Comatose in San Pedro

Trip Start Aug 23, 2006
1
8
32
Trip End Apr 15, 2007


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Flag of Guatemala  ,
Saturday, September 23, 2006

At the moment we're finishing 4 lazy days in San Pedro on Lake Atitlan. Our $4 a night room with a view at the Hotel San Francisco is perfectly nice in a half finished sort of way. Tree branches wired to cement posts serve as railings on the balcony, the doorknob is missing, the curtain hangs on a string between two nails, about what you all should expect from our lodging choices by now. But it is $4 a night and has a hot shower (sort of). What more do you really need?

San Pedro is an anomaly for our trip so far, as it's a prosperous Mayan town. Despite all the tourism, outside the backpacker ghetto it's largely a traditional place, with the girls and women in their Mayan skirts and blouses, men in jeans, pressed dress shirts and straw cowboy hats. Shortly after dawn you'll find women carrying large bowls of corn to a local shop to be ground, returning with bowls of corn meal, and not long after that, the pat-pat-pat sounds of corn tortillas being made can be heard from nearly every window. After breakfast the streets fill with kids in uniform heading off to school as mothers chat outside doorways and shopkeepers sweep cobblestone streets in front of their tiendas and farmacias. Men board pickup trucks for rides to work as women fill clotheslines with fresh laundry. If you happen to be out walking around, you'll get a "buenas dias amigo" from nearly everyone you pass. It's an exceptionally pleasant place, if a bit uneventful.

Yesterday we hoofed it 5 hours from San Pedro to San Marcos, over hill and dale, at 4500 feet altitude. You can imagine how our sea level lungs responded to that. And for some unknown reason, we did another long hike today. There must be something wrong with us...

We've found the greatest little cafe here, the Nuevo Sol. Run by an expat and former restaurateur from Sacramento, we refueled after our hike with great food and conversation. Mentioning our little jaunt to San Marcos, the owner, Dennis, mentioned that it's not terribly uncommon for tourists to be robbed on that route. The towns themselves are completely safe, the routes between somewhat less so. So much for our Lonely Planet guidebook's "up-to-date" recommendations...it's been crap multiple times so far, go with a Rough Guide for Central America. Not to worry Mom, we'll be getting local advice first from now on.

We're well relaxed now and ready to pick up the pace a bit, so hopefully the blog will get a bit more eventful soon. We'll be moving on tomorrow, whether to a new town or a new country we're not quite sure yet. Pictures soon.

Cheers.
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Comments

jaysus
jaysus on

Did you step off the altar of perpetual sacrifice?
You hoofed it for 5 hours huh? What i want to know is what condition are Karen's feet in? Did you guys finally splurge and get her some 'proper' shoes'? Sounds great, I haven't kept up with all the logs but i will go back and read them. Eric did you really quit your job? Tell Karen she isn't missing anything in Birmingham. Enjoy winter at a more reasonable latitude, we love you both.

Jay (American guy from Myanmar who likes fishing)

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