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Where do you buy “ordinary stuff”?

Sure, I know where to buy local artisan products, groceries, beer, … I know of a lot of ropa usada stores, hardware stores, motorcycles, … If you have been here, you get the idea. But, what I would consider ordinary stuff seems to be harder to find. I am going to list a few items — mostly so you get the idea. Where do you buy them? Locally? In Guatemala City? On-line?

For extra credit, does Pana need an “ordinary stuff” store?

Continue reading Where do you buy “ordinary stuff”?

Electric TukTuks, scooters, PV solar

Yes, it's electric.

Yes, it’s electric.

Consider this “advertising”. That is, me advertising something I am doing with a local. I expect many will find this interesting.
We (that’s Silvia and Phil) have started a business to introduce electric vehicles and PV solar system sales into Panajachel. While we are not “open” yet, our first container of products is currently being processed by customs in Puerto Quetzal. We hope to have it available here within a week.
We have a half-done web site for Electricos Samoyedo up where the half that is done is mostly the English part. Our doors will be open as soon as the product is here.

Continue reading Electric TukTuks, scooters, PV solar

What’s it cost to stay in Panajachel?

Typical breakfast menu

Typical breakfast menu

One of the people asking about our rental unit asked this question. As there is no kitchen in the unit, the question was inspired by the cost of eating out but I have decided to be a bit more comprehensive. The information is also much more generic as the rental unit is very central so you will have the same experience if you are staying in a nearby hotel such as Hotel Regis.

The short answer is “as little or as much as you want”. I almost suggested this was obvious but there are lots of tourist destinations where your only options are tourist locations accompanied with all too typical tourist prices. This is not the case in Panajachel. That is because “local folk” live very near the tourist locations. Thus, it is more a selection of the tourist where to go/eat/buy than in most places. That said, let’s look at some numbers.

Continue reading What’s it cost to stay in Panajachel?

Linux in Panajachel

Just another system running Linux.

Just another system running Linux.

The system in the picture is running Linux. In my house that’s the norm — with the exception of Rocio installing Skype on “my” tablet, there is no Microsoft software here. Tablets and phones run Linux (Android), desktops and laptops run Ubuntu or Mint Linux.

That’s the norm in my life. Long ago I wrote about how children in Nicaragua were doing just find with Linux systems. The difference was that these kids were younger (most were 5 to 8) and, to the best of my knowledge, none of them had used a computer before. (They were all kids from a very poor barrio of Estel√≠.) Jessica, a 12 year old, became their teacher after she figured out how to use the Linux system herself. But, here we are talking about 16 year olds.

Continue reading Linux in Panajachel

How about a small motorcycle?

When I moved to Nicaragua in 2004 I bought a small motorcycle. A “Brand X” 150cc one that was really a Chinese clone of a Honda 125 with a motor with a bit more displacement. It was a decent bike. As I remember, it cost $1900. It was from the influx of cheap junk motorcycles.
Moving forward, I decided to look at what exists in Panajachel. So, I took some time and looked around. This is the basic look at what you can find.
Continue reading How about a small motorcycle?

Tourist/visitor in need of local help?

While I mentioned this in my Unit for rent in Pana page I have decided the idea of available local help is worth a blog post. So, here it is. I will cover who these people are, why using them may make sense and what are the costs.

People who could work for you.

People who could work for you.

There are lots of people here who work in what we have become accustomed to calling the informal sector. Roughly translated, that means they work for cash and their income is not reported. It’s very common and not limited to just paying a maid or day worker. For example, some companies pay their workers this way. In other words, it is typical practice.

Continue reading Tourist/visitor in need of local help?

Daily rental unit in Pana available

The "livingroom" of the apartment.

The “livingroom” of the apartment.

While I am not in the rental business, I have this empty unit above part of my house. Friends have stayed in it. We have talked about renting it out by the night which would be a project for my wife — but she is working in Nicaragua right now.

Enter a solution: a local friend is looking for a way to make some money to go to college. She is going to manage it for me. It is very convenient to central Panajachel (less than 100 meters off Calle Santander) but also very private. The details and more photos are available here.

If you are interested, email me at nicafyl@gmail.com.

Sunday night at the hospital

Almost visitor's hours on Tuesday.

Almost visitor’s hours on Tuesday.

This is my adventure story with how you deal with medical emergencies in Panajachel. I know I don’t want to repeat this and Rocio doesn’t either but it is what happened and the results. For those of you who live where you think you have good free medical care, this may help you put that into perspective.

The adventure started on Sunday evening. The photo is from Tuesday when we went to pick up Rocio. A friend commented “those people look happier than people here [in Oregon] going out to dinner or to a movie.”

Sunday, Rocio was at my house doing homework (accounting, in my opinion something to make you sick) with a classmate. About 8PM she had this pain and went to lie down. I made her some Valarian tea but the pain continued to get worse. She was convinced it was serious and her response to gently touching low on the right side of her abdomen convinced me it wasn’t just accounting homework.

Continue reading Sunday night at the hospital

First dentist experience in Pana

Last Thursday I fractured a tooth. A piece broke off but stayed semi-attached in the gum. Friday morning I ran into a friend and asked about dentists. He suggested (without knowing her name) Dra. Lily Contrares). I walked down there and her assistant suggested I come back around 1200. So, I did.

She took a quick look, asked the right questions and we agreed it was better to come back for “a real appointment” which was today. It was at 1130. She apologized for being behind schedule (all dentists are behind schedule) but by 1140, I was in the chair. We started with an X-ray because the fracture went way below the gum line. Continue reading First dentist experience in Pana

Local cooking

Tasty casserole made from local ingredients.

Tasty casserole made from local ingredients.

OK, I did the cooking. What is important is that I bought the ingredients within walking distance of my house.

If I was in Seattle, I would expect to find the ingredients nearby. Maybe not walking distance but close. But, I am in Panajachel and this is a vegan dish with some ingredients not common in the third world. First, the easy ones:

  • Fresh tomatoes from the public market
  • Basil from my garden
  • Onion, garlic, … from the public market
  • Potatoes from the public market

Nothing special about that stuff except much was grown locally and all was available within walking distance. Now, on to the more interesting stuff: Continue reading Local cooking