Friday, November 19, 2010

Crass Fantasies

Recently, my fantasies have shifted from dirty sexy things I don't feel comfortable talking about in polite company to far more crass daydreams. These are lottery winner hopes, mink stole and diamond musings and fantasies of swimming, Scrooge McDuck-style, in a silo of gold coins.

But my moneymoneymoney daydreams aren't really about wanting stuff. I'm not a terribly acquisitive person by my nature. If I were to come into a windfall, I'd likely tuck it away in my savings account, pulling out just enough for an exotic adventure, possibly through Southeast Asia.  But these days, I can't stop thinking about money, because I really wish I could buy time. I want helper people to respond to my wedding whims and just make them happen. I don't want to think about all the darn work that goes into making this wedding affordable anymore. I want to simply throw piles of money at my wedding problems to make them go away. I want someone else to take care of the headaches at 9pm, after a long day of work.

I'm at the point where my fantasies are of me, lounging around in my pool of gold, and tossing two thousand dollars at a florist. Poof! No need to hike back to Ikea (yet again) for table supplies, or to go to the flower mart, or to scour design blogs because I have no clear aesthetic idea about what we want.  Or poof! I could call a rental company and take their overpriced recommendations without nitpicking, even if it's in my nature to nitpick, because I'd have the money to just deal with the price and move on to more important things. Or poof! I could call travel agent and have her arrange all our flights and intercity travel in Guatemala, leaving me to examine volcano hiking and massage adventures instead of the giant logistical bore or itinerary making.

I'm thiiiiiiiis close to having the wedding I want. It's within my reach. It's entirely within my budgetary means. But it's simply not within reach of my meager time resources. And so now, well after I thought I'd made peace with our budget, I'm cavorting in daydreams with bags full of money, showering my riches upon letterpress designers and $400 veils and personal trainers who will whip me into three-times-a-week shape before the wedding (apparently I get a bit spendthrifty with my imaginary money). In my dreams, I'm sitting in my apartment, fanned by people with palm fronds as I sip on a margarita instead of arguing over whether to go with the cheaper hotel option in Antigua (even though the difference is a whopping $15 a night.)

So maybe, just maybe, I no longer give a hoot about my budget and I give a lot more hoots about my sanity. I'm getting ready to dig a bit deeper and find some moneybags to cavort with, because I don't know how much more of this nitpicking I can take. And I don't like the idea of spending any more money on this darn wedding, but I despise the idea of spending much more time on all the mind-numbingly boring parts.

WIC - 1, Becca -732*

*Clearly, I am still in the overall lead with my department store dress and taco truck wedding. However, I will concede that the WIC is a deviously persistent opponent that is clearly in cahoots with my boss and our month of 9pm worknights. The WIC is also obviously partnered with Santa and his absurd December 25 deadline for gift shopping despite mandatory attendance at 15 holiday parties before then.


  1. I have had these daydreams you talk of...the time it takes to create and craft the wedding we want, on our terms (and our budget) is massive and sometimes I just want to throw cash at it and watch it get done in a blink of an eye!

    Though I will say...I'd be happy to spend a few hours logistical planning and itinerary mapping Guatemala for y'all. Honestly, that's what I love to do and most friends ask me to do some initial leg work for them...and I understand Latin America very well (damn those road that make getting from Point A to Point B twice, sometimes 3x, as long!)

  2. I recc Casa Cristina in Antigua. Central, cool and bugdet friendly. We stayed there on our honeymoon. Do not skip semuc champey near coban. Amazing.

  3. @SMK -nit's the roads that are giving me headaches! I know about traveling in developing countries, and I don't have a clear idea yet of Guatemala's specifics. We have 12 days, and want to do Antigua, Lake Atitilan, and Tikal.

    @Jenna- I didn't know you guys went to Guatemala on your honeymoon too! We'd love recommendations.

