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Inspirational Amenities

Thoughts on Our First Week in Antigua


  • Before we begin, let me say that you can subscribe to this blog by clicking the "subscribe" link over the right of your screen, and also let me say that I would feel loved and wanted if you do so. In all seriousness, the added support would be great. Cheers, Jonathon

A little over a week ago, we left Earth Lodge. After seven months of living what many would call the rustic life—no AC, no cable TV, and outhouses for bathrooms—we moved to what can only be called the big city in comparison. We now live amongst pizzerias, coffee shops, and luxury hotels; stay within walking distance of a large supermarket, a tourist market, and electronic stores; and pay more in rent than we earned living in Aldea El Hato, where Earth Lodge is.


However, leaving the hotel means we’ve willingly abandoned, not a cupboard, but an entire room of dry goods and fresh produce to be used as we liked, a full-sized refrigerator constantly re-organized to hold more stuff, a freezer equally as stuffed, two six-burner stovetops (one less than a week old), two ovens, and all-you-can-drink coffee/tea/water/beer/booze/soda. Not only that but everything was restocked twice a week such that no one ever had to go long without green tea and vanilla tea bags or a pound and a half of jalapeños.

Don’t get me wrong: Our new apartment is nice for our standards. There is an atmospheric separation (the back of a couch acting as a half-wall) between the bedroom and makeshift living room/kitchen (with a fireplace). The windows are big and fill the studio with light. Outside the south-facing window is some sort citrus tree bearing fruit, and to the north, we face a landscaped garden with assorted tropical flowers and bushes. We live in the safety of a gated community and have a somewhat functional hot water tap. There is a maid service to sweep, mop, and change the sheets once a week.

One would expect moving into the thick of it would bring about such luxuries, but as I washed dishes yesterday morning, it occurred to me how many amenities we’d left behind. It occurred to me because, first of all, I was washing dishes, not just dropping my plate off at the back of the kitchen for someone else to deal with. The real kicker, though, was that I was standing in the bathroom, squeezing our one five-quart pot into the hand sink to rinse out the remnants of oatmeal. Beside me, in the shower, a drainer half-full of utensils, bowls, and cups was drying.

If I’m completely honest, which I try to do when I can get away with it, I have—in my wilder days of youth—used a kitchen sink to piss in. Not necessarily something to take pride in but factual and not as uncommon as one might think (I think). However, without a doubt, I have never washed dishes in the bathroom. That said, in our new place, which doesn’t have an actual kitchen but rather a small wooden table with a portable electric two burner stove-top on it, a college dorm version of a refrigerator at its side, there is no kitchen sink to speak of: Our options are the bathroom or walking to a nearby outdoor washing area.

So, in the same vein as pissing in the sink, I suppose (in some warped notion of analogies), when there is only a pot, a couple of spoons, two coffee mugs, and some bowls, why bother walking all the way outside? Isn’t easier just to rinse those puppies in the toilet and let them drip-dry in the shower where they won’t cause a mess? Frankly, in a world going so green, I’m now becoming a little curious as to why we aren’t all bringing our dishes to the bathtub with us: save water, soap, electricity/gas (depending on heating), and time to boot.

Let me take this opportunity to invite you all to the revolution. We aren’t just changing our location, my friends; we are changing the world. Ecotourism’s got nothing on us.



Posted by jonathonengels 10:55 Archived in Guatemala Tagged living expat

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