Central America | Mexico | Baja Mexico | Baja California Sur | Los Cabos | Cabo San Lucas – Lago Atitlan,
Today, school consisted of walking to a nearby church to see the newest alfombra or rug made of colorful sawdust and fruits. We then had a lesson on the importance of corn, or maiz, in the guatemalan culture. Corn is used with many food and drinks including tortillas, tamales, tacos, and other things. After making them by hand, we cooked them on a stove and ate them with fresh guacamole, frijoles and salsa. It was delicious.
Afterwards, I returned home and asked my host dad when the next bus to Atitlan was leaving. He said 20 minute, I decided to throw a few things in my daypack and head off for a weekend on my own. The bus took 2.5 hrs to Panajachel, I immediately jumped on a boat for the hour ride to Santiago, a small town on the lake Atitlan. The lake is beautiful and is surrounded by huge volcanoes. After arriving in Santiago, I had a look at the town and an available hotel and decided it was disgustingly dirty and sketchy for me, a single, female traveller. I found a hotel suggestion a mile down the road. Gulp. I asked someone only to find that I had to jump on a carreo or cartero ??? and soon found it was a beat up pick up going in that direction packed with people in the back. Luckily for me, there were 3 hippie americans in the back. So, I hopped on with the rest of the 12 people packed in the back. I soon found out I was on my way to San Lucas, a small town that is not in guidebook. We passed through the country with poor shacks and jungle/esque looking landscape. Hmm, how did I get here and I wonder where Im going when only 2 weeks ago I was in my comfortable life in Santa Barbara. At the same time, the wind was in my face and I felt the taste of adventure. I am definitely in a foreign country and fully aware of the caution required.
Upon arrival in the simple pueblo, the american gal pointed me in the direction of a nearby hotel. Note that hotels are quite a bit different here compared to american standards. After being shown a clean room near the water with private bathroom and hot water, I didnt try to negotiate the 75 Queztales, or $9 a night. Afterall, it was 5 pm and Ive had a long day. Coincidently, they are having a funeral service at the front of the hotel at the same time. Tonight, there is a concert in the square from the missionary evangelicals, and I am only one of a few foreigners here. I am planning to meet up with the Americans for dinner.
I have surrendered to the fact that by the end of each day, my feet are filthy with dirt caked on them from walking down the dirt roads. Although I have sworn I wasnt going to be caught dead in Tevas, I have to admit I love them and couldnt live without them here. Does this mean I am turning into a hippie like many here, absolutely not. Im still a city girl at heart, dying for a glass of red wine and good cheese.
Tomorrow, I am off to Panajachel via chicken bus and on Sunday to Chichicastenango to check out the famous Sunday market. The people here are very poor and it is good to get out of Antigua and see the reality of life for Guatemalans. They live in shacks with dirt floors, dirty hair and bare feet.