Welcome to Guatemala!!

Travel is so exciting!

Can you see the P.M. mistake in this picture? Me neither.

For instance, this first trip of my Heifer 12 x 12 blog project started off the night before I left when (at 2 a.m. as I was still watering plants and folding laundry), I switched my husband’s i-phone alarm from 6 am to 6:40 so I could get a few more minutes of sleep. And then, when we woke up at 7:40 completely alarm-free , we had lots of exciting words between us before we even left for the airport for our 9:50 flight!

Exciting roads!

When we arrived in Guatemala City, we were met by the lovely Heifer Guatemala team of Vivian (who handles all logistics & communications and speaks beautiful English) and Byron, the country projects manager, who is an engaging, adorable guy and an admittedly cautious driver… which he proved on a 4-hour drive to Coban, a city in the mountains 120 miles from the airport.

Along the beautiful drive through Guatemala’s mountainous backbone, we stopped at an overlook behind a bar, so I could take a photo, and as I was snapping this very shot …

.. an overserved patron stepped out behind me and wasted copious amounts of hard-earned Gallo beer on the pavement about 2 inches from my feet. Precious memories…

And when we finally stopped for lunch in a classy restaurant, from across the crowded room I found myself mesmerized by the gaze of a small, dark stranger –and that was really exciting.

I’m telling you, this inaugural trip is starting off just beautifully … can’t wait to tell you about the cloud forest, campesinos and compost we encountered yesterday!! Stay tuned…

Categories: Guatemala, Heifer International, Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 28 Comments

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28 thoughts on “Welcome to Guatemala!!

  1. You’re so funny…I like your tag–“stupid i-phone alarm”!

  2. Ginger O'Neill

    Hi Betty,

    How exciting and an not-so-surprising beginning. That is fine. All else will fall into place.

    I just finished writing on your blog and got today’s update within minutes of me clicking the send to post comment.

    I will keep you in my prayers that you are able to stay healthy and move in and out of your twelve countries and capture all the important stories and charms each country has to offer.

    All the best,


  3. What an awesome job you have. Guatemala has been on my bucket list!

  4. Anonymous

    I’m following your every move Betty! What an amazing job – I am so so jealous but I know that you will do an amazing job
    all love

  5. Deb Morrow Palmer

    You are helping my memories to start flowing. The twisty winding two way roads hairpin turns and being behind a stinky bus or truck!! Thank god when you get off the roads it is beautiful,people and landscape. Ha! Look forward to your next blog.

  6. Susan

    As my sister says, “Start as you mean to go on” – but hopefully the “stupid i-phone alarm” won’t dog you the whole way. Beautiful pictures – but not one of the drunk guy? Best of luck – can’t wait to read more. Thank you

    • Oh, i didn’t have it in my heart to snap his photo because I can remember college days (nights) like that. It actually was a brilliant start, all things considered, because thanks to Lindsay’s lifesaving ride to the airport, we got there with time to get a coffee (the real non-negotiable start to any trip that begins before 10 am) … CHEERS, Susan!!

  7. Suzanne Vaezi

    This is great to be right there with you on this journey. I am going to tell everyone on my facebook to follow your stories!

  8. Jo Prostko

    YOU are a trip, Betty! Your posts full of optimism, hilarious anecdotes and wide-eyed wonder are a real joy…thank you ever so much!

    • You are welcome, Jo! And I DO feel full of wide-eyed wonder .. always! I really love SO much being back in Guatemala, and it’s amazing to be in parts of the country very few people come to see. The people are so beautiful — I just LOVE the Mayan culture!! Thanks for the comment!

  9. Visions of Billy Carter dance in my head …

    I enjoy vicariously travelling with you …

  10. Anonymous

    Wonderful to see photos and hear a bit about Giuatamala. When in the late 1990s were were living aboard Tango, our 37 french built catamaran, we spent a long time in the Rio Dulce, on the east side, protected from hurricanes by volcanic mountains all around. We rode the local “taxi”, pickup with bars in back to stand the patrons who knocked on the cab roof when reaching their destination. We went by “express bus” to the old capital, and then to Lake district where, in Chitticastinango we experienced the weekly market. The local folks converge to sell their wares, the streets are filled with stalls, no cars allowed, a block of big metal buckets for cooking local foods for the vendors. Since Peter is a retired doc, we tended to sick cruisers. Often when in the taxi panga down river to the mainland and bus or taxi, we passed boats we had been aboard for medical care. Therefore, the boats were named by us as bladder infection, high blood pressure, etc.
    The people of Guatamala are wonderful folks and treated us kindly as we shopped for food using our “spanglish” and arm waving.
    Enjoy and we can’t wait to hear more.

  11. I am excited for you all Betty and looking forward to seeing the country through your eyes.

    Glad you recovered from the difficult start–wow, that is an awful feeling.

  12. Darby

    Wow, Betty!! I am SO excited for you in your travels, but I think I am even more excited to read all about them.

    All I ask is that you remain safe.


    • Darbs! So happy you’re reading!! I am safe – and in fact, you cannot believe how well taken care of I am by the Heifer people. The only scary thing is sometimes the food I’m presented with — like sheep soup. Ahhhh… had to skip that one (or at least, politely eat around the giant sheep bone floating in the middle)!! xoxoxo b

      • Vivian Martinez

        Sheep soup was good! aww Betty 😦 It was like having beef, I highly recommend it, it was actually very tender and a good source of protein. (Although may not be available in your local market…

  13. Janet Maddox

    Betty, I can hear your voice in all your writings! What a great adventure and how grateful I am to be able to ride along with you. Can’t wait for the next installment. Janet

  14. All of what you are about to experience makes the iPhone alarm issue kind of funny.
    World traveler and an iPhone alarm almost dereails the start of your adventure.
    I posted your link on my Blog and on my facebook page as well
    I am think for the right word to describe how I feel…… jealous

    • Thanks, Bob! And yes .. it was so stupid to not check the alarm twice, but it just keeps you humble — and believe me, that is one thing I feel over and over when I travel to developing countries: how ridiculously blessed I am, how privileged I am to be able to be here, and how passionately I want to bring to life these people and projects so others can appreciate the challenges and courage of the ordinary farmers around the world. Lovely to hear from you, my friend, and THAnKS for the shout-out on your blog & facebook!!

  15. This looks like an amazing project. I had never head of the Heifer Project but it sounds like a really great program.

    • Thanks, Emilia … I’m so happy to be the one to introduce you to Heifer, as they really do amazing work all over the globe … and it’s a great privilege for me to be able to tell these stories. I loved your “Summer Flowers” — and can totally relate to the perfectionist fear that the photos won’t be good enough … but we just have to push on through & post ’em anyhow!!

  16. Beautiful country.

  17. Vivian Martinez

    Why thank you for the flattering remarks Betty!
    By the way, funny “overserved patron” welcome huh? Its good that we all saw the funny in it!
    Of all the places we could´ve stopped, we had to stop THERE, no where else, but THERE! jeez…

  18. Pingback: Heifer 12 x 12 Guatemala Round-Up | Heifer Blog

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