Sunday, September 15, 2013


BIG Yellow bug

Yellow bug with black spots
Oh yeah. This is one big yellow bug we found this week while out on our walk. How big? Well, as I was jumping and squealing because the bug kept hop/flying while I was trying to take a picture of it, a local gal calmly picked it up so I could get the next photo which shows it's size. What - about 3 inches?

The wings had a soft yellow-green powderly-looking iridescence on them which was lovely in the bright sunshine. After harassing him a bit, we all left him alone to continue on his merry way. Anybody have a clue as to what he is? I think it's a beetle of some sort.

Yes. I'm back in Guatemala on the boat but not for long! Tomorrow
BIG yellow bug with black spots in Guatemala
morning we will throw off the dock lines and motor a couple of miles up-river to the boat yard. It's time for a complete dry dock professional survey of the boat (for insurance purposes and peace-of-mind) and we need to address a problem with our rudder. We'll be staying in a room at the Vista Rio hotel on the river for at least a week and maybe more.

It's been 5 years since we had anti-fouling paint applied to the bottom of the boat so we'll also have that done as long as we're out of the water. We are so pleased with the performance of our current bottom paint (Petit Super Premium) that we special ordered more from the USA and paid to have it shipped down here
to Guatemala. Pricey - over $1000 in paint and shipping. But the paint that was applied when we first bought the boat was so ineffective that we had complaints from the folks who scrubbed our bottom so we know how much trouble cheap paint can be. These past few years, the combination of the better paint and being in the Caribbean has meant that Jonesy and I have been able to dive the bottom and clean it ourselves with very little effort. (Except in dirty Cartegena Colombia which grows barnacles on boats so fast they have to be scraped every 2 weeks!)

And...the refrigerator and freezer stopped cooling. Jonesy figured out it was because we have a bad battery in our bank of 4 so the fridge wasn't getting enough voltage. These batteries are powered by 5 130-watt solar panels (total of 650 watts). So he took a set of batteries off the bank and we are doing fine on just 2. After 3 years of continuous service, we now need to replace all 4 batteries (like about another thousand bucks). It's's budgeted.

Here's another pair of socks that I knit from Opal Magic yarn out of Germany. I didn't bother to match the self-patterning of the yarn after I found the first knot which was a good thing because there was a second knot down in the skein. Both knotted areas disrupted the patterning. But these will still keep a teenager's feet warm in Kazakhstan.

This past Wednesday I had a sudden disruption in my vision in my right eye! All of us old folks have had the occasional "floater" in our eyes, but what I had this time obscured my complete field of vision with black swirls that broke up into bands of black dots that looked like flocks of birds - or dry powder dye dissolving in a dye bath solution for yarn! It was painless and frightening. Well, luck would have it that Wednesday is the day that the ophthamologist comes for afternoon appointments in the small town of Rio Dulce. We called and got me right in. I've had a "Posterior Vitreous Detachment" which may have also had a little bleeding.
Caprese Salad a la Carol

No big worries - the retina is fine. But it will be a while before my vision clears up. The doctor's fee? Well, that was 150Q - or about twenty bucks total for an in-depth exam and detailed explanation in English.

I don't see well enough to read much or work in Excel to chart out knitting patterns, so I have been doing a lot of plain sock knitting which I can do even with my eyes closed. So, the kids in Kazakhstan will benefit at least! for a little food porn. Check out these beautiful Caprese Salads that my friend Carol made for us in Oregon. Those red, yellow, purple-black and green slices are all tomatoes from her garden! Each variety tastes so different too! My favorite for taste are the Russian Black Crims, but they are also a little ugly. The fresh mozzarella cheese and touch of olive oil and seasonings made this a culinary delight! Humph. Now I'm back in Guatemala where they sell only one type of tomato (Roma) in the vegetable stands. No complaints really - I'm glad to have such fresh and inexpensive vegetables available.
McDonalds Guatemalan Traditional Breakfast

Where we are is about 6 hours east of Guatemala City down in the jungles by the Caribbean Sea. But flights from the USA go into Guatemala City so I spent a day there shopping before riding the bus down to the Rio Dulce when I returned from Oregon. When I was out to dinner with friends from s/v Lively Lady who were also staying at the same hotel (Las Torres) we got to ride out the bumps and rolls of an earthquake. Just another day in a geologically active area.

One of my traditions if I'm visiting the big city is to enjoy a "Traditional Breakfast" from McDonald's! You will recognize the sausage patty and the scrambled eggs, but the other tasty portions are 2 warm corn tortillas, pureed black beans with a slice of fresh cheese, fried plantanos (similar to banana), mild salsa and "creama" (a runny not-so-sour cream).  As I can't eat wheat this meal is the perfect treat! Oh, you'll also see sugar there for my coffee which comes with the meal. They always give lots of sugar here in Guatemala. But wait for this....

The McCafe coffee salon!!!
McCafe Guatemala City
Attached to many of the McDonald's restaurants here in Guatemala are McCafes! Here you can find comfortable group lounge type seating and buy pastries to go with your coffee which is served in china cups. There is even a stand-along McCafe in the Oakridge Mall where you can be served your espresso drink with a seasonally appropriate swirl in the top foam.

McCafe Guatemala City
Yep. This is McDonald's and the coffee is delicious. Not just coffee but the whole assortment of coffee and tea beverages. I saw a sign advertizing McCafe on a McDonald's up in Oregon so I stopped to go inside. What they meant there was that they served coffee drinks and other smoothy style sweet drinks. Their "cafe" was simply the equipment set up to make these drinks - nothing more.

But if you are ever visiting Guatemala (and you really should for a 1000 reasons) and you see a sign for a McCafe these photos show you what you can expect. It's more like a Peet's or a Starbucks! They have interesting art on the walls and I've even seen a fireplace in the cafe in zone 9.

McCafe Guatemala City
The pretty young Guatemalan girl is hiding back in the corner of the photo of the counter. She was shy. Anyway, the photos are from the McDonald's in zone 10 on Calle 13. Maybe I should, you know, to document and expand general knowledge, go out and visit all the McDonald's McCafe's? Then, of course I should sample all the beverages too, and sit and knit. What do you think? How about joining me!

And I'll say it is good.

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