Weekend Getaway

Sometimes in life, we make a wrong turn. Other times, we follow a map for 4 hours in the wrong direction.

Yesterday afternoon, Juan, Joaquin and I decided to jump in the car and go exploring. I have been dying to get out to the ocean and check out the Pacific beaches of Guatemala. I’ve been working a lot lately and was beginning to feel a little cooped-up here in the [beautiful] mountains of Antigua. I was just craving the sand and the sun and wanted to watch Joaquin run free along the shore, with me chasing close behind. Coming from Panama where we were at the beach every weekend, it felt time to dip my toes in the water and get to know Guatemala a little better.

So we asked around and got a bunch of recommendations which all happened to be for the same beach – Monterrico. It was past noon on Saturday and every place we called was booked, but finally we found availability, booked the room, glanced at a map, pinpointed Champerico, threw our stuff into a bag and headed out. Everyone told us it was a two hour drive. After two hours we stopped at a gas station, filled up, and made sure we were en route towards Champerico, verifying with a few different people that we were on the right track. A gas attendant told us, an old lady told us, and an officer told us that, yes indeed, we were headed in the right direction, only about another 1.5 hours to go. We double checked the map, found Champerico on it once again, and kept going, chalking the time delay up to traffic and busy roads as we passed through village after village. Eventually, the road turned to a dirt road ridden with pot holes and [semi]domesticated animals strolling along bored and lazy in the late afternoon sun. We were confused but determined, sure that suddenly the horizon would open up to the long-awaited Pacific, right in time for a gorgeous sunset. I mean, come on, after all this we had to have some kind of Hollywood ending, right? Even Joaquin, at this hot, dusty point in the ride was still chatting in the back seat about the beach.

And then, there it was, we had made it as far west as we could, to the tiny, run-down old town of Champerico. We asked a few perplexed locals where the hotel where we’d booked our stay was, all of whom looked around like they’d never even heard of a hotel in their parts before. They sized up our car, our sweaty, desperate faces, and shrugged. We called the hotel where we’d made the reservation and that’s when the guy said to us “I’ve been wondering where you were! Where are you now? What? You’re where? In Champerico?! You were supposed to go to MONTErrico” And that’s when it hit us, hit us like a Mack Truck. Somehow, somewhere in our frantic hurry to get out the door Juan and I both mysteriously disregarded Monterrico on the map, and instead focused our destination about 150 miles northwest of there. For literally NO apparent reason, except for maybe the moronic mistake that both towns ended at the coast and also in the letters R-I-C-O. Here we were, in pretty much the most random Guatemalan fishing village you could imagine, at 6pm, starving, exhausted, with a cabin-fever baby who was looking for the beach, and no where to stay.

So we drove around a bit, lost and depressed, until we saw what looked like a hotel. It looked like a suspect hotel, but it had a pool, and at that hour we were afraid to try to head back down that dirt road in the dark. We pulled in and were quickly attended by two nice ladies who sauntered up to the car window. If you’re starting to think that we were at a brothel, I’ll cut the suspense. We weren’t. But lord it was a dive. We asked for their best room, and that is what we got. Two beds, a curtain rod hanging off the window, an AC, a 20 year old television chained to the wall, one framed poster of white people playing golf, and well, at least the sheets were clean. They told us the restaurant opened for dinner at 7:15. Juan and I gave each other a side-long glance, then I’m pretty sure I turned away to avoid some big old alligator tears from streaming down my face. I was feeling sorry for myself – had we really just driven over 4 hours for this?

