This was the first trip after discovering that Pranav gets motion sick on aeroplanes as well. So we had to ensure that the flight is about 2 to 3 hours and not more than that. That meant having to split the flying to two independent segments. Pranav was still on Gerber food and we carried enough to last the trip (just as we had done on all trips till date). As in the NY/DC trip, the only thing that we had to buy for Pranav was his milk. He was no longer in Enfamil. Starbucks was ubiquitous in Houston. In Guatemala we quickly discovered milk cartons which went by the brand name of "Pinito". One carton would last us a day easily and we could find one everywhere we went.
We caught an afternoon flight from LAX to Houston. We had planned it such that we would be flying when Pranav would be having his afternoon nap. Pranav woke up when we were just about to descend into Houston and vomited within a few minutes. So much for planning. We fed him something light at the airport and took our rental car and drove to a motel close to the downtown. The rest of the evening went in feeding Pranav his dinner, doing laundry on his soiled clothes and ordering Pizza for our dinner.
After having some light breakfast and giving Pranav a cup of milk we went to the Natural History Museum to take a look at the butterfly-aviary. Pranav enjoyed the trip. An occasional glimpse of a flying butterfly would excite him a lot. We had breakfast at the in house Mac-Ds and fed Pranav his oats and milk. We then went to the Museum of Fine Arts. We came to the hotel in the afternoon after picking up subs from Quiznos. We fed Pranav Gerber pulp and rice cereal and put him to sleep. In the evening we had dinner at the nearly Olive Garden and fed Pranav some pasta there along with his standard dinner of more rice cereal and Gerber pulp.
Today was a very light sightseeing day. We ate breakfast in our room and had a late start because nothing we wanted to see opened before 10am. We spent some time checking out the Menil collection, Rothko Chapel, Byzantine Chapel etc. Pranav menu and feeding times were same as the previous day. Modern Art galleries are quite fun for us. They are not cluttered with artifacts and Pranav generally has lots of room to run around. We ordered Pizza again for dinner.
Today's agenda was to catch the flight to Guatemala around Pranav's nap time and reach our hotel without incidents. We managed to do that. There were no problems with immigration or the customs and we reached our hotel (Howard Johnson's inn) in the afternoon. We bought dinner at the hotel. Pranav was fed his usual menu at the usual times.
After a light breakfast at our hotel and feeding Pranav some Gerber and toast, we went to checkout Museo Popol Vuh and Ixchel. It was a short (~5 min)taxi ride from our hotel. The place was very well maintained and devoid of people. We spent a lot of time there and also gave Pranav his lunch. We came back to our hotel for our lunch and after that went to the National Museum. It was another deserted museum where Pranav happily slept in his stroller. Dinner was back at our hotel.
After the breakfast at our hotel in Guatemala City, we took a taxi to Antigua. It was over an hour and Pranav was fine on the drive. After checking into our hotel (Hotel Aurora), we fed and put Pranav to sleep. The cobbled stone roads and footpaths were a real pain with the giant stroller. We visited a couple of churches around the town centre.
After the breakfast at the hotel, we went and checked out the San Francisco monastery. After lunch, Manoj went up Pacaya volcano while Aparna babysat Pranav. This has been the longest either one of us had to stay with Pranav alone on a trip. It was a bit of challenge as Pranav is not used to sitting inside the room for that long. We probably wouldn't repeat this very often.
Today was a light sightseeing day in the morning. For lunch we all came back to the hotel and took a nap. In the evening we took a horse carriage ride around the town and did some shopping.
After a leisurely breakfast at the city centre, we took a taxi ride to Panajachel. We had timed it so that Pranav will be asleep in the car. Unfortunately, the driver lost his way and that added 30 mts to the drive and that meant Pranav was awake for the last 30 to 45 mins and those were the most winding part of the trip. Pranav threw up a few times and we were very nervous. That taxi ride was followed by a 10 min boat ride where Pranav was even worse! We finally made it to La Casa del Mundo and after letting Pranav's tummy settle a bit fed him lots of fluids.
Today was the easiest day on the trip. All we had to do was sit in the room enjoy the scenery and order room service and feed Pranav. All tasks were accomplished with nonchalant ease. We needed this rest after the hellish journey the previous evening.
Around Pranav's sleep time, we made our way back to Guatemala city. Pranav slept through the boat ride and winding part and only woke up on the highway. We reached Guatemala airport fairly smoothly. We had about 3 hours to kill there. That was deliberate to make sure Pranav's tummy has a chance to recover in case he threw up on the taxi ride to the airport. We took a late evening flight to Tikal. We had booked a place to stay at the ruins. So it was an hour of taxi drive to the hotel. We had not fed Pranav dinner fearing that he will not be able to keep it in on the taxi ride. Unfortunately, he slept on the taxi and did not wake up till the next morning. We tried to wake him up at around 10 to give him some milk. But he protested violently and we didn't want to wake our neighbours up and let him sleep empty stomach.
We stayed at the Tikal ruins so that we could beat the crowd in the morning and we did. It was a pleasant walk to the ruins. The only problem was with the stroller. We had to carry that for a while or push it without Pranav when it became prohibitively bumpy. But the ruins itself was deserted. There were lots of Turkeys roaming around and Pranav had fun chasing the birds. We fed Pranav breakfast and lunch at the ruins and came back to the hotel to put him to sleep. In the afternoon Manoj went back to the ruins to check out the outlying portion which would have been hard to reach with a stroller/toddler.
We left the hotel before dawn to catch the 7am flight to Guatemala City. We took the afternoon flight to Houston. We Houston without much problems. We stayed over at Aparna's cousin's place there for a few days and took a flight to Irvine on Sunday.