Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mom Pitteroff Comes to Guatamala City and the Rio Dulce!

We were lucky enough to have Mom Pitteroff come to visit us for the month of October.  It was a long trip to get to Guatemala City so we decided to spend the night at a hotel before we headed back to the Rio Dulce.   Mike and I stayed here for a few days before Mom arrived to get some shopping done for items you just can't find in the town of Fronteres. 

We  stayed at Las Torres Hotel in Zone 10, Guatemala City.  It was a great old Hotel however, be sure to make your reservations via email so that you get a confirmation.  If you click on the link for Las Torres Hotel, you will find an article about the hotel.  It is an old article, because now no one speaks English and we never met anyone named Jorge. We arrived after a 5 hour bus ride, tired and thirsty, to find they didn't have our reservation. Arggghh!  We were told they were full but had a reservation for Maria Maria to arrive at 3:00 PM and if they didn't show we could have that room. Mike and I are thinking Maria Maria, really, don't you think that could be our room and a mistake in the name was made...LOL.  I made the reservations by phone and the girl I spoke with had a limited amount of English and I of Spanish.  We went across the street to the Holiday Inn to see if they had a room just in case, they did it was very expensive but at least we knew we wouldn't be on the streets that night.  Across the street from Las Torres is a bar called Cheers, the awning of the building looks exactly like the awning of the Television sitcom Cheers.  So off we went to Cheers to quench our thirst and await our fate.  It turns out Maria Maria didn't show up and we had ourselves a room.  Yippee!  Below is a picture of the main stairwell of the hotel.  I loved this chair, it was very comfortable.

While in Guatemala City we looked up some friends from Marathon.  Louis and Hiro worked with Mike for a few years. Louis works at a hospital in the City and it was just a few blocks from Las Torres Hotel.  After they finished work that day we all went for a late lunch at San Martin Bakery and Cafe, delicious food, and caught up with them.  They are great guys!
Louis, Hiro & Mike
While waiting for Mom we spent the days trying to find the stores we wanted to shop at.  We were looking for clothes, hardware, items for boat maintenance and food to eat while we were staying here.  The first store was Walmart's to find some food and maybe clothing.  There were 2 Malls within walking distance of the hotel but they were just like walking into a Mall in the USA with Spanish writing.  Everything was super expensive so we ditched the idea of buying clothes there and went to the Cinema. They do have some movies that play in English with Spanish subtitles. 

We had found out that when in the City try to take the yellow taxis because they are metered and much cheaper than the white taxis which are for tourists.  If you get a white taxi you have to negotiate a price before you get in because they will try to charge you as much as they can.  We took a yellow taxi to the Walmart and did our shopping.  When we were done it was pouring rain and we called the yellow taxi number to get a cab.  I thought I had managed to relay where we were and that we needed a Taxi to pick us up.  Feeling a bit proud of myself, we sat back and waited and waited and waited...uh oh...something might have gone wrong in the translation.  My head bowed in disappointment, Mike went in search of someone who spoke English to help us out.  He went into a travel agency and found two Spanish speaking women (no English) and managed to relay our problem.  They called a taxi for us. As it turns out we had contacted them and they had come, we were just waiting in the wrong place.  There was a taxi station at the other end of the parking lot.  We go to the other end of the parking lot and wait by the taxi stand.  Soon, an unmarked vehicle parks in the Taxi spot and a guy comes over to us and says Taxi? We said yes and got into an unmarked non metered car.  We tried to bargain the price but he said there was too much traffic and rain so we paid a higher amount.  We are not sure it was really a Taxi or someone the ladies knew who could make a couple extra bucks. Either way probable not our smartest decision to get in but we made it back to the hotel.  We were glad to get home. Our next shopping day would center around finding a Home Depot type store.  We found out that there is a chain of stores here similar to Home Depot called Cemaco.  I search the Internet for a close location and wrote the name and location of the store to show the taxi driver.  Well.....oops, I wrote the location of a store that was in another part of town, far away, it was called Pradera Concepcion. So we went for a ride, LOL, we were getting kind of nervous because it was taking so long.  On the map I saw on the Internet it was just a couple miles away.  Our taxi driver noticed our nervousness and tried to communicate it was okay we were going exactly where I had written down.  Finally we arrived and it was exactly where I had told him to go.  It cost a few extra dollars but it was a nice store and was attached to another Mall so we shopped and had a great lunch.  The taxi driver gave us his card to call him when we were ready and told us where to wait so we were confident we would get home and we did!  We had our fill of Malls and was ready to get Mom and go home. Finally, after 5 days of running around different parts of the City it was time for Mom to get here.  I had forgotten about Mom having to go through Customs when she arrived and had told her to just wait in baggage claim until I found her.  Oh my, when I realized my mistake she was already in flight and I couldn't reach her.  I left a message on her cell phone but wasn't sure if she would get it.  She didn't...she tried to wait in the baggage claim area but was told in Spanish that she had to leave.  Finally, someone who spoke English came out and explained she had to go through the Customs.  Poor Mom she just thought something was happening in the airport and they were evacuating everyone.  She was quite happy when she finally saw us and so were we!

Next morning we are up and having breakfast at that great restaurant San Martin Bakery and Cafe.   The food there is really delicious, especially the breakfast.  The had a lot of entrees Mom is having the breakfast burrito.
Back home on the Rio Dulce we take Mom out to find the Howler Monkeys that live in the Jungle.  We first had breakfast at Mar Marina.
Unfortunately, we did not get very good pictures of the Howler Monkeys that we did see.  If you look at the picture below it is the black blob in the middle of the picture.  We didn't see many but we could here them loud and clear.  It was a fun trip anyway.
We spent most of the day showing Mom the different waterways through the jungle looking for Howler Monkeys.
Admiral Mom has a special seat in the front of the dinghy.

We took mom on a trip to Castillo de San Felipe a fort dating back to 1644.   It's a great fort to explore, we have other pictures in previous posts.

It's very hard to see, but if you look in the picture below you will notice that Mom is standing in about a foot of water.  It is the rainy season here so the place was flooded. These were the dungeons where the prisoners were kept. It is very dark inside and you need a flashlight to see.  The one I brought didn't work, of course, so we flashed our way through with the camera. 
Thanks for coming to visit Mom we had a BLAST!  We love you!!!!
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Cheers Kim and Mike

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