© 2012 . Alle Rechte vorbehalten. Don't miss out on Yo Mama's


After two weeks in Honduras my next destination was going to be the beautiful country of Guatemala. I knew in advance that it was going to be a short stopover because Jimmy, who I met in Copan, had told me about a sailing trip living a week for Cancun a week later. To make the best of my short time I decided to visit the one place every guide seemed to recommend: Antigua. Located a little elevated in the mountains of south western Guatemala the first thing I noticed was the vast difference in temperature. For the first time in two months I actually needed long trousers. Still, the first night I froze my butt off. Horrible feeling. How could I have ever survived a winter in Germany and I am not even talking about my time in Minnesota. The town itself is pretty unspectacular if you ask me. Just another colonial town of which I had seen quite a few in my travels. I spent my days relaxing, exploring the local market and doing some mild hiking. At night Antigua actually offered some nightlife for a change.


Three days later I sat on the bus going to Rio Dulce. After spending a night in a horrible (but almost empty) 40 bed dorm I found my home for the next 7 days: The Calypsa, a 16m/50ft sailing boat from heaven. With me on board were Gianni, our Italian speaking captain and owner of the boat, Jimmy and a German girl, Maria. Fortunately for everyone on board, Gianni spoke (literally!) not a single word of English which made our conversations a mixture of Spanglish / Italian. He offered the trip because of an urgent visa run to Mexico and wanted to share the costs. Fun fact: The boat is a movie star. In the ending sequence of the Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore movie “50 first dates” you can see the calypsa as the boat on which the couple sails of to happiness! Gianni himself used to, before he bought the boat, work as a sound engineer for stars such as Keith Richards, Rod Steward and even worked for the Blue Man Group in Las Vegas.

Real pirates in Belize: Gianni and Jimmy

First thing we had to do on board was fix the engine strings. Someone might have noticed that I even lack the proper word for what we were fixing which pretty much explains why my part in this was holding the lamp. Afterwards Jimmy and me went grocery shopping with the dingy. Luckily, we decided to heavily stocked up on candy and Coca-Cola, a fact which came in pretty handy when we realized that 7 days on a boat on open water limit your daily activities to swimming/snorkeling about twice a day, reading books and maximizing your food intake for a day.

My contribution was crucial

We left for Livingston early the next morning. Since our way was very shallow we had to rely on the engine and could not use the sails at all. But the scenery was amazing. Lined by gorgeous little huts, otherwise surrounded by miles and miles of rainforest and cliffs hanging over us for as much as 50m we drifted downstream. In the background we could hear monkeys howling and every once in a while we passed a local on a tiny wooden boat carved out of a tree trunk trying to catch supper. After roughly five hours we reached the tiny village of Livingston. Officially only accessible by boat, it kept its laid-back vibe that freed slaves from the Caribbean brought once-upon-a-time. We ankered off shore and used our dinghy (the small boat hanging off the back) to enter town. Just an hour later we left with our passports stamped and for the first time actually set sail. The next couple of days windless passages where we had to use the engine and wind speeds of up to 12 knots with proper sailing took their turns. Honestly, I cannot say that I learned sailing in the week that I spent on the boat, but at least Gianni showed Jimmy and me the coolest knot you can ever learn (more of a cowboy trick, but still great!).

Our beautiful Calypsa

Our days on board can be summarized to (like mentioned earlier) reading books, drinking Coca Cola, eating candy and trying to hide from the sun. Breakfast consisted of toast with peanut butter, lunch was non-existent and dinner was pasta with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese. Unimaginable but even I got sick of pasta!

Absolute wind-stillness is a scary thing on the ocean!!

One break I remember the best was when we actually set foot on Belize ground. Since immigrating to/from Belize is really expensive, especially with a boat, we were proper pirates for most of the trip. But one stop Gianni could not wait to get to. A lone island somewhere off the Belizean coast where to men, father and son, lived in their, sorry, shitty hut and spent their days catching lobsters to sell it to sailors. Four fresh lobster, grilled right in front of us traded in for some canned vegetables and a large bag of rice. Not the worst trade in history, let me tell you! It was also a very nice break for Maria who spent the best of her week on the board looking and feeling miserable due to sea sickness. She basically rated her days on how many times she had to vomit. Fortunately for me, I did not feel any signs of nausea and enjoyed most of the trip, although hardcore boredom did kick in multiple times.

