Back to Atìtlan for the weekend
Trip Start Aug 08, 2006
23Trip End Sep 26, 2006
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Friday morning, I went with a group from school to the market at San Francisco de Alto, meaning itīs way up high in the mountains. Itīs been around for 700 years, and I think itīs the oldest in Central America. (I remember hearing that itīs the oldest in something, but I forgot the rest.) It was crazy, though. There were people everywhere, trying to cram everywhere on very steep roads filled with tents and stands and people sitting on the ground selling everything you can imagine. I bought a backpack to take on my weekend trip. The animal section of the market was probably my favorite. I bought a couple cows, a turkey, a dozen chickens, a rooster, several sheep, a kitten, two ducks, five pigs, and a goat
After another, much longer, and bumpier, chicken bus ride, we arrived back in Panajachel. I had thought we were just gonna hang out there in a cheap hotel. But they had booked reservations in San Marcos de Atėtlan at a swanky resort. OK, it wasnīt actually a resort, but it seemed like it to me. We got two bungalows for 10 people. It ended up costing about $26 for the weekendīs lodgings, which was more than I wanted to spend, but it was worth every penny and more.
I canīt even describe how nice and relaxing it was there. San Marcos is smaller than Pana or San Pedro, and it caters more to the New Agey, Yoga crowd. There were several different places with pyramid meditation, yoga classes, massages, reiki, and all that stuff. Iīm sure it was fairly expensive since only foreigners are the patrons. They are all connected by dirt paths in the woods. It was pretty hard to find my way around at first.
The next morning, all the people in my bunk got up early and took advantage of the incredible place we were at while the other bunk slept late. Somehow, by coincidence, we grouped into the two bungalows by early-risers and late-sleepers. That worked out nicely. After a delicious breakfast of fruit and french toast, I relaxed in the hammocks and just looked out at the lake and the mountains and the fisherman, etc.
Several of my friends decided to take a boat back to Pana for the day to go shopping. That didnīt sound very appealing to me or a couple other people, so we decided to stick around and explore San Marcos, and not spend unnecessary money. I know they had a good time in Pana, but it couldnīt possibly be as wonderful as our day was.
We started by just walking around away from the gringo area. The town itself is very small, really only a church, a couple restaurants, a small tienda, and a school. It is also still recovering from Hurricane Stan, which devastated several of the communities around the lake (One, Santiago, was completely covered, killing everyone living there-Iīve heard from three hundred something up to twelve hundred from different people)
For lunch that day, we opted for the cheap route, which was muy saboroso. We got bananas, an avacado, and pan integral from a small market. Grey also bought a tofu-pesto sandwich and Deepa had some leftover veggies from the night before. We also plucked some fruits from a tree in front of our bungalow that looked like limes. They werenīt, though. We werenīt really sure what they were, but they tasted like a cross between a lime and an orange. We squeezed them on the avacado and bread and the veggies. It was delicious and peaceful.
Later that afternoon, Laura showed up and joined our lazy group. We all decided to go swimming. A man we met earlier in the day told us to walk along a trail around a cliff outcropping to find the best swimming spot. So we did. The trail was a bit treacherous, hanging on to rocks, and jumping over gaps with a 40 or 50 feet fall to certain death below us. But it was well worth it
After a pizza dinner at Media Luna, we headed back to the bungalow and met up with the folks from Pana that were just arriving as well. Jason had asked the hotel owners if we could borrow their stereo for our party in the bungalow that we were renting from them. He also invited them to come. Unfortunately, they never showed up.
That evening was pretty wild. Jason had bought a couple salsa CDs to play with our borrowed stereo. After a drink or two, we pulled the table out of the way and tore up the dance floor. I learned some basic salsa steps, and danced for hours. Those spins are really fun. I canīt wait to dance again and see if I remember anything. That night got pretty loud and crazy. Iīm pretty surprised we didnīt get any compaints from the other guests. Especially when we all jumped into the lake at who knows what time.
It was sad to leave the next day, but we had had a great weekend. We hopped on a boat and then right onto a chicken bus direct to Xela. Oh, those buses are starting to not feel so good on mi estomago.
We did have a funny experience on the bus, that really could have been a scene in a movie Iīve never seen