The Best Airport in the World

Photo blog

By far the coolest airport I’ve ever been to! This was St Maarten, Carribean. I was here in February 2011 and could not believe the rumours were true… the planes practically land on the beach.

We’re not talking little bi-planes or sea planes people. We’re talking full blown jumbo jets.

And watch out!! Don’t stand too close, people have died here. I saw people get blown back tumbling into the water as they stood behind a planes jets when it took off just 50 metres in front of them.

I was lucky enough to be in the water and had a plane go just 10m over the top of me! An amazing experience! Definitely need an underwater camera next time!!

St Maartens Beach Airport! Get there

Tips from Guatemala – Miguel from Mexico

My dear friend Miguel from Mexico is currently travelling in North and Central America on Business. He has written some tips and interesting facts about Guatemala! Also he has shown an interesting contrast between Mexican and Guatemalan way of life.

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FROM MIHU:
This message is not about my experience so far but what happened in Guatemala and some things that I can share with you that I found interesting and unique in this country.
Note for my English speaking friends: Some words and phrases are in Spanish so sorry if you don’t get those points.

• When you ask someone for something they reply “Que manda?”, in Mexico we usually say “mande”.
• In the bank were I worked they used open software such as open office and thundbird for handling their email accounts. It might sound pretty cool since they are saving money because of that but it’s a pain in the ass since what you can do compared to Excel is limited.
• The banks in Guatemala didn’t get that affected because of the financial crisis. Most of the banks have an old business model (basically saving and lending money, no future contracts, derivatives, etc). They only got affected because the big international banks cut their credit lines so it was harder for them to lend money to local companies.
• In Monterrey people go to McAllen, Texas to buy clothes, computers, etc because it’s cheaper to buy there than in Mexico. Guatemalans go to Tapachula, Chiapas. (in Mexico)


• There is a thing called “boleto de ornato” (ornate ticket) which is a tax that you have to pay in order to get your license and pay taxes. This tax is used to mantain public areas. I think this is a good idea since the local government doesn’t have to pay for the maintenance and they can focus that budget to other areas. Oh yeah, you can buy this “boleto de ornato” pretty much everywhere, the bank had a bunch of them.
• They have “tenencia” too. Tenencia is a tax where the Mexican and Guatemalan governments charge you for having a car.
• Only 30% of the population have bank accounts and/or credit/debit cards. This shows you how young is this market but how much room of improvement you have.
• Regarding the last figure I told you, most of the banks used to be niche banks (either they only operated with an specific economic sector, like coffee, or only to companies or people).
• They have their own fast food chain, it’s called “pollo campero” which is like the local KFC. It’s pretty cheap and the food is good. They have free wifi and in the same restaurant you had the common counter where you can order to-go or they have a huge salon where you can order and eat there.
• They say “nitido” (sharp) instead of “cool”.
• Pepsi is the most drinked beverage. You can’t practically see Coca Cola ads, it’s one of the few markets where Pepsi is the number 1 soda.
• Guatemala produces one of the best rums in the world, it’s called Zacapa and you drink it only with ice. I thought it was crazy since rum is know to be produced in the Caribbean and Guatemala produces one of the best rums. Crazy

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• If you go to Antigua you have to check out Antigua. It’s like the Latin American Pompey, the attractive of the city comes from the tragedies that have happened over there. 2 earthquakes destroyed the city and they have rebuilt part of it but most of the churches are semi-destroyed. Check out the pics that I uploaded.
• The cuisine is pretty similar to the Mexican cuisine. I found interesting and crazy a dessert which is bananas with mole (chilli chocolate like sauce), that’s is wack.
• There is a huge crime rate. Most of the people told you that they were talking on their cellphone and someone ran and took it. They told me that, supposedly, gangs were charging bus drivers some amount of money so they could keep their route, those who refused where murdered while working. The modus operandi was that a bike with two people would approach them and shoot. Several bus drivers were murdered with a few passengers. Recently the government prohibited that two people could ride a bike at the same time and that bike drivers had to wear a vest and a helmet with their plates number on them.
• In the bank’s entry there were lockers so you could leave your gun, I uploaded a pic of it.
• People told me not to take street taxis so I had to call to the “yellow cab” company. They are a pain in the ass since they over charge you and you have to be on time when they arrive. Sometimes you have to wait over one hour to get a cab.
• Oh yeah, the Starbucks coffee that you drink is Guatemalan but there are no Starbucks in Guatemala.
• Zona 10 is the clubs zone. These clubs are like bars and in that zone you can find the bar that best fits you. There are no cover.
• In Guatemala you feel like if you are still in Mexico. The main avenue it’s called Reforma (like in Mexico City), they have TV Azteca Guatemala, Banco Azteca, Mabe, Televisa, Bimbo, etc etc. Actually, most of Guatemalan know several things about Mexico and the Mexican soccer league.
• La Academia is HUGE. Oh yeah, a lot of people support Puebla because their best player, Pescadito Ruiz, plays for that Mexican team.

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I think those were the most important things. Hopefully these things are interesting enough. At the moment I’m in Mexico City’s airport waiting for my flight (which is delayed for an hour). I am going to Dominican Republic to the chocolate factory where I had my first assignment. I will be in charge of the project because of “my excellent performance” (yeah sure) so let’s see how it turns.
Anyway, more from me soon

Miguel

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Looking forward to reading more of Miguels wonderful adventures in Central America as he travels for business.

MIAMI – as Will Smith once sang “WE’RE GOING TO MIAMI”

Off to Miami to join my brother on the actual trip we had planned together. Well, actually it was meant to be from Orlando onward so squeezing in Miami, Key West, The everglades, Daytona and extra day in Orlando wasn’t such a bad side effect of ye olde Swine flu.

 May 12th 2009

 

MIAMI 

I decided to be the ultimate little sister and follow in my big bro’s footsteps, so off I went to Miami with him, it’s tough to be the younger sister. We met a couple of cool Germans Mario and Flo and they drove us out for a day at the everglades with air boat rides, alligator and snake talks and a lovely encounter with Mr. enormous alligator. Note to all– sitting on Alligators is risky, so make sure you can jump very high if you attend to sit on one like my good friend Mario had to do! Hehe. We hit the beach and the very warm water, didn’t see as many half naked women as I thought I would, hmmm stereotypes didn’t live up to standard.

 

Jamesie and I had a lovely day trip to Key West where we ate Key lime pie, sampled chili’s and went snorkelling on the rough Caribbean waters. A night out to a German restaurant where we tried to put our heads in Steins (1 litre beer mugs) and then on to the famous Clevelander bar… which led to 2 hours sleep and me boarding the bus to Orlando in my attire from the night before!

 
The trip continues….. in ORLANDO!