Monday, March 22, 2010

Bon Voyage!

It's travel week! For the John's Joyride Wagon guests: have a great flight and get ready to spend a long weekend relaxing and having the time of your lives.

Guatemala is ready for our dear guests: average temperature is 82 degrees and sunny EVERY single day. We have placed a request to ensure the volcanoes surrounding Antigua are clear so you can enjoy your morning coffee with a grand vista. Cloud-free sunsets have also been requested to ensure you have a view while you sip your pre-dinner cocktails.

We have been advised that last year's coffee crops were one of the best for the world reknown coffee so you can enjoy it.

All guests should have received your travel info packages, but feel free to reach out if we missed anything.

Happy Birthday John and safe travels everyone!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

And so the countdown begins...

Just as the new year came so fast, John's birthday trip is just around
the corner.

Susie has blocked a number of hotel rooms and we need to confirm how
many guests will be attending the fun festivities.

Please email Margarita and confirm if you
will be joining the fun.

In true Rolander style, all you need to do is let them know if you are
traveling and a personalized itinerary will be put together so you can
confirm your preferences and give you an idea of flight and hotel
fares (flights are still pretty low for the season!).

Also, if you feel more comfortable dealing with a travel agent, a great friend in Guatemala will be happy to help you with your arrangements. Her name is Nancy and she is with Volare Travel Agency:

Get on your bike!!! (sorry, inside Rolander joke).

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Semana Santa in Antigua

Article by Sandra Kennedy

Pastel-colored homes, cobblestone streets, bougainvillea-covered walls and looming volcanoes offer the first glimpses of Antigua. The UNESCO World Heritage site embraces thousands of travelers wanting to experience this world-famed Catholic celebration commemorating the Passion, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Antigua, Guatemala comes alive with its annual “Semana Santa” Holy Week, held sometime between March 22 and April 23. The entire city participates in the solemn activities during the week with a joyous celebration on Easter. Spanish missionaries from Seville initiated this religious occasion during colonial times.

On Palm Sunday, “andas” or floats with images of the Holy Virgin of Sorrow and Jesus of Nazareth, are carried on the shoulders of purple-robed devotees. The floats weigh up to 7,000 pounds with 50-100 curcuruchas or carriers bearing their weight.

Funeral marching bands follow the floats, announcing themselves with sounds of slowly beating drums, clapping cymbals and deep-throated tubas. Thick incense creates a haunting, ghost-like fog. Crowds hush as the solemn procession passes by.

Monday through Thursday, similar processions parade through the streets in memory of Jesus’ final days. Devoted curcuruchas carry floats for a block, and then new carriers step in to carry them on to the next block. The ritual of carrying and transferring floats continues throughout the procession route, often lasting up to 12 hours. Standing room only crowds await each float’s church arrival at night.

On Good Friday, the participants dress in black. A float with a sculpture of Jesus carrying the crucifix leads crowds of mourners who pray silently and offer penance. In the afternoon, preparations are made for a mock trial and sentencing of Jesus Christ. Participants are dressed as Roman soldiers and even Pontius Pilate is represented. Eventually, floats covered with statues of the crucified Jesus come to rest at the church late in the night.

Holy Saturday’s processions are dedicated to images of the Virgin Mary of Sorrow. Women dress in their finest outfits and often wear high heels. Young children walk under the anda while their mother’s shoulder the immense float.

Easter Sunday is a day of rejoicing the resurrection of Christ. Fireworks, family meals, and celebrations continue throughout the day. Some of the most remarkable aspects of Holy Week are the luxurious alfombras (Arabic word for carpet) adorning the cobbled streets between processions. Families and friends begin preparations weeks and months ahead of the festival to create these elaborate offerings.

Sand is spread over the cobblestones to level them. Next, dyed sawdust in hues of black, red, yellow, purple, blue, and green are pressed through intricately designed cardboard stencils. Flowers, seeds, plants, vegetables, and pine needles add the final touches to these temporary works of art. The carpets’ designs reflect biblical symbols, Mayan traditions, and scenes from nature.

