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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Solola Festival

Solola, Guatemala

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

Where we live in Panajachel is only a 7 minute, winding bus ride to Solola, the city on the mountain top. We heard there was a local festival there one weekend, so we decided to check it our for ourselves. 

A Maya family dressed in their native best.

The bus drops us off at the Plaza and this is where the action was. Maya families turned out in their native best to attend the festivities. There were carnival rides, music blaring, vendors selling and restaurants under tents.

The Adventurer's Guide to Guatemala

Here you see a Maya man in his decorated woven shirt and pants, along with his family in their tipico. The young boy is in western clothes, but women and young girls - and men of a certain generation - still wear their Maya garb. 

Sitting on a bench, taking a rest

When I see these ancianas, I always wonder what their story is. Usually the color and woven design of her blouse and skirt will tell you which village she is from, and in this case she is from the city of Solola.

You can tell by looking at her face that her lifetime has been one of work and toil. She was sitting alone, so it was hard to know if she was a widow, if she had any children or grandchildren, or even if she was enjoying her Sunday outing.

Blaring band

We turned the corner at the Plaza and all of a sudden we hear this BLARING band music. Even from a distance, our chests where thumping from the sound waves. We move through the crowd and get closer... and I'm wishing I had brought my ear plugs. I look around and see these children and adults and no one seems to mind this assault on their ear drums.

 

The song that the band was playing was the Latin version of Inagodadavida. Over and over and over the same pounding rhythm.

Dancing costumed man with cigar

In the center of the crowd are these costumed dancers wiggling and wriggling with the music. It was hot and humid that day and there was a girl going around fanning the dancers so they wouldn't faint from the heat. We were warm, so I can only imagine what it was like to be physically active and in the sun.

A Love Healer, a Mystery Man and a Warrior

The costumed lady on the left is a Love Healer, whatever that is. I imagine she heals broken hearts or makes you ready for the love of your lifetime with some sort of potion. The man in the middle looks a little bit like a circus guy with a boat hat on, but he's carrying what looks like a shoeshine box. Your guess is as good as mine... and of course we have what looks like a Spanish Warrior in his armor on the far right.

Notice that some of the Maya women in the front row have woven cloth on their heads to keep the sun off. This is a very common sight here in Guatemala.

Maya fried chicken

After so many minutes of the pounding rhythms, we decided to give our ears a break and head over to the tented restaurants. At this one we found fried chicken.

Billy and his latest girlfriend

Billy enjoys flirting with the locals and I think he made her week. She was willing to play along, but I think it was because she saw me smiling and she knew it to be all harmless fun. Billy would not take advantage of her innocence! You can just see the warmth in her eyes.

Our $3 meal

For 25Quetzales we got a piece of fried chicken, rice, vegetable salad, refried beans, endless tortillas and a drink. Not bad for $3USD, eh?

The sound of tortillas slapping

Tortillas are a staple food in Latin America. You can hear the slap-slap-slap of tortilla making all over town and there are shops that sell nothing but tortillas for every meal period. This young girl has many years of tortilla making ahead of her.

Notice the brilliant aqua of this woman's huipile (WHEE-peel).

Blue and white corn tortillas

The blue color of these tortillas comes from the anthocyanins in the corn, which are the same healthy compounds found in berries and red wine. Blue corn has several nutritional advantages over the standard yellow or white corn varieties. It contains 20 percent more protein and has a lower glycemic index than white corn.

 

While there might be a subtle difference in flavor, we find the blue and white corn tortillas to taste about the same. Others may disagree.

There's nothing like an ice cream cone on a Sunday

Ice cream vendors were making a killing on this hot Sunday afternoon. Even Billy and I purchased one of these chocolate dipped ice cream cones. It had to have been one of the biggest I have ever attempted to eat!

The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement, 3rd Edition

Notice these hand woven, hand embroidered blouses, skirts, shirt and pants. The Maya just love pattern. The more the better!

The face of an angel

After our raucous afternoon at the local festival, it was time for the 7 minute drive home on the public bus. We quickly found seats before the bus filled up to capacity. This young angel-faced boy had a curiosity about us foreigners and just unabashedly stared at us. He was drooling everywhere including the back handle of this seat. Good thing we travel with baby wipes! One must hang onto the back of seats or else you might just get shot into the aisle on one of these hair pin turns. The baby wipe helped clean up the grabbing area.

Aaaahhhh.... that's better.

Lake Atitlan

The gorgeous view of the lake as we head on home.

It's mind blowing to realize that the Maya have been living here on this lake for centuries. They had their own societies for about 1,000+ years, then they survived the Spanish invasion. Now they are surviving the jostling into the future with digital gadgets, cable TV, western medicine and education, tourists and a change in diet.

For more stories about Guatemala, click here

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About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurerís Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.

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