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.
into Your Heart
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli
from a native here, that the best way to see Antigua is to wander. "Take your
time and go through the small streets. People are friendly. Say hello. Let
Antigua into your heart."
like an enchanting way to let an ancient colonial city grow on you, doesn't it?
Fortunately, since we are
house sitting for two months in a small village just a
20 cent bus ride away, we can wander and wonder all we like. What a great way to
spend the summer.
Volcanoes Fuego (on the
left) and Acatenango (on the right)
We see both of these
volcanoes from our bedroom window and up on the rooftop garden terrace. There
are three impressive giants here in
Antigua, and Volcan Agua is not shown in
this photo. Fuego spouts steam on a daily basis and is an active volcano. Agua
has shook, rattled and literally rolled Antigua in centuries past, and this old
capital of New Spain was covered in soupy mud. Hence, the name Agua.
The ground here in the
Antigua area is often in motion and we have felt many tremors since our arrival.
Chandeliers swaying, four-poster beds jumping... it's a way of life.
A corner conversation
One of the impressive
lessons the indigenous and locals have taught us is the importance of
relationships. Often far reaching, and with layer upon layer, the social network
is a living web of human connection.
The anciana on the left has
lived in this corner house her whole life. The younger woman on the right grew
up here, but has moved on into the capital city of
Guatemala. Still, on visits,
she makes it a point to chat with her neighbor of may years past.
The very old along side
the very new
Cobblestone streets, and
timeless cement and stucco buildings add a quaint and picturesque sense to this
friendly city. Most Latin American cities and towns will have wrought iron
covering their windows to keep ladrones out. But if one is going to have
metal bars keeping thieves away, why not add some beauty to the stark reality
and plant flowers?
A modern day scooter is a
favored mode of transportation. Affordable, quick and easy to park. Plus we see
families of 4 and 5 riding together on these things. It's the family sedan.
A reminder of where we
Horses are still an
integral part of this mountainous area and is the only transport of some who
live in the hills.
We are often reminded of
the Spanish influence while we live here; large, thick, wooden doors with iron
bolts and locks, the abundance of archways, and the colonial architecture.
Billy at Radio Amiga
Wandering around one
afternoon, Billy knocks on the door of Radio Amiga. "Could I record one of my
stories here in your studio?" he asked. Sure! No problemo. In another booth, the
Voice of Radio Antigua was on the air.
In this photo, Billy is the
Voice of Retire Early
One way to have your dreams
come true is simply to ask!
Fresh! Delicious! and just
$4USD a plate!
One of our favorite
restaurants in Antigua is Restaurant Santa Maria. Meals are consistently tasty
and food is fresh. These plates of fish or steak with varied vegetables, grilled
potatoes and garlic bread, accompanied by a fruit juice cost $4.25USD each. We
could spend more in trendy restaurants, but we like this clean, friendly and
locally owned establishment.
With only 6 tables, there
is nearly always a line out the door. Service is quick and cordial.
And... as a side note,
restrooms are clean too!
Inner city garden area
Archways left over from
Spanish occupation, thick stone buildings, deep set doors and windows, and
volcanoes in the background. This little plazita offers respite from
wandering the streets and it is set directly inside a time-captured painting.
Seeing places like this on
a daily basis, how could anyone be bored?
There is more story
under the surface
Children are everywhere and
are often part of the workings in a tienda. Women carry them on their
backs and bring them to their jobs - in this case, a tortilleria. Amid
the slap-slap-slapping of making tortillas going on in the background,
these just-past-toddlers greet the young boys who were sent out by their own mothers to
purchase tortillas for the family's meal.
Making relationships from
the very start of one's life, the fabric continues to be woven for decades to
Another delicious lunch
One of the obvious benefits
of living in the tropics is the availability of fresh produce simply bursting
with flavor and color. We were invited to share lunch at a friend's place and
this simply delectable meal hit the spot. Conversation added perspective and
House sitting adds comfort to travel
Another one of our house
sits, this time in
Antigua. Indoor/outdoor living is the style in the lower latitudes and it is one
we truly enjoy. Fresh air circulates, garden plants add color and the palm tree
on the left goes up through to the second floor!
