At least once a week we make the trek over the bridge into Fronteras with Joy scooting and me hiking. As we enter town we pass by the “Litegua” bus stop and Farmacia Lux, the bus stop for Linea Dorado, the luxury class bus that we take to Guate. The only difference between the two is that our bus has air conditioning (sometimes) and makes only one stop on the way (usually), plus the fare difference of Q15 ($2.10). Another bus line “Fuente del Norte” is right across the street, but we haven’t tried that ride yet. We wander through town keeping our eyes open for deals like two for one cell phone minutes, the only way to go. We’ve learned to be very careful about buying fruit and produce from the street vendors as often the stuff is not quite so fresh. Surprisingly, the prices are not always less than the supermarket; you have to shop around and bargain, and many Americans just don’t understand the concept of bargaining. If you don’t bargain, you gain no respect. Just ask Joy and she’ll tell you all about that process. The real price is generally around half of what they ask. Shop in the big stores like “Dispensa Familia” owned by Wal Mart, and the price is as marked. Takes all the fun out of it.
You can find whatever you need or want right on the street. There are several farm stores where you can buy high quality barbed wire, machetes (I bought a nice one), saddles, you name it. Further into town you can get your bicycle repaired, buy a new motorcycle, pick out the latest Milwaukee or Bosch tools, and before you leave town, stock up on some new chicks (baby hens that is) or piglets. All in a days shopping. You can also find all the latest cell phones; we have three major providers and six cell phone towers for 1200 people. It’s really amazing, but in a land where the average daily wage is Q75 to Q125, locals walk around with cell phones that cost Q1200 or more. Seems to make little sense when my Tigo phone cost me Q125, came with 200 minutes, and works like a charm.
More often than not when we’re done shopping we will make a detour under the bridge and head down the street to Bruno’s. He’s got it all there – internet cafe, tienda, storage, hotel, restaurant, and marina. It’s a nice place to take a break from the heat for an afternoon drink, lunch, snack, or dinner, whatever you desire. The managers, Steve and Monica are really nice people and they do their best to make everyone feel welcome. It’s hard to beat their prices.
As we walk over the bridge to our marina, we pass by several businesses and a few homes like the one below tucked under the shadows of this huge concrete connector. On the south side of the bridge are several homes like this one where the building has no electricity, no heat, no cooling, and none of the things we consider essential to our lifestyle. Dishes and clothing alike are washed in these 3 basin sinks , and we find local women scrubbing for hours every day to keep house for the family. Yes folks, these photos were taken in the 21st century.
When we get back to our marina, we often join our friends many evenings for drinks or snacks. On Sunday evenings we have a pot luck supper and we get a chance to relax with new found friends from all over the world. Chris and Laura in this photo below, ran a charter dive boat out of Belize called “DivOcean”, for a while. Steve and Anna on the left, with their daughter “Africa”, are living aboard and restoring a Joshua Slocum replica.
Stay for the Rainy Season