Soon procession marchers and heavy floats trample the once-beautiful alfombras, leaving only jumbled messes and flowers. Often, more than one procession passes over them. Within hours, another carpet is created. It is their way to honor Christ’s death and pay penance.

“Semana Santa” (Saint week) is a passionate sensory experience that mingles Spanish and Mayan traditions. It is a profound experience and well worth the trip.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

1950: John Rolander Arrives In This World

Other not-so-eventful facts of 1950:

U.S. Statistics
President: Harry S Truman
Vice President: Alben W. Barkley
Population: 152,271,417 (including the great John Rolander)
Life expectancy: 68.2 years
Homicide Rate (per 100,000): 5.3

US GDP (1998 dollars): $294.6 billion
Federal spending: $42.56 billion
Federal debt: $256.9 billion
Consumer Price Index: 24.1
Unemployment: 5.9%
Cost of a first-class stamp: $0.03

Also, in 1950:

U.N. World Meteorological Organization established
Korean War begins when North Korean Communist forces invade South Korea.
Sino-Soviet friendship treaty signed.
Communist Chinese forces invade Tibet.
British atomic physicist Klaus Fuchs is convicted of spying for the Soviet Union.
22nd Academy Awards - "All King's Men," Crawford and De Havilland win
"Great to Be Alive" opens at Winter Garden Theater New York City for 52 performances
Col. David C. Schilling (USAF) makes the first nonstop transatlantic jet flight in 10 hours and 1 minute (Sept. 22).
The first Xerox machine is produced.
The first self-service elevator is installed by Otis Elevator in Dallas.
Richard Lawler (US) performs the first successful kidney transplant at Loyola University.
Saturday morning children's programming begins.
Phonevision, the first pay-per-view service, becomes available.
Broadway classic Guys and Dolls debuts at the 46th Street Theatre and becomes an instant hit. The show ran for three years and became one of the Great White Way's longest-running shows, with 1,200 performances.
Charles Schulz introduces the Peanuts comic strip.

Sunset Boulevard, All About Eve, Born Yesterday, The Third Man

Paul Bowles, The Delicate Prey
Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles
Ernest Hemingway, Across the River and Into the Trees
Mary McCarthy, Cast a Cold Eye
Isaac Bashevis Singer, The Family Moskat
Wallace Stevens, The Auroras of Autumn
Lionel Trilling, The Liberal Imagination

Monday, October 5, 2009

The number 60

• 60 (sixty) is the natural number following 59 and preceding 61
• Being three times twenty, 60 is called "three score" in some older literature
• Because 60 is the sum of its unitary divisors (excluding itself), it is a unitary perfect number
• The Babylonian number system had a base of sixty
• The number system in the Mali Empire was also based on sixty
• The sexagenary cycle plays a role in Chinese calendar and numerology
• In time, the number of seconds in a minute, and the number of minutes in an hour
• A common speed limit, in miles per hour, for freeways in many U.S. states
• In years of marriage, the diamond wedding anniversary
• The maximum number of marbles (game pieces) in Chinese checkers
• The code for international direct dial calls to Malaysia
• The highest obtainable level on World of Warcraft (not including World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade)
• The total number of cards in the game Racko
• In darts, 60 (treble-twenty) is the highest score which can be achieved with a single dart
• New York Yankees Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs in 1927

Travel Plans

Susie and John are so pleased with the positive responses from friends and family!

We want to make sure your trip is enjoyable and stress-free. It is why advance planning is key.

Margarita is negotiating best rates possible, but we need to get a sense of number of attendees in order to guarantee lowest fares.

If you think you will be joining the trip, kindly email Margarita and provide her with the following info:

Number of guests in your party
Number of hotel rooms required
City of departure
Preferred travel dates (Proposed itinerary: Friday, March 26 to Monday, March 29, 2010)

The Rolanders are planning a weekend full of fun, relaxation and excitement!

Also, please feel free to post comments. We would love to hear from you.

173 days to go!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Why Antigua you may ask

We've chosen Antigua for various reasons...mixture of amazing culture...especially during holy week, flavor of an old European city, but more centrally located, lots of outside activities, wonderful food, and we have a wonderful tour guide in our friend Margarita! Come enjoy with us!