Irregular Posts; Cruise Miami to San Diego – Pacific

Antigua and Sea Friday, May 6, 2016 Buenas! Pastel terracotta walls, polished round cobbles, volcano rising into clouds; we are back.  It feels comfortable familiar.   But disoriented!  Landmarks on the way into the city?  I recognized none as we arrived from the southwest not the northeast like last time. The bigbus from the cruise ship left Puerto Quetzal in heat and humid.  Passing coal piles for power plants and then the cane fields, it followed slow trucks up into the highlands.  Poor villages that supply workers to the coffee plantations slipped past the window.  Coffee plants under the shade trees.  Green; a relief from the featureless blues and grays and whites of the Pacific above Panama. We approached Antigua from the southwest.  Eight years ago we approached from the northeast, from Guatemala City.  Now our bigbus left its tourists out at the Jade Museum.  We didn’t recognize the neighborhood from that side of the museum.  Wrong turn; walk-about. Turn the corners.  Look for familiars.  Soon we come to a place where locals gathered to sit and visit and talk, “Union Park”, surrounded by two churches, some tiendas with food and goods, and a very old yellow terra cotta building with fountain/basins for washing clothes.   The last visit had local Mayan women doing their laundry; today workmen are cleaning these colonial public basins and fountain.  At all the main tourist spots; museums, parques, landmarks and on the main streets, short costumed Mayan women trying to sell the textiles to the tourists.   Men trying to sell local jewelry. Ah YES, back again.  But I feel the “sprintness” of an excursion tour. ...

Irregular Posts; Bhutan

Saturday November 14, 2015        Trongsa Kuzugangbo la, The road to Trongsa is HORRENDOUS. 160 km of 12 foot wide road clinging to almost vertical mountain sides a “thousand” feet above the unseen valley. They are repairing it and widening it. The power shovels jumble massive and small boulders and rocks and dirt on the road. We left Thimbu at 8AM and arrived at 6:30P, after dark :-{ at the lodge in Trongsa. Road repair equipment works it as vehicles try to get by.  Power shovels on tractor treads lift and dump boulders in to the dump trucks. On one corner, parked deep along the cliff side, was a crushed power shovel with a tread askew and the shovel bentbroken. We sat waiting for a car to squeeze by us; a dirt slide fell in a small torrent in front of us. The driver looked over at the guide and said something low in Bhutanese. He QUICKLY first geared out of that space and bumped up the dirt road, bumped around over and through potholes and roadbed embedded rock . The road workers seem to be mix of temporary imported Indians and Bhutanese. They live in neat hovel camps clinging to the valley side of the road. Some women and a few children can be seen in the area of the camps. During the busiest part of the travel day some of the power shovels are not working. It seems after 3PM all are in operation. Squeezing past construction vehicles or vaseline-slipping past another van is almost a relief from the constant bumpingtossing inside the van.! I should mention that...