  4. I used to have regular time-stopping fantasies when I was in law school. Also, I love the image you used for this.

  5. @Hitchdied - I have an ongoing fantasy of getting Evie's superpower from Out of This World (a tv show in the 80s where she was half alien and could stop time by touching her pointer fingers together.)

  6. We didn't just go to Guatemala. We flew into Panama City and worked our way northward (independently) to Guatemala over the course of four weeks (leaving us a week and a half in Guatemala itself).
    You of course have to see Tikal - it's best viewed in the early morning or late afternoon (don't worry, it IS safe, and even if it's dark as you make your way out there are security guards around to walk with you. Bring a flashlight). Not only are pictures better at those times of day, tourists are fewer and wildlife more abundant (we saw more monkeys, butterflies, birds - other than wild turkeys which are everywhere all day - and coatimundis in those hours than any other time. We stayed one night at the Tikal Inn, which is not cheap ($90 per night with free dinner and breakfast, or $60 per night can eat cheaply in a few restaurants nearby so don't feel like you MUST eat at the hotel). For that price you get your own lovely cabin by the pool, and in the wee hours you hear howler monkeys going off like it's Jurassic Park (I know, Jurassic Park wouldnt've had SOUNDED like Jurassic Park). Otherwise, or in transit, you can stay more cheaply in Flores which has a lot of backpackers. Don't buy souvenirs there - they're just not as good as other places like Antigua. The lake is lovely. (In Flores we stayed at Hospedaje Dona Goya, but basically all of those places are the same...dirt cheap, bare bones, decent room with bed and ensuite bathroom). There are other ruins around there, but you may feel that you've had enough after Tikal.
    Oh, if you enter Tikal after 3:30 or 4pm, they give you a ticket stamped for the next day, so you can also visit all the next day on the same ticket at no extra charge.
    You don't need a guide. Really. You can glean everything you need from a combination of the overpriced tourist map and the guidebook.

    Be careful if you take the Flores-Coban route - when we were there the main road via Sayaxche was washed out and it took 9 hours instead of 4 to go via the only alternate route.

    In general the tourist collectives are the easiest way to go anywhere that tourists go - they leave at convenient times from convenient places. You really are not any safer on them than on chicken buses, though some will claim you are, but they are often worth the extra cost for all the time and hassle they save you.

    Absolutely do not miss Semuc Champey. It's a b*tch to get to, but worth every grueling mile. Take an easy bus to Coban, and then transfer to Lanquin (some tourist buses will go straight to Lanquin). The last 11kms are bumpy and slow. I recommend El Retiro in Lanquin - stay in a private ensuite; it's not expensive. It's a little slice of paradise with thatch topped buildings, a friendly cat, lots of nature and a flowing river at the bottom. It's down the hill from the main town. You can stay in Lanquin, or stay actually at Semuc Champey at one of two hostels, which makes it easier to make more than one visit over the course of a few days. Nothing is expensive except admission to Semuc itself.
    What it is: a series of gorgeous, limpid turquoise pools of clean, cool water on a natural limestone bridge over a river that you can swim in, including tiny waterfalls that are fun to slide down, with tiny fish all around. On either side, sheer cliffs and beyond, green forested mountains in a splendid view. There are also caves and a lookout point to explore. The 9km between Lanquin and here is even worse than the trip to Lanquin, so be prepared.
    You do not need a guide for this: you can arrange transportation w/o guide at El Retiro in their trucks, or you can walk up to town and start asking around for a collective or pickup to Semuc. It's easier if you speak Spanish. You can go on your own for as little as 15-20 quetzals each for transport. Easiest in the early morning, but not impossible later. On the way back, trucks leave as late as 4pm.