But you know, I have to say that when we walked out to the pool (with a high-dive shaped like a Sea Horse and a giant psychedelic mushroom sculpture coming out of the shallow end) I caved a little bit. Joaquin was swimming and jumping and shrieking as if he really WAS at the beach. Our entire day had accumulated to that moment, and in spite of myself, I couldn’t help but smile and then just laugh. He was so happy, holding on to Juan’s shoulders as they swam around that incredibly weird mushroom sculpture. It made me feel like a jaded old lady to think I was sitting there bitter about my lack of a beach day, when my son genuinely believed we’d stuffed him in a car seat for 4 hours, to swim, eat dinner, and sleep at this place. The innocence of his pure joy, and unsuspecting acceptance, was pretty much entirely worth the whole drive. Well not totally, but it was close enough.

After some fried fish and beers, showers in the 70’s style shower (without a shower head so it was more like a hose down), and a bit of 80’s television dubbed in Spanish, the three of us snuggled up together in bed and fell asleep. And I’ve got to say, I slept pretty damn well. We woke up to a gorgeous sunny morning, packed up the car, and drove 4 hours home again. That was our weekend. It definitely wasn’t perfect, but it is certainly one of those memories that we will always remember, and when we do, we’ll laugh and shake our heads, and it will somehow have a soft spot in our hearts.

So, if you ever find yourself in the quaint town of Champerico, Guatemala, please, be sure to stay at Posada Del Mar [you’ll have no other option] and tell them Molly sent you. I’m sure it will be a memory you’ll never forget either.















  16 comments for “Weekend Getaway

  1. So awesome. When life gives you lemons. Make lemon drops. Good story Molly. Love the perspective!
    February 2, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    So awesome. When life gives you lemons. Make lemon drops. Good story Molly. Love the perspective!

    • Molly Berry
      February 3, 2014 at 9:13 am

      Keri! I love that you are reading, thank you! Glad you appreciate this little story as a ‘lemons into lemon drops’ story too…any other way would’ve just been sad and boring:) Big hugs to you and your gorgeous girl! xx

  2. E. Bronson
    February 2, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    Molly. Thank you for this story and the sense of humour. Sorry for the long drive but this is great writing material! Following your example, we laughed our heart out at the end of the blog, this could not have happened if you has made it to Monterico.

    • Molly Berry
      February 3, 2014 at 9:16 am

      Edna (and Lulu and Rick) you are so right. Had we actually made it to our easy 2 hour destination in Moterrico, who knows what boring kinds of things MAY have happened. Surely nothing as comical and ridiculous as our trip to Champerico! I’m so happy (Juan maybe not so much) that you got such a good laugh out of our detour. If we can’t laugh at the little things like this, then we’re toast. It really was a weekend that we’ll always remember:)

  3. February 3, 2014 at 6:26 am

    I so enjoyed this one, Molly!

    • Molly Berry
      February 3, 2014 at 9:19 am

      Thank you so much, Frida! At first I wasn’t going to write about it, but then I just thought it was too good not to, especially considering that life is just too short not to laugh at the ridiculous things we do sometimes. I’m so glad you wrote! Hope you are well. xx

  4. Conor
    February 3, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Classic! If the business of life is the accumulation of memories, then you should be a Fortune 100 company after this story!
    By the way, are you only taking photos with your iPhone? Are you mucking around with Snapseed or something afterward to provide the washed-out effect?

    • Molly Berry
      February 3, 2014 at 7:12 pm

      Conor! You’re so right, the accumulation of memories (good, crazy, ridiculous, funny) that I’ve collected over the last few years has really added up. I guess that’s why I love having my blog to go to when I really want to save it for Joaquin to read one day. I’m so happy you’re reading! Now it’s my turn to check out your tech saavy writing:) So yes, I do take all of my photos with my iPhone, which I actually wish wasn’t always the case (I should use my DSLR much more) but it’s just so accessible when my phone is always in my pocket. I mostly use an app called VSCO Cam and it’s awesome. You can do so much with it, you should definitely get it! Sometimes though, when I post a photo on Instagram I use their filters. I spend way too much mucking around with editing, but I love the process. Thanks so much for your comment, makes me smile. xx

  5. Toph
    February 3, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Awe. What a bummer. But way to see the positive. I’m sure Joaquin helps. It definitely made for some memories and a great story – and that’s what adventuring is all about, right? Thanks for sharing, Molls!!! Super inspired by all your creations.

