andrew milton’s blog turned 3 today!

andrew milton’s blog turned 3 today!

Lake Atitlan looking especially beautiful today.  (at Lago Atitlán)

Lake Atitlan looking especially beautiful today. (at Lago Atitlán)

Promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep

As I sit on the terrace after papaya and coffee gazing towards the azure beauty of the wind-wrinkled Lake Atitlan, I wonder if I could stay here forever. It’s a feeling I’ve had while eating lotuses or local equivalent in the course of my Odyssey, after I left a UK which is still being sacked by the barbarian hordes. 

Her best friend told me that my Mother had the capacity to be happy anywhere in the World provided she was surrounded by her family. I think that might be one of the few things I inherited from her, minus the need to have family closer than Facebook and Instagram. 

It would be so easy to stay somewhere like this. Sunshine. Vista. Cheap food and booze a stroll away. Wifi and iPad Mini. All I need is to find an apartment and do a visa run every year. Stay put and pay back some of the debt to the planet, live within my income for a change. 

Lord, make me live sustainably. But not yet. It is not yet time to be out of this joint. My wanderings cannot cease for a while yet. 

For a start, I need to get back to Mother Ship London to replace a passport which has more stamps than George V, to recharge my cultural batteries, to revisit old friends and older places, to check my flat for student-damage. But London is not a place I can afford to stay for long. Not until the mortgage is paid off, at any rate. 

I then need to fulfil a pledge I hastily made to visit Mumbai for my birthday. And on the way, it would be nice to visit an old school friend who is teaching in Moscow, something which Clio says is wise to do before the Winter sets in. 

After that, I promised to revisit Thailand. And while I’m in the neighbourhood, I should call in on Malaysia. And then it would be good to spend what could be a last Christmas with my father who art in New Zealand, before he foresakes me forever. 

And then?

I has envisaged retiring permanently in Chiang Mai in Thailand. Reasonable cost of living. Good food. Expat community and a boredom-averting supply of Couchsurfing guests. However, the process of applying for a retirement visa is putting me off, in particular the need to find a way of depositing £18,000 in a Thai bank account. And then there’s the ritual humiliation of reporting to a police station every 90 days. 

But it’s not just that. I’ve got the nomadic bug, and I don’t trust myself not to make more promises which will keep me pursuing the siren voices of this unsilent planet until it or I expire. 

Trust Amigo to get in the picture!

Trust Amigo to get in the picture!

San Pedro is a dream

It was a hassle to get here, but the journey prove worthwhile.

The tourist minibus from Antigua and the mountain bends and roads it negotiated were a trial to Amigo’s healing spine,  and schlepping all our luggage from the bus terminus to the jetty was much dolour for me. We mistakenly sat at the bow of the fast boat which took us to the other side of the lake and San Pedro. The up and down banging motion was awful for Amigo until he was able to move to the stern of the boat.  When we arrived, it seemed a bleak place place indeed. No life around the jetty. I sat disconsolate with our luggage  until we were rescued by a friendly tuk tuk who carried our load up the hill to an address Amigo had found on a Korean website. The San Fransisco hotel was full but the Joyas del Sol next door gave us a room for 20 days for 1100 quetzales (£85). 

Staff were friendly. Room and communal kitchen were small but met our modest needs. The view to the lake and the surrounding mountains were good when not shrouded in mist and the cloud which was to deny us a view of the moon’s blood red eclipse. 

As we explored with the help of Mark from Bexleyheath in the next door room, the town grew on us in comparison with tourist-trap Antigua. There was a daily market just up the hill. Local shops were friendly and convenient. Couldn’t get the full range of imported goods which the Antigua supermarket stocked, but the local produce was good and reasonably priced.  The spice merchant was specially good and I even found the turmeric which eluded me in Antigua. 

Yesterday, Mark took us on a stroll along the side of the lake. We saw why the town initially seemed so bleak. A few years ago, an earth tremor had the effect of permanently raising the level of the lake by two metres and the touristy buildings along the shore were abandoned.  But a hundred yards further in, the place was buzzing with bohemian cafés, bars, hostels, Spanish language schools and a quaint. North American-owned bookshop.  I felt this was a place to which I could retire. 
Honey, with bees included. From the market at San Pedro

Honey, with bees included. From the market at San Pedro

Not sure that my Instagram videos can be seen on Tumblt

I would appreciate some feedback on whether people can see my recent videos of a religious procession in Antigua Guatemala

Andrew Milton
Twitter: @andrewmilton
Instagram: milton_andrew
Skype: andrew-milton
Guatemalan cellphone number 4628 2287

Last known address:
Hostal Antigua
5a Avenida Sur
Tel 7832 8090