  7. I recommend not going to Guate AT ALL (really, it's total sh*t, just don't go). Plenty of tourist buses go straight to Antigua. You can even go straight to/from the airport for $30 US. Budget LOTS for admission fees. You can skip the ruins of the Colegio but do not miss Convento de la Recoleccion on the outskirts. The central square cathedral ruins (behind the entrance to the still-used cathedral) are totally worth it, too. All the usual tourist stuff is great.
    DO eat at La Fonda de la Calle Real near the Arco Santa Catalina (which is also a hotel that is quite lovely, but pricey). Eat there, get wine, really enjoy it and treat yourself. DO eat at Jardin Bavaria.
    OH! And by the market, a little farther north along Santa Lucia on the same side as the market (just between the market and Calle de la Recoleccion) is a very small restaurant spread out over two tiny buildings. It has a small sign advertising "The Best Ceviche" and you know what? THEY ARE NOT JOKING. Portions are meal-sized.
    For shopping - Nim Pot market. End of story. A portion of the proceeds to go charities helping impoverished Mayan communities.

    I wouldn't recommend the overpriced fancy jade shops - really inflated. I can recommend a good "real" jeweler if you are into that sort of thing. Not cheap.

    Wear well-padded, comfort-sole shoes in Antigua. The cobbled streets will destroy your feet otherwise.

    I'd be happy to share my Facebook albums of the trip, but would e-mail those as for obvious reasons I don't want to post them here.

    Hope this helps!

  8. @Jenna - Thank you! This is great stuff, both the recommendations and yes, the road info. And if you're willing to share, I'd love to see your Facebook albums! We can't get enough of information on Guatemala right now.

  9. we're at a completely different (2 years engaged and haven't started seriously planning yet because there's a HUGE cloud of maybe this way..maybe this front of us) stage, but it's hopefully the last "should we just...elope for heaven's sake?" point in this process before just-when-it's-all-about-to-come-together. my wish for you is sanity...

  10. Antigua is absolutely lovely. Do go see the ruins around the city, they're mind blowing. Also, if you hike Volcan Pacaya, which is awesome, wear shoes with thick tough soles. Plastic running shoe soles might just melt.

    The roads in Guatemala might be a headache, but one of my favourite days when was the road flooded. My tourist bus stopped in a giant line of cars and people. I had a limited grasp of Spanish so I didn't really know what was going on. They herded us up to the massive pond, now covering the road and pointed to the other side. We waded through waist deep water with our packs over our heads, and climbed into the bed of a construction truck on the other side which then drove us to another tourist bus. I can still feel the wind on my face.

    I loved Guatemala. Enjoy it!

  11. S - ha, when it was flooded as we tried to go across, they put us on a different road - the one that goes down to Rio Hondo and back instead of 4 hours in a van, it was 9 hours in a sort of hook shape. On the plus side, the Rio Hondo to Coban road is gorgeous and we never would have passed by if the road from Sayache had been passable.

  12. How much do I love you for mentioning Evie in your comment up there? God, for a period of time my biggest fantasy was BEING Evie. With her boyfriend and malt shop and computer and special powers. Every now and then, I would touch my fingers together just to ... check. You know? Of course, I haven't tried that in YEARS. Yes. It has certainly been many, um, years.

    [Shuffle feet, nervous cough]

    BUT YES. I completely concur. I'm not about money buying THINGS so much as I'm about money buying convenience. That's a pretty powerful selling point for me, with anything. In the meantime, I am going to keep wishing that you fall into your own personal pool of gold.

  13. I swear I leave comments that get gobbled up by my Mac (my Mac and Blogger do not get along).

    So, um, yeah. I am a great believer in throwing money at a problem, provided I have enough money and the problem is not something I would enjoy fixing.

    Refinishing furniture = Fun! Don't throw money at this; it's a project!

    Packing my lunch every day = Boring. Throw money at this problem. Problem solved.

  14. Hmmm, apparently my comment from last week was eaten. Oh well.

    What I said was that I'm totally with you on this. I feel like I'm over trying to research the cheapest options. Throwing money at the problems seems like such a better plan. (Of course there is no money to throw at the problems, but that is beside the point.)


I love active conversations, including (civil) disagreement. I don't love spam or people who use internet anonymity to be rude and disparaging. Spam and rudeness will be deleted.