Why living in Panajachel is, for me, a lot like paradise. - Written by Tera
I love beauty!!! It makes my soul happy. Here in Panajachel, we are in a beautiful house, near a beautiful lake surrounded by beautiful volcanoes, where the weather is beautiful every day, surrounded by local people who are living a beautiful ethnic culture. Paradise!
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We’ve now been living in Panajachel for a week, and things are full of lots of highlights, and very few lowlights. I’ve asked all the members of the family to share some of their favorite things, in their own words, and so what follows here are the highlights for each person.
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Our last day in Mexico was spent driving from Tuxtla Guttierrez to the Mexican/Guatemala “Frontera” or border. We had long since left behind the nice 4-lane highways of northern and central Mexico, and we were now cutting through the mountains on regional 2-lane highways. They were still nicely paved, but very narrow, and very windy up and down through the beautiful mountain scenery. We crossed the border at La Mesilla, Guatemala, and drove through to Huehuetanango to spend the evening. The following day, we awoke and made our final push, driving about 5 hours to finally arrive at our home away from home in Panajachel. (. . . . . . . .for more, click below right)
The drive from Mexico City to Oaxaca was a little longer due to losing and finding Tera’s iPhone. We stopped overnight in Oaxaca, and had a great evening walking around the main square, eating street food, treating ourselves to Domino’s pizza. The Oaxaca temple was closed, but we were able to take some pictures. The next day, the drive to Tuxtla Guttierez was a long, long day. It was 8 hours of solid driving, with stops and rests adding up to 9 hours + in the car. Once we got to Tuxtla however, we stayed an extra day to visit the stunningly beautiful Sumidero Canyon, which was definitely worth the extra night stay. Plus, we went to the Tuxtla Guttierez temple, and met some really wonderful people. . . . . (to read more click more to the right)
Our drive leaving Mexico City presented us with some interesting stories to share, experiences that we had heard and read about, and now can personally attest to. These were both highlights and lowlights. Lowlights because of the inconvenience and unpleasantness of the experiences, but highlights . . . . . because, what a story to tell! (Click below right to read more . . . )
We came to Mexico City (Ciudad de Mexico, or CDMX as it’s known here) to spend a few days visiting our friends the Johnstons who we knew from the NL. They were very generous and kind to let us stay with them for a few days. While there, we got to see the highlights of CDMX. We broke the rule of not driving at night yet again. But driving in CDMX was very similar to driving in any other big city at night. Lots of traffic, confusing turn offs, and consequently, multiple wrong turns. Fortunately, the drivers were mostly polite and forgiving, and Google Maps has a critical “recalculating” feature, that we use over, and over again. (Click right to read more . . . . )
We’ve been in Mexico now for three days. The first day we crossed the border from Laredo into Nuevo Laredo, and drove to Monterrey. On day two, we drove from Monterrey to San Luis Potosí. We are now on the road to Mexico City, via San Miguel de Allende. I have begun to write this post while driving, since we’re stuck in a total traffic jam, trying to get by a large construction zone.
We’ll it has been, and continues to be a very long day. I’m writing this from the backseat of our Honda Odyssey. It is 8:14pm, and we’ve just left Austin, passing by an accident that slowed us down a good deal. Nathan is driving, Tera is next to him in the front passenger seat, setting up our family facebook site. Anna is on the far left middle row, sleeping. Jacob is playing his 20 minutes/day of computer games on his kindle fire. I’m on the far right middle row, typing this up, and trying to find a comfortable place for my feet, with the backpack, camera, snacks, and shoes in my ground space. This is much more cramped than an airplane. Megan is in the back seat reading on her kindle, and begging for us to start the movie. Tyler is in the middle, reading on his kindle. Emily is on the right, behind me, headphones in, talking to her friend back at BYU . . . . . . . . . Click below right for more. . .
We've been home for a week from Hawaii, and we're preparing for our 3-month journey to Guatemala and beyond. It is a much different trip to prepare for, we're used to 8 suitcases on a flight for 1-2 weeks max. Here we're talking about a car full of stuff for three months. Since we'll be gone for so long, we don't want to kids to leave behind all their routines, so we're adding some stuff.
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Tera and I had spent time on Oahu before, Tera living there for a semester of school, and myself taking a trip there with my family, and with a singing group, when I was a teenager. I knew it was a great place to go (especially for the Polynesian Cultural Center), but I wanted to go somewhere else too, and the volcanoes of the Big Island were calling my name, so we planned the last half of our trip on the big island. Our trip to the Volcano National park was nothing short of breathtaking. But even more impactful was spending time with the relatives that we had here. They were not on my mind when I originally made the trip, but while we were here, Tera got a note from her dad, reminding us that Tera’s uncle’s partner was still living here (Tera’s uncle Jeff passed away about 4 years ago), and also Tera’s 1st cousin once removed was living on the island with his mother. We thought it would be a great idea to meet up with family, and let locals give us some of their local knowledge, so we set up a day with them, which turned out be the best decision we made.
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Plan? What plan?
Our 2018 will be filled with family travel, with all 8 suitcases! After going to Hawaii, we are planning on driving through Mexico, to Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. We'll spend about a month there, then drive to (tentative) Costa Rica for maybe a month. Then we'll make our way back up to Texas and fly to London! After that, the plan is to drive around Europe, go back and visit Holland, and maybe navigate Eastern Europe, maybe go back to some old haunts, but whatever it is, it'll be great.