Enjoying some streetfood

Immigration to Mexico was a real pain in the ass. Not because the officers were jackasses, everything was being taken care of by a very nice agent, but it cost a fortune. $260 for the four of us, just to have four passports stamped and a board registered. In total, the boat trip cost me somewhere between $160 and $200 including everything. On a normal charter trip of 3-4h snorkeling, Gianni charges $50 per person, so I think I got a really good deal for a week of sailing!

Don’t miss out on Yo Mama’s

Since Birte was not to arrive for more than two weeks and I wanted to learn more Spanish, I decided to actually go back to Guatemala because even with immigration fees and bus costs language schools in Mexico are more than 3 times as expensive. Jimmy wanted to go back to Guatemala as well and two days and six buses later we arrived in Flores, Guatemala. Language schools here turned out to be more expensive than expected and, to save money, after two days and me skipping the ruins (which I am going to visit with Birte in October) we took a night bus to Guatemala City. From the we took the fastest and probably most dangerous chicken bus in Guatemala’s history to San Pedro La Laguna. It was actually 3 buses and a lancha (small boat), but the first and longest bit was crazy. When we arrived in San Pedro, a 60 year old hippy approached us and recommended a hostel called Yo Mama’s. Although it is in urgent need of a name change it turned out to be one of the coziest hostels I have ever been to. From the moment we walked through the door, I felt right at home and part of the Yo Mama’s family although they might want to consider getting rid of Chiquita, the dog they took in, because no shower in the world could get rid of its horrible smell.

100% ADHD

At the Spanish school, Jimmy and me decided to share a homestay for a week. The family was very nice but the highlight by far was the five year old daughter of the family. Being a heavy victim of grade A ADHD she had the attention span of a squirrel on acid. Every day before lunch she wanted to play soccer with Jimmy and me. We would step outside, her wearing dancing shoes and a fine dress and we could count down 3, 2, 1 and she would be running head first into the wall. Going back inside was no option either because that would switch the focus back to soccer for a couple of seconds, so we just watched her for a while until the food was ready. On one of the last days she got heavily addicted to Spotify on my iPad. She made us dance to some ridiculous children’s songs and then I made the mistake of showing her the Macarena. Even her dad joined in. For the next two hours and every single time I saw her we had to dance the Macarena to every song possible. I have one or two videos of us dancing to the original song, maybe, if the internet connection holds up, I will upload it.

Fun in the morning

Since I literally spent every night in or around Yo Mama’s I decided to move back in to the hostel and not do the homestay for the second week. Although it was absolute off season there was always a crowd of people at Yo Mama’s and we spent the evenings going to pub quiz or just playing pool. On Sunday we went to Chichicastenango where the biggest market in Guatemala took place. Honestly, it is not worth it. Catered to tourists only they do not sell anything of any real interest. But I did buy my comfi pants for cheap. The lady started at 240Q ($30) and after 10 minutes of bargaining I bought the pants for 45Q. Even my Spanish teacher was impressed saying that they usually sell for no less than 75Q. When we were about to go back to the shuttle to take us back to San Pedro I stopped to buy a frozen chocolate banana. So here we are somewhere in the middle of Guatemala, enjoying our chocolate banana when a Guatemalan TV crew appears out of nowhere, the hosts asks me right away to take a picture with me (very professional :D) and then wants an interview with me. I could not let the chance to shine pass while at the same time trying to hide the chocolate banana as well as possible to not look like the total dork that I am. With my horrible Spanish managed to screw up two out of four questions she asked me. One, two and three being what is your name, where are you from and do you like Chichi market. The third question I answered with “Yes”. Classic. Four I still have no idea what she wanted from me. A video of the interview exists as well but that will never see the light of day.

best TV interview ever…

Although Lago Atitlan offers tons of hiking and exploration possibilities I did not do any of them (because of the language school) except for the sunrise at Nariz del Indio (Indian nose). We had to get up at 3:30h in the morning to catch the 4:00h chicken bus. After a 30 hike up the hill, we arrived just in time to see the sunrise. While the sun was rising one of the volcanoes around Lago Atitlan decided to erupt so not only were we able to watch the sun rise but also witness the spreading of the cloud of ash. It was actually my second time up on the Indian nose. We were partying all night, I was just coming back from the local pub and a German girl who was going to the Indian nose forced me into joining the group. Of course I forgot to bring my camera and it actually ended up in local guides threatening to beat us up if we did not pay them and I don’t think anyone but me got to see the actual sunrise (for some reason, everyone was afraid of the “big” german and just let me pass).

Sunrise @ Indian Nose

After two great weeks in San Pedro I left town early Saturday morning for a fun 32h bus ride to Cancun to pick up my sister. More about that soon…