Date Night w/ Wife

Amber and I finally went out on a date, after more than a year. Children.

We took some friends along, newlyweds, to help us remember how it´s all done. Got a baby sitter (our sponsor child) (bonus) and headed to Coban to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Then we grabbed some coffee and pastries at a little stand in the mall.

It was good to get out, but I think it is a practice that needs practicing. We´ll be going out plenty this summer when we have all kinds of family to look after the little ones.


400 Posts

Some of the ground covered in the past 99 posts:
Bread to Tepezquintle
Sister to Sister-in-Law
Greek to Binary
Colon to Cheney
Burma to Cuba
Moon to Lightning
Dead Goat to New Born Goat
Running to Cycling
School Openings to School Graduations
World AIDS Day to Better World Shopper
Elections to Political Unrest
Mama to Papa
Distant Volcanoes to What's on my Belt
Super Bugs to Stomach Worms
Installing Stoves to Sponsorship Handbook
Têtes à Claques to Travel Challenge
Trombones to Marimbas
Rock to Paper
Mexico to Ukraine
Radiohead to Lyrics
Shane to Alan and Justin
Facebook to NetMonitor
Shoe Giveaways to Dispensing Medication
Books to Bookshelves
Blaise to Acadia
Thanks for you readership. I appreciate you all.

McDonalds Restaurant Impressions

Since Mr. Morgan Spurlock made his indicting film on fastfood culture and the health deficits, I think McDonalds has responded incredibly.

I've never been a fan. I usually felt lethargic after eating a 1/4 pounder. I prefer to support indie restaurants rather than the franchises. And about 9 years ago they had McWraps which tasted more like the name than I think they wanted them to.

Yesterday, I had to kill an hour in Cobán with my kids while Amber had her teeth worked on. I took them to McDonalds where they had a blast in the kids park. I felt compelled to order something, so I got a crispy chicken sandwich. The whole wheat bun impressed me.

I use the golden arches as a landmark frequently. Just last week as I arranged for friends to go on a tour, I had the van pick them up at McDonalds in Cobán.

My wife worked as a drive-thru McHottie when she was a teenager, taking breakfast and coffee orders with her burgandy button-up shirt, visor, and headset on.

A couple years ago, I got really sick while in Guatemala City. I spent 2 hours in a McDonalds while a short term mission team visited the cathedral and national palace. I just bought water and used their pristine bathrooms (over and over and over and over again). Man, I don't think I've ever loved a toilet like I loved that toilet. And the toilet paper supply!

I guess I just want to take a break from bashing "Rotten Ronnies" and say that there are times in my life when I am grateful for the familiar, clean, accessible, dominating, poisonous, economic powerhouse.

OK, break's over.


Made some delicious bread on Monday. Super easy and natural recipe from Justin. The great thing about this bread is the ingredients: flour, salt, tiny bit of yeast, water. The dough draws the yeast from the air and the bread is cooked in a closed pot in the oven to keep the moisture in the bread. No heavy kneading either!

Remember those 1995 hair styles? I couldn't and it was 1995! Note the banana leaf in the window.

I used to make bread all the time when I was a student missionary in the Marshall Islands. This was more labour intensive, but at the same time quite satisfying. My bread turned out better than the girls' bread, which they often tried to make without oil, and which often didn't rise.

Amber has been at me for the past 8 years of our marriage to make bread; This past weekend was the second time that I conceded.


Hip Huggers

This past weekend I wore my jogging pants. No belt loops. No belt. Just a drawstring that I didn't tie up and pockets that I didn't fill.

In the mornings, I normally pack my belt (with knife and phone on each side), keys (on my right belt loop), and passport and wallet in my front pocket.



Freakadelique Friday

I got pulled over in Guatemala City for talking on my cell phone while driving. The policeman told me it was "contra la ley" in all of Guatemala - news to me. It is a Q100 fine. After comiserating with his companeros, he let me off. I think it was the Alberta drivers permit that got me off.

Ran into several people from a Trinity Western University team that was in Tactic 3 weeks ago on four occasions as I walked through Antigua, went to the bank and sat down for some alone time in a cafe. I also run into staff and students on three other occasions today from a local Spanish school that sends teams up to Tactic twice a year.