Whimsical and wonder-full!
This is the big bad guy that blew his top in
1541 and schlepped villages and villagers down his sides in a torrent of mud.
Nobody hears much from him these days as he has been inactive since the mid 16th
century. However, he is still capable of producing volcanic debris flows and
lahars, which is the torrent of muddy water down his sides.
Coffee plantations dot his lower slopes and
his is an unavoidable, majestic presence in this area.
The Maya Maytag
These wash basins are common in Central
America. It's where young girls and women come to do their laundry. Having a
source of fresh water available is prized and is something many homes still do
A gathering place, these laundry areas are
locations for social contact where news and information is exchanged.
If one "must" do laundry, what a view to
Notice how fatigued these cement wash basins
are, with the paint worn through from so many people using them over the years.
A closet-sized cafe
Little restaurants and cafes are everywhere
and these very small businesses are easier for the owner to handle financially -
both with start up costs and maintaining employees. Having so many boutique
locations to choose from adds color and convenience to our meanderings.
The Little Grandparent's place
Here's another entrepreneur with only a tiny
window of operation and a couple of signs. That's all it takes and word of mouth
does the rest. Business is done from this home in "take-away style" through the
window and the kitchen is in the back. With only three products, the menu is not
overwhelming, and when The Little Grandparents sell out, they are done for the
They sell hot chicken tamales, a sweet tomato
and chocolate tamale (negros) and a 'salty' tomato tamale (colorados).
Notice the deep set arched doorway in this
Adventurer's Guide to Guatemala
Don’t go to
Guatemala without this book! Take advantage of what we know. Click
Street walking vendor
Other vendors walk the streets with their
products and find customers themselves. This woman is selling limes and buttery
avocados. The policeman stops to take a look. It's possible he wants an avocado
for lunch with some fresh squeezed lime, or perhaps he will take a supply home.
Depending on the size and style of avocado,
they can be 3-5 of them for $1.25USD
Indoor terraces and gardens add a glorious
Another hand-me-down from the Spanish are
these open garden squares in the center of large, open-air rectangular homes.
Every room has a view to the colorful garden and fountain outside and this view brings
nature right in to their every day lives.
It's a beautiful and peaceful manner of
Grand archways of a local museum
Repeating arches are another architectural
style brought over from Europe. This imperial building has a much larger inner
square, but the style is similar to the indoor/outdoor home above, just more
Horse drawn carriages add a
touch from the past
These carriages are seen all over
downtown Antigua and add a palpable impact of antiquity.
Due to an energetic and focused
foreigner, these horses are receiving better care than they have in
decades. They are being shoed on a regular basis now, with a special
lip to the shoe to better handle the cobblestones. Shelters from the
rain have been built, horses have nutritious feed, are being brushed
and have dental care. Drivers receive gold stars for the upgraded
care of their horses, something they display with pride.
The displaying of these stars is
also a motivation to other drivers to better care for their horses,
a positive source of peer pressure.
Scouts of Central America
Walking around, one never knows what they'll
find! This group stopped what they were doing and were being photographed with
their Scout Master. Billy saw them posing and snapped a shot himself.
We have no idea what the large sticks are
Work overseas! Teach English!
People all over the world want to learn
English, as it is the World's Business Language. If you would like to teach
English as a foreign language, get your certificate and many doors will be open
Why not come to gorgeous Antigua and study
Billy can't resist the Latina beauty
He's not gone for five minutes and finds a
group of dazzling youths who are eager to be in the same photo as he.
A neighborhood bar
At 8 Quetzales to a Dollar, these drink
prices are a bargain!
The top chalkboard lists non-alcoholic drinks
on the left, and beers on the right. The bottom oval board has mixed drinks with
the toast "To your health!"
Baskets filled with colorful tropical
These days, fresh strawberries are selling
two pounds for 5 Quetzales or 32 cents a pound. These bananas can be purchased
for about 38 cents the whole bunch.