    • Molly Berry
      February 3, 2014 at 7:19 pm

      Christopher, it was honestly a bummer. I was in some SERIOUS need of beach air and sand and water for some reason. But as the post explains, it truly was Joaquin that turned my perspective around entirely. You know as a papa, that sometimes even when you’re just at your worst it can take the littlest smile or laugh or comment from your child to shine a light in on you that is so needed. And you’re totally right – a story like this one IS what adventure is all about and we better be prepared, come what may, when we set out for one. I love that you are reading my blog, it helps me continue writing and sharing…and if it in any way inspires you, then that is the biggest achievement I could hope for! All my love xx

  6. Gabriela Diaz
    February 3, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Such a nice story!!!!! Sorry for you guys and Joaquin. Nunca olvidaran esta pequeña equivocación!!!! Now you have to go to Monterrico.

    • Molly Berry
      February 3, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      Gracias Gaby! Todavia, no puedo creer que nos fuimos a CHAMPERICO?!?! Aye dios mio. Definativamente nostoros vamos a ir a la play Monterrico pronto – estoy esperando que podemos ir este fin de semana. Ahora si, conoscemos exactamente donde esta la playa!! Vamos juntos!

  7. Lynda
    February 3, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Hilarious and those mishaps make for the best stories. Reminded me of our trip to Colorado thru Eureka Nevada. Lynds was 4 and Alexis 7. Due to our misplanning we spent the night in a gothic horror Victorian Hotel. In it’s second life it had been a brothel and was now renting out hotel rooms but was also a place for the elderly with no funds. The bathroom was down the hall. We all slept in one bed and carried the kids while showering not wanting them to touch any surfaces. (I should have never been a nurse). The warm ending however is that all the wheelchair bound elderly sitting in the lobby brightened up with incredible excitement, happiness and smiles @ seeing children, while we checked out. Very sobering and sad how desperate they were to try and touch and hug them and feel that young energy. I will remember that incident and be more effected than the hundreds of scenery, Mesa Verde history etc. etc. stories.

    • Molly Berry
      February 3, 2014 at 7:38 pm

      Lynda, what an absolutely beautiful reply to my crazy story. I LOVE hearing a snippet of your memories from that trip to Colorado..I feel like I can so vividly imagine everything you described. I’m sure I would have done exactly the same thing, holding Joaquin so he couldn’t touch the ground in a public shower, and I’m not even a nurse! I read what you wrote to Juan and we both agreed that sometimes what seems like a horrible mistake/outcome/situation can often be turned around with a change in perspective. I imagine that the feeling of the elderly’s desperate need for contact and youthful energy must have affected you very much, as it has for me just READING about your experience. Makes me sad to think of those individuals (with not funds) left more or less alone in that old hotel. I am sure that for many of them, your presence there with the kids was not only memorable for you. It’s so funny how something such as that can stay with us for so long, and yet the scenery or tourist destinations can all blend together after a while. It’s the human experiences that matter most, which is something I try to really highlight in my blog. I really truly appreciate you sharing this story with me, not only because it’s a beautiful one, but because I also love to imagine you and Bruce with a 4 year old Lynds and a 7 year old Alexis, on your own family adventures:) So much love to you! xx

  8. Denise Montgomery
    February 3, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    All I can say is, at least the town HAD a motel…..! 😉

    • Molly Berry
      February 3, 2014 at 10:25 pm

      Oh Denise, you have no idea how many times I thought that same exact thing! Totally don’t want to make it sound as if I was “put out” by staying at the now famous Posada del Mar, because at that point it really wouldn’t have been safe to drive, so we were lucky. And a pool with a mushroom and a seahorse diving board? Icing on the cake:)

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