane wrote this in a email a few days ago…

I woke up in Sosua, Dominican Republic and went to sleep in Panajachel, Guatemala, I am here, I am not there. I have traded one square concrete room with light bulb in the ceiling for another one, all is the same, but my world has rotated on it’s axis.

Panajachel, Guatemala --- Wednesday, March 10, 2010
By Andy Graham of


I got myself started, and I could not stop, I am not sure there is reason to explain, yesterday was a good challenge, a test of my fortitude, I wanted to change channels on my world, and I did so, in the course of 48 hours I have left one culture and joined another.

Walked to Bus in Sosua
Bus from Sosua to Santiago 160 Pesos
Collective Taxi to crossing 15 Pesos
Collective Mini Van going to La Vega drops me off at road to Airport 20 Pesos
Collective Taxi takes me to Airport 15 Peso
25 Dollars paid to Dominican Republic Immigration for 55 days in country.
Copa Air Flight from Santiago to Guatemala 430 US Dollars
Change plane in Panama
Enter a Taxi to Antigua, Guatemala for 20 Dollars.
Talk the man down from 125 US Dollars to 60 US, we go to Pana
120 Kilometers in fog, I fall asleep in Posada Don Carlos at 2:00 am Sosua time and I am still not sure, but I think 12 Guatemala time.

Door to Door 16 Hour Journey

Wherever I go, I will be here.

2006 March 9 Enter Guatemala Leave Dominican Rep

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