One advantage of our early morning flight was the breathtaking sunrise over the cloud line.
In an effor to reduce in-flight boredom, our 1,800 mile trip was conveniently mapped for our viewing pleasure
Other boredom-eliminating distractions included these handy customs forms!
Guatemala City is a true potpourri of architecture and natural beauty
A rather uninteresting view of a Guatemala City intersection -- until you look closer. Yes, there is a man in a large bag hanging behind a box-truck-turned-trash-truck. Welcome to Guatemala.
Phineas & Ferb is apparently a thing in Guatemala, too. My kids will be thrilled!
One of our first stops in Guatemala City led us to, of all things, a Taco Bell
The Miraflores shopping mall was decidedly American for our first stop in Guatemala.
Nathan's craving for Cinnabon knew no bounds. We spent an unreasonable amount of time finding this place ;)
Nathan breathing in the rich Cinnabony goodness
The moment of true delight has arrived!
Nathan, immediately regretting his decision: "I can't believe I ate the whole thing!"
Motorcycles are ubiquitous in Guatemala.
A truck of armed soldiers making its way through Guatemala City
Don't worry, that price is in Quetzales (about 7.5 to 1 USD)
Sidewalks in the capital were lined with people trying to earn a few Quetzales from passers-by.
These soldiers were suspicious or possibly just curious about the truck full of Gringos that kept taking their picture.
A typical example of a truck on Guatemalan roadways. Many small pickups were far more overloaded, or even invisible under their towering cargo, leading to Nathan's invention of the "There's a Truck in There Somewhere" driving game.
Motorcycles are useful for more than just passenger transport.
A large brushfire atop a mountain. Nathan told me that they regularly burn grass, and, as I would see later, trash throughout Guatemala.
A view of an unidentified volcano from the highway leading out of Guatamala City.
Many people think building a city beneath a volcano is crazy. Maybe. Maybe not.
The Suma Supermercado was our first grocery experience.
Even at the grocery store the most common vehicle was the motorcycle.
You mean this isn't how your local grocery gets its eggs delivered? SIde note: Eggs in Guatemala are never refrigerated. No ill effects.
Guatemalan grocery shopping: What started as an exciting novelty quickly became a miserable chore.
It was not uncommon to see a couple little heads poking out from atop a towering load of cargo on a tiny pickup.
Two of the four terrace hammocks, aka "little slices of heaven".
The entrance gate and field beyond.
One of the first "streets" we worked our first day in Guatemalan field service.
Nathan studies regularly with young Jeferson, while Jessica has a progressive study with his mother.
Guatemalans are very hospitable, often providing seats, refreshments, or in some cases, baby racoons for your enjoyment.
If you don't get to hold a baby racoon in field service, you might not be in Guatemala.
Tim & Kristy sitting down to study with Luis.
Every morning this field was full of roosters, chickens and hens pecking for food.
In a moment of gringo stupidity, I asked Nathan if this swan was there to keep bugs away. He looked at me strangely and said "No, it's just decorative".
All manner of trees and plants surround the Casa del Shaw.
It's hammock time!
Nathan's Great Dane, Gus, bravely guarding access to the Kingdom Hall.
The daily meeting for field service is held on the terrace, protected by a small army of Scareswans.
Magnus (from Sweden) and Luis (from Guatemala) before Thursday service.
Preparing to leave for Friday morning service.
Magnus putting out the Swedish vibe.
While it never snows in the coastal areas of Guatemala, the blooming trees make a good imitation.
Jess showing a Caleb & Sophia video to two young boys.
Krazy Kristian was always good for a laugh!
Jess with Ivania and Karla, both visiting El Salvador to help with the preaching work.
Tim & Kristy return from preaching at a home where they were given (forcibly!) some fresh coconut.
There really is nothing like fresh honeycomb.
Nathan tried to preach to this cow but it wasn't in the moooooood!
Puente Cristo Rey, aka Death Bridge
Jess was brave.
Something's missing here...
Guatemalan bridge graffiti really makes you think.
Stopping off for a quick refreshment.
If you don't drink your soda from a plastic baggie, you might not be in Guatemala.
Field service from the back of a truck is definitely the best way to do it.
Jess and I returning to the Kingdom Hall (the Shaw's house) after our field service.
Magnus' hand-made surfboard with JW.org logo was a huge hit!
Nathan and Tim were gluttons for oceanic punishment, subjecting themselves to all kinds of wave-induced beatings.
This truck full of Guatemalans appeared on the beach from nowhere and promptly got stuck in the sand. This photo is their second attempt to get off the beach, going much faster this time.
This early Maytag prototype washing machine served us well!
Jess getting her scrub on.
Look ma, I'm a pioneer woman!
Look pa, I'm washing my own clothes!
The Vians passing by in service.
In the truck and ready for the beach!
Tuk-Tuks lined up waiting to ferry passengers back and forth from Las Lisas.
Approaching Las Lisas
One of the Cerditos who didn't much like us parking on top of him.
Guatemalan parking garage.
Them's some bananas.