Was awoken at midnight by some loud American girls at my hotel. They were complaining that the people here "don't even speak English."

I bought spare parts for my Swiss Army Knife at a hardware store.

The lady at the Canadian Embassy said that the photos of Acadia may not be accepted for the passport application. But it cost me Q23 less than I was originally quoted - Go Canadian dollar, Go!

I carried my iPod in my pocket all day and didn't use it once.

Got a phone call from a friend from Canada saying he was in Antigua. So was I. Spotted him briefly just before he got picked up to hike the volcano.

I cut off a hearse at the head of a funeral procession.


Discourse on Cuba

Many will say to me, "Adventurer," and that I am, except of a different kind and of those who wear the skin to demonstrate their truth. -Ché Guevara
My neighbour got me a Ché shirt the other day and this quote is on it. Then I watched a 3 1/2 hour miniseries on the rise to power of Fidel Castro. All of this got me thinking on Cuba and I thought I would think aloud here.

It is sure that Cuba needed a revolution in order to begin to change the country for good. The corruption that existed before Castro was abominable and is akin to what we see in Dominican Republic still today. It's clear that the revolution's intentions were to transform Cuba, but there was no plan in place once power was taken. A firm hand was needed and that was there, but many of the policies were reactionary rather than revolutionary.

A scene from the film spoke volumes of the militant stance the leaders took towards so-called enemies of the revolution (which included some of their own). One of Castro's advisers tells him that the people will respect him because of his power, but they will love him if he is merciful. Castro is not merciful and so the power had to be defended in some very unattractive ways.

I've been known to be a defender of Cuba's socialist state and Castro's leadership. My reasons revolve around the instituted social programs, the elimination of foreign ownership (though it has returned in the form of tourism investment), and the idealism that fueled much of the change.

When I speak to people who have been to Cuba I get very different reactions:
The most enlightened place she has ever been, where people are willing to share their skills for the betterment of society rather than simple material accumulation for self. (teacher in Alberta)

The most spiritually dark place he has ever been, full of hopelessness. (farmer in Idaho)

The people are happy, but discouraged at how limited the food supplies are. (social worker in Norway)
I think the essential issues are the corruption of power on Castro's behalf (both Fidel and Raul) and the trade embargo imposed by the United States. Castro's failure to listen to the people after the revolution hindered the growth of the country's economic and social programs. Many Cubans lost their voice and thus lost their life force and the desire to join in the vision for a better Cuba.

The American embargo against Cuba is still in effect due mainly to Florida's Cuban expat population and their voting power. Florida has been one of few swing states and therefore important to both political parties. Any perceived softening of a stance towards Castro would mean severe political consequences.

The religious right in the U.S. is also against Castro. According to Tony Campolo, Christians who speak against Cuba because of its communism are ill-informed. Cuba has not outlawed religion, it has simply restricted the construction of churches as building supplies are scarce and land use is an issue on the island. Campolo's view is that church buildings are a poor use of Christian funds. I share Campolo's sentiment.

My middle name is Ché. I will continue to wear Ché shirts. I will continue to defend Cuba's social programs and I will criticize America's embargo. But I will also pray for better leadership for the country where power will not be as centralized and corrupted.



Two college friends are currently visiting me here in Guate. It is extremely refreshing to have conversations with people who have a shared history, language, and mindset - I often get 1 or 2 of these in conversations, but all three are rare.

Alan is charming my son with lots of playing and guitar playing. Justin is charming us with some excellent cuisine (curry and bread) and photography (I should have about 1000 superb photos from his camera by the end of his trip).

Yesterday we got to visit Semuc Champey and the weather was fabulous.

mid night cardio

So, it's a good thing I'm in shape. Two nights ago, I had a dream that our house had been robbed (again) and as I toured the house I would discover more and more things that had disappeared.

I woke up and found my heart beating wildly, more than if I had been running full speed. I could easily feel my chest pulsing strongly with my hand. I wasn't in a cold sweat and I wasn't even anxious as reality made itself evident rather quickly. But in my dream I must have been anxious. Yowsers!