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.
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli
While great attractions
like ancient Maya ruins and
cities are abundant in
there are small villages surrounded by stunning scenery that are worth a visit
also. Concepcion is one such town. Nestled dramatically inside a caldera, this
town is unaccustomed to seeing tourists and strangers. We were the oddity!
Come take a look.
Helen and Akaisha waiting for
public transport to appear
Panajachel, we took a 3
Quetzal (about $0.36 cents) chicken bus 1000 feet up the mountain to the larger town of
Solola. Here we waited for a fletes truck to take us 7
kilometers to the indigenous town of Concepcion.
Prices for this ride were all over the map with the first driver sizing us up and deciding that
we could pay double the local rate. Why not? We were tourists and
how would we know any differently? Well they've never met Billy...
So Billy goes from driver to driver and asks each what they charge
for the ride. One driver who is as honest as the day is long quotes
him the real price -- to the dismay of his buddies in the first taxi
-- who then get out of their truck, march up to his vehicle and then
give him the riot act!
They were just kidding... (sort
of...) and they playfully punched and wrestled as testosterone-laden
young men will do, all with smiles on their faces.
(Editor's note: For those who have been
story of my finger accident, you will notice that my ring finger
in the above photo looks pretty awesomely normal again!)
Panoramic view of Concepcion surrounded by
The scenery is dramatic here in Concepcion,
with the town is spread out below the plunging wall sides. Local crops of
cabbage, cauliflower, cucumbers and corn dot the plains.
Sunday treat of fruit syrup over fresh
There had been annoying and obstructive construction on the road
from Panajachel to Solola, so we decided to take this trip on a Sunday because
stopped for the day. The bonus was that we arrived in this tiny town with the
Sunday market alive and active. A favorite treat here in the area is shaved ice
with fruit syrup poured over it.
Gooey and refreshing
Tempting as it was, we restrained ourselves
and passed by the drippy strawberry-topped snow cone.
A smelly source of
An assortment of stinky
dried fish and shrimp provide a source of protein and flavor for these
indigenous. The two silver colored bowls in the center are the scales used for
measuring the product.
Fruits and veggies
Cucumbers, plantains, potatoes, papayas,
chilies, melons and more -- all available here at the market.
Chilis, tomatoes and limes
Every village has distinctive attire which
designates that inhabitant from other towns. This blouse is busily woven and
females wear the style from the time they are children.
Conversation over carrots
Markets are social scenes where neighbors and
friends can catch up on the latest news and happenings. Here you see women
chatting it up among the produce. Notice the hand woven cloths used for carrying
bags -- very similar to the hand woven cloth of their blouses.
Names and accounts
Women line up to have their names written
down and the amounts of money they want to put on their credit. Notice all the
colorful woven cloths on their heads, as well as the baby wraps on their backs
The lady in the center, 3rd from the left,
was a hoot. Apparently, we as foreigners caused such a stir that the braver ones
among them would poke us in various bodily locations like our ribs or back side.
This woman literally "bopped" me on the head with her hand as she passed by!
I decided I'd play the game too, so I snuck up
on her and gently yanked her braids. She was most surprised, but returned my
playfulness (and personal bravery) with a wide smile.
Brothers pose for a photo
We just love the natives! So friendly and
willing to engage, these brothers were clowning around and stopped their antics
to pose for a photo. Thanks Guys!
Beans in a bowl, baby on the back
In these ancient cultures, gender
roles are defined. For the most part, residents seem happy with the security and
community these role destinctions provide.
The natural beauty of a child's smile
This gorgeous young girl, perhaps the age of
nine, is in traditional dress with an embroidered huipile (wee-peel) and
is well versed in carrying a bundle atop her head. This bundle of goods weighs
maybe 20 pounds.
How can you resist her beauty,
industriousness and physical strength?
Local church in Conception
This church was built in 1621 and is in good
condition after all these centuries. The carved wood ceilings inside are
amazingly intricate. There are individual statues and large pieces of ancient
carved statues in hollowed out niches from this time period. You can still see remnants of the gold
paint used. Next to the rows of pews in the church is a life-sized velvet-covered wooden cross that must be used in religious ceremonies during Lent. That
thing looked heavy!
While we were here, a baptism was being
performed and the whole family was in attendance.
Colorful threads in a whirl
The women in Guatemala are known for their
well made and colorful textiles, and the quality of their embroidery and woven
cloth is a wonder to behold. This woman's display of thread for sale shows a
wide variety of the colors available.
Here you see once again some examples of
native weaving and embroidery. The Mother is wearing a blouse and skirt that are
both hand woven in a native pattern and the child she carries on her back is
wrapped in a cloth that is also hand woven. The small child on the left is
wearing a traditional blouse called a huipile (wee-peel) that has flowers
in three dimensional embroidery over lace.
In the background you will see meat hanging
from a hook and a pile of chicken carcasses. Rarely, if ever, will you find
refrigeration in these market places.
Roberto, our tuk tuk driver
After our playful visit in Conception, we
decided to take a tuk tuk back to the town of Solola. For 20 Quetzales each
person we were transported through the winding mountain roads and we were able
to stop at any spot along the way to take photographs. Our friends are in the
green tuk tuk ahead of us which you can see through the window.
By the way, Roberto was twelve years old and
very excited to be making 40Q's from one fare.
Local fletes taxi
This photo shows an example of a local
fletes taxi like the one we took the 7km from Solola to Conception. Some
fletes have seats but others are standing room only.
Decent roads, rolling hillsides
The countryside is beautiful through these
mountains. On the left side of the road you see some dead corn stalks. Since
corn is a staple here in Central America, corn is planted anywhere possible.
Most often there will be beans winding up the corn stalks and squash growing as
well. Most families have their own milpa which is a self-sustaining
For more stories about Guatemala,
To learn more about Guatemala as a retirement
About the Authors
Early Lifestyle appeals to a different
kind of person – the person who prizes their
independence, values their time, and who doesn’t
want to mindlessly follow the crowd.