Q: How do you load a half dozen gringos onto a tiny piece of glorified driftwood? A: Very carefully!
The built in sunroof was a convenient addition.
"I know my Piranha Repellant is in here somewhere!"
"No littering" -- oh, the irony!
Yes. Please. All of it.
Enjoying a perfect afternoon.
This is how every lunch spot should look.
Any restaurant with sand for floors is okay by me.
Hungry for fish!
If the food on your plate doesn't have a face with nasty, big, pointy, teeth, you're ordering it wrong.
Jess could barely contain her excitement.
Finally, an appropriate level of excitement.
Kristy couldn't contain hers whatsoever.
Gallo, the national cerveza of Guatemala, is nothing more than yellowish fizzy water.
You think you have had fish tacos before, but you're wrong. You haven't.
Kristy's mom never told her not to play with her food, or in this case, the remains of her food's face.
Post fish coma.
Toby, Protector of the Beach
Last view of the ocean leaving Las Lisas.
Our morning view.
We parked under the shade of some palms, with 2 little wasps nests buried in them.
Waiting for field service on Sunday
There's a truck in there somewhere!
The entire Sunday service group.
It was a little bumpy inside the box on wheels.
If you've never hit a drunk man on a motorcycle in an ancient Kia box on wheels during field service, you might not be in Guatemala.
Kickin' it old school.
One of the scratches is very new.
The Torture Rack in all its glory.
Don't let the pretty flowers fool you; this thing's a killer.
Thankfully the Rack's designers included these springs for our comfort.
The [daylight] view from the driveway of our house in Casas Viejas, Guatemala.
One of Volcan Fuego's many "poofs"!
The Antigua Salon del Reino (Kingdom Hall)
Riding in the back of the truck was comfortable in the heat of southern Guatemala; the 3-hour drive into the high mountains of central Guatemala was much colder!
The gang's all here!
Leafy mojito was leafy!
BBBQ. The extra B is for BYOB.
Harington was shy all week -- turns out all he needed was a big cheeseburge!
Luis, Professional Cheeseburger Model
Nathan had been waiting for this moment for so long.
I hate goodbyes!
I couldn't get over these cute little Dominos bikes. Also, Llámanos Dominos -- get it?? Ah, langauge.
The plaza outside our hotel entrance.
Can I live here?
Our room's second-floor loft.
Yo dawg, we heard you like terraces so we put a terrace in your terrace so you can relax while you relax!
Alice in Wonderland-style tiny door to outside terrace.
This bathroom, guys. This. Bathroom.
Agua Pura or go home.
Ornate isn't a strong enough word.
One of countless ladies-with-heavy-loads-on-their-heads.
My chocolates looked like they were made by someone having a seizure.
Jess' chocolates were cute and thoughtfully made.
She's a natural.
Roasting the cacao.
Chocolate tea. You don't even know.
This British lady's adorable attempt at grinding cacao.
I made this!
Flexing my guns with a super heavy bag of candy.
Shotguns were a pretty common sight.
That baby totally photobombed me.
This giant bunny conned us into spending too much money on a little bracelet.
Fixing roads in Guatemala is not like fixing roads in America.
Dining room at Los Tres Tiempos.
The green was HOT.
In her happy place.
That's right. Be jealous.
These tortillas were like little flour pillows. That you eat.
I'm a firm believer that every meal should represent as many colors as possible.
See that mountain in the background? That was our destination.
Our farmer, Don Filiberto, leading the way up the mountainside.
The farmer's sons beating the bean crops.
"See all those coffee beans? Start picking!"
I'm smiling now... but I had no idea.
It doesn't look like much, which makes all the work that much less rewarding.
Jess, thinking "this isn't so bad" before she really knew.
Walking down the mountain (in flip flops and white pants).
All of Don Filiberto's coffee harvest passes through this contraption.
An elegant, if crude, tool for extracting the coffee beans from the raw fruit.
All that work for THIS??
Bad beans. Very bad.
Good beans! Very good!
Don Filiberto's wife, dutifully roasting fresh beans.
Don Filiberto's daughter showed us the way to grind beans by hand.
Don Filiberto's daughter showed us the way to grind beans by hand.
I looked like a wooden robot trying to grind by hand.
When Don Filiberto's wife can't keep up they switch to the big guns -- these professional roasters.
Found in trash, this 1970's coffee grinder found a new lease on life in Guatemala!
Don Filiberto proudly showed us his personal bag design, including his photo on the label.
The De La Gente co-op behind Don Filiberto's farm sponsors 7 other local coffee farmers, who share equipment so that they can sell internationally.
Despite the labor, getting to sit down with the ACTUAL farmer to drink his ACTUAL coffee was really special.
Our British, drug-eyed translator, letting us into the De La Gente "corporate headquarters".
Apparently there are more coffee types than just Arabica & Robusta. Who knew!
Two hours of hard farming and it was all worth it, baby!
Drainage ditches can be picturesque too! Right!?
"Did I just hit that guy?? Ehh, he's fine..."
Last view of the courtyard in our hotel.
Adios, Guatemala - we hardly knew ye!