Volcan Agua is a landmark
At the end of many streets you will find Agua.
If you get lost in town, you utilize Agua's presence to find your way.
This photo shows you the cobblestone streets,
the old cement and stucco buildings, the brilliant skies that are Antigua.
San Francisco, another ancient Church
Churches dating from the 1500s are all over
Central America and are a reminder of centuries past. Archways over archways,
huge, heavy doors, deeply set windows and crèches all replicate buildings the
Spanish left back in Europe. With the high mountain walls as a background, one
can easily fantasize being there.
Another Antigua street ending in Agua
It's the rainy season here now. Mornings are
generally glorious with the air being clear from the moisture having fallen the
night before. One will find the Tourist Police on the street corners and if you
need help, they are quite friendly. Antigua is noticeably clean and you won't
find much trash thrown in the streets.
Buildings are colorful with decorative
wrought iron on both doorways and windows and traffic is minimal.
As I mentioned previously, small vendors will
set up their wares just about any place. These women have chosen a shady corner
to sell their bags of sliced papaya and mango with lime and/or chili.
The lady on the left is wearing a lacey
half-apron, very common in Guatemala. They have multiple pockets for change, her
cell phone, pens or anything else she might want to carry around with her.
The Arch of Santa Catalina, a magazine
One never knows what they will see when
turning a corner and here, Volcan Agua is framed by a buttercup colored archway.
Latin countries are not afraid of using color for their buildings, and the
brightness makes for cheery photos.
On the right you see a building made of stone
and brick, and on the left is a deeply set doorway into a goldenrod-colored
front. Windows with their wrought iron frames and potted plants protrude into
the sidewalks. Lovely to look at, but sometimes one's shoulders will get caught
on the edge when passing by.
A vendor sits in the shaded doorway taking a
break. He might have set up shop there, if that door is not a viable entrance.
Again, you see cars parked, but traffic
itself is minimal. It's more fun to amble along.
It's coffee country here with coffee and
roasting shops abounding. A perfectly foamed cappuccino costs 12 Quetzales,
Neither of us smoke so we don't know the
pleasures of cheroots. But we see cigar houses in these Latin countries selling
their famous hand rolled stogies. Excellent cigars come from Guatemala,
Nicaragua, Honduras and Cuba with dozens of styles, shapes and grades of
Europe was unaware of tobacco until Columbus
returned from his impressive sea voyage of 1492. But Mayans depicted themselves
on their ancient pottery smoking a long roll of tobacco leaves tied up with
string. Here in Guatemala it is claimed that the word "cigar" comes from the
Maya language, because "Sik'ar" is the Maya word for "smoke."
What do you think?
Antigua's Municipal Building at the Plaza
Again, you can see that daily traffic is not
a problem here in El Centro, Antigua. One can pretty much cross most streets
anywhere you would like, not just on corners. However, on weekends you will find
this place jammed packed with tourists from the capitol, Guatemala City.
The Main Plaza in Antigua gives a royal
feeling and with the colonial architecture, it's easy to let the mind float to
Antigua's Plaza Mayor, a gathering place
The design of having gardens and a fountain
in the center with all four streets facing in to it is another repeated pattern
- from the indoor/outdoor homes to the bbeautiful courtyards of grand buildings,
to the actual Main Plaza in the center of any town.
And plazas are gathering places for everyone!
Rest your weary bones on a park bench in the
shade, daydream to the sound of the fountain, buy an ice cream from a wandering
vendor, play dominoes with some old friends, listen to live musicians or watch
mimes capture the crowd.
There is always something to do.
Agua, once more
It's becoming later in the day, and clouds
gather around Agua for the afternoon storm. Time to take our 20 cent bus ride
back to our little village on the edge of Antigua and watch the rains pour over our garden
terrace from inside our cozy bedroom. It's been another colorful day in El
Centro of Antigua and we'll return again in the next day or so to purchase some
freshly roasted and ground Guatemala coffee to take home, to visit some ancient ruins of a
church or convent built in the 1500s or to go to the maze-of-a-market for fresh
Why not come visit Antigua and see for
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.