Lovin´ Lake Atitlan
Trip Start Nov 02, 2006
94Trip End Apr 30, 2007
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Hey everyone! We´re writing from lovely San Pedro La Laguna on the spectacular shore of Lago (lake) Atitlan. We bussed from Antigua early on Sunday morning, by-passing one of the largest indigenous markets in the country, Chichicastenango, en route to Panajachel. We were actually on a real bus with assigned seats and everything (not a mini-shuttle where they ram people in like sheep), so we thought that guaranteed us a certain amount of personal space for our short journey. However, since it was a big market day, our bus stopped to pick up several market-bound men women and children along the way and we actually got so packed that a Mayan lady grabbed a seat on Aaron´s lap for some of the trip.... never a dull moment folks!
Panajachel is the departure point for boats that zip off to all of the little towns along the lake shore. Soon Aaron and I were bundled onto a lancha (passenger boat) with a mix of backpack-toting gringos and local Mayan folk. As tourists we were charged more for the boat service, which helps make the lanchas possible for the local people at a rate that is affordable to them -- and still pretty inconsequential to us (everyone´s happy!). We were met at the San Pedro dock by a handful of hopeful guides and tour vendors, all desperate to secure our reservation with their language school or horseback adventure. We got past most of them, but Pedro seemed to stick. He insisted on personally showing us to our hostel and then charging us for his "guide service"... nice.... especially because his help was unsolicited and he had blatantly ignored our hints that we could find the way just fine for the entire walk.... next time we´ll be less polite.
Anyhow, we´ve had a lovely week in our gorgeous setting. Aaron has been taking Spanish lessons at San Pedro Spanish School and he is progressing in leaps and bounds. We´ve spent many an afternoon lying in the hammock outside of our little room going over Spanish verb conjugation and making up sample conversations. It´s been lots of fun for me... and I think Aaron is quite enjoying the challenge.
We´ve also dabbled in a little salsa dancing and a ton of excellent food. Some highlights include the fantastic Sunday Roast that we stumbled upon on our first day here. The Alegre Pub puts on the roast every Sunday night and we were delighted to eat roast beef, mashed potatoes, yorkshire pudding, stuffing and all of those delicacies after 6 weeks of (also delicious) beans, guacamole and salsa. We had such a fantastic time that we decided to head back to Alegre on Tuesday night to partake in their 4th Anniversary festivities.... and we were not disappointed! They had 4 different happy hours (cuba libres at a little less than a dollar for a double!), charity raffles, a texas hold ´em tournament and... most importantly... karaoke (pictures are forthcoming). Aaron, of course, charmed the pants off of the crowd with a little Mack the Knife -- his karaoke fame has now spread all the way to Central America folks!
Tuesday was also a lot of fun because it was our first big salsa night. Aaron´s spanish school offered free lessons, so we danced our little hearts out there for an hour or so. Then we hit up Alegre for some cubas and ran across the street for 9pm for another hour of salsa instruction at Chilis Restaurant. My feet took a beating, but we had an absolute blast.
The rest of the week has been fairly tame. Aaron´s morning spanish has been our main commitment (leaving the hammock free and clear for me!), and otherwise we´ve just been relaxing and doing a lot of eating. The ladies here (and little girls) sell fantastic homemade breads and cakes... and they make it almost impossible to get away with a polite "no gracias". They wander into restaurants and internet cafes en masse and station themselves at every corner of every street. They have been relentless in their efforts to entice us to buy their wares by wafting the various pastries our faces and listing off all of the delicious varieties that they offer. At 5 quetzales each you really can´t pass it up (or at least Aaron and I are having a hard time) -- no matter how many little Mayan girls you´ve already said "yes" to that day.... maybe it´s best that we´re leaving tomorrow....