Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Guatemala City AIRPORT and Buying ART

This will be a long post since it's the Insecure Writer's Post of the Month and also the first one of the A to Z Challenge, and I'm covering several topics.

What I am most insecure about this month is Time. Wasting my Time. Not using it effectively. Avoiding Work. If all I had to do as a writer was Social Media, I'd have no problems with work because I love social media. I love Twitter and Blogging and Facebook and all aspects of social media marketing. I could do it the entire day. Compared to the writing it's easy. Not as satisfying, but easy, yes.

Writing a novel is hard, laborious, difficult, detailed WORK. I tend to avoid it, which makes me insecure about my priorities. Writing my next book is a priority yet I push it to the back of my schedule, day after day after day. Not good. I'm working on doing better. After this month, I think I will do better. Okay, now that I have that off my chest, on to the big event of April, the A to Z Challenge:

First post in the A to Z Challenge:

When people fly in to Guatemala, the first thing they see is the airport. For such a large city, it's a very small airport. You come in, are directed to your luggage pickup at one of several carousels, then guided through customs. It all takes about thirty minutes before you're steered through the door where a crowd is waiting, people watching for whoever they're waiting for.

We wait with a shuttle van parked nearby, the driver loads in the guest's luggage, and then we hand you a water bottle and head off. It's a three hour drive from Guatemala City to Panajachel, with beautiful mountain scenery.

This is where tourists will catch their first view of the Mayans, people who have lived among these mountains and villages for thousands of years, still wearing the traditional clothing, often speaking the ancient languages. The ones in the mountains live much as their ancestors did, growing corn, bean and squash, cooking over open fires, gathering wood from the forests for daily use.

One of the items that immediately catches the attention of tourists when they get to the Lake Atitlan region is the art. The Mayan people are very artistic, even the children seem to have natural talent at drawing and creating things.

When you buy the art, the vendor will remove it from the wooden framing and roll it securely for packing. Even the small paintings must be removed because U.S. Customs will not allow the wood from Guatemala into the country.

My sister and I pose with the artist of the piece she chose to purchase. It cost Q350 or about $75.

The woman in the photos below lives and works in San Juan, one of the smaller villages along the lake. I truly love her work. When I'm ready to select a painting for my home, I'm buying it from her.


  1. Hi Karen - that's plenty of driving time to see the countryside - it looks so glorious. Interesting about the wood aspects .. and aren't the art works colourful - I love the one your sister purchased ... also good to know you'll be supporting a local artist too .. Wonderful A ... and where is Time? ... cheers Hilary

  2. Oh my, I do love that art. I would so enjoy to be surrounded by such vibrant color.

  3. *waves* to Karen, as an ex-expat to you living the life.

    Love the art too - filled with those gorgeous colours that look so wonderful in tropical sunshine. I miss that! Looking forward to reading more.

  4. A wonderful post. More Mayan pictures in my mind, to put with the others as I've been reading about the Mayan culture off and on for many months. I'm going to love following you through the A to Z. :)

  5. Writing is hard work and there is no one to hold you accountable, but you, which in theory sounds tough, but in practice is a daily struggle, isn't it? Good luck, Karen.

  6. Some really cool artwork.
    I could blog all day but unfortunately I don't get paid to do that...

  7. I love your posts about your new home. Those artists are really talented. And it's strange to think about people still cooking over open fires and living off the land.

  8. It's nice to see you again, Karen! What beautiful artwork! Thanks for following me. I tried to return the favor, and then I remembered that I must have started following you during one of the earlier A to Z's.


  9. You will get your novel done. I would love to blog and do this all day but i already do so much on this:) I love the artwork-so bright and unique. There must be symbolism in some of these works as well like the lady in the middle picture. wonderful to see

  10. What beautiful artwork! The colors are gorgeous! Glad to catch up with you again on A to Z this year.

  11. The artwork looks amazing! As does the view.

    Good luck with the 2015 A to Z Challenge!
    A to Z Co-Host S. L. Hennessy

  12. Nothing like a small airport to make you feel right at home. (I hope) :)
    I love the vivid colours in those paintings. I would be buying a piece too, if I was there. I'm curious about the wood, and why it can't be brought into the States. Is it sacred, is something wrong with it? Curious minds want to know! LOL

    Lovely, colourful start to start your A to Z posts. Enjoy the journey!!

    Jenny, Pearson Report
    2015 A to Z Challenge Ambassador

    1. Jenny, My guess is because of termites, due to eggs that may be in the wood.

  13. Time seems to be a writer's worst enemy. So much to do, always.

    Beautiful art :)

  14. Beautiful art! I love the colors, though they wouldn't look right in our house! Maybe I should redecorate... :D

    Hopped over from A to Z
    Rebecca at The Ninja Librarian

  15. Oh I love the artwork. The last one is my favorite I think. I have some in the same style that I picked up while traveling. Just love them :)

    Anna @ herding cats & burning soup

  16. I am so guilty of procrastinating the important things. Good luck with changing that.

  17. I so want to come! But alas...I'm now working full-time for a year to pay off old debts so must winter it out (will it ever stop snowing???) I love the art too and I'll catch you later on in the challenge for another catch-up!

  18. Howdy,
    I'm stopping by from Pam's Unconventional Alliance on the a to z blog challenge.
    The art is beautiful!
    I'm looking forward to reading about your alphabetical journeys.

  19. I've been pushing writing to the back of my schedule too. Today I mopped the kitchen floor instead of writing. I reorganized the pantry. I cleaned out the refrigerator. And I didn't write. That doesn't make sense, since I didn't get any real satisfaction out of my clean floor and tidy pantry. Good luck on A to Z. I didn't even consider it this year.