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Working from Antigua

We can’t just play and eat all the time. We have to do something to pay the bills. Luckily that something can be done remotely if there’s a good enough internet connection. The house we rented in Antigua has such a connection. It’s definitely not fast by our standards at home, but we’re able to do multiple simultaneous zoom meetings without any trouble, and that’s our definition of “good enough” down here.

The internet router is in a box in the kitchen. All the walls are thick and made of cement with rebar. The Wi-Fi signal doesn’t travel very well through these walls. Luckily there’s an open air courtyard in the middle of the house. And luckily I brought a long ethernet cable and Wi-Fi router from home. So we setup a secondary network piggybacking off the first. I ran the ethernet cable out of the kitchen and into the open courtyard and setup the Wi-Fi router in the courtyard. It made all the difference. Now I can get internet access in every room on the first and second floor. It’s still a little dicey on the roof terrace, but it’s too sunny to work very long up there anyway.

None of the furniture is perfect for working. Some of it just isn’t comfortable to sit in very long. Others are exposed to the sun. Some have no plugs so you can only work there until your battery gets low and then you have to work somewhere else while it recharges. The favorite spot seems to be the white couches just outside my bedroom window. They’re really comfortable and they have a great view, but the view isn’t free.

View from my new office
View from my new office

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays we have Carlos, our gardener, working in the courtyard. It’s surprising how much work there is to do. Antigua is surrounded by volcanos and from the roof terrace we can watch Volcán de Fuego puff ash into the sky about every 5 minutes. At night we can see some of the lava flows. It’s really pretty, but it also means there is a constant rain of volcanic ash coming down. After a few hours of working in the courtyard, we can wipe black ash soot off our laptops. Imagine how much accumulates in the courtyard where it falls 24 hours a day. Carlos spends a lot of time just sweeping up the ash. It’s really pretty amazing. He also cuts all the dead flowers from the plants and prunes everything.

He does a great job. The gardens and views are extremely relaxing. I think I could trade a proper desk for these views and this atmosphere.

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