San Pedro la Laguna & Lanquin

Clay and I spent the next 2.5 days in San Pedro la Laguna. It’s a pretty small town on the lake, and has become something of a destination for hippie ex-pats. It’s also a great place to learn Spanish, and is probably where I will return for new years and a week of classes.

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Xela to Lago Atitlan Hike, Days 2 & 3

Day 2

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My journal from day 2:

Up at 6am to church bells. Rice, beans +  “tortugas” for breakfast @ local family. Puppies. 10:16 up record hill (best client time). Shoe untied. Lunch nap. Stepped in poop. “Salem” – Israeli metal band. Beers in small town; store in courtyard. Sunset. Church karaoke. Don Pedro’s home w/ fire pit + christmas music lights. Shower. Dinner in hall w/ fat baby big cheese calendar. Don Pedro sang.

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Volcan Pacaya

The next morning, Sunday, we got up at the asscrack of dawn for the 1 3/4hr drive from Antigua to Volcan Pacaya, one of the many active volcanoes in the area.

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The park entrance is a building in a small town where gringos pay a park fee – after being rented walking sticks for $0.75 by a half-dozen local kids – and locals walk around the side to bring their horses in and follow you up in case you get lazy / are fat and want a lift to the top.

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Guatemala City – Day 1 story & Day 2

On my flight from Atlanta, I sat next to a Mormon couple. They were coming down to see their son who has been here on mission for the last two years. The wife, Angie, was very interested in talking to me during the flight, but was also very worried during our rough (attempted) landing and jumped over me before we’d even finished taxiing to get out. I never said bye.

The following day, in my second mall of the day, far from my hostel and while searching for a small secondary wallet, I wandered up to the 4th floor food court. Trying to decode all the different types of chicken, I heard “Hey! Hey!” She and her husband were sitting and eating lunch up there, at the same time I happened to have walked in.

Small world.

RooftopThe rooftop of my hostel, Quetzalroo, in Guatemala City. They have a dog named peanut.

PaulyD DJ Pauly D (of Jersey Shore fame) is performing in the city on the 21st. The bottom of the advertisement reads, “Excessive consumption of this product is harmful to the health of consumers.”

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Coca Cola

Street PerformanceA street performer who didn’t seem to be asking for money?

Last night a bunch of us joined the owner of the hostel on a trip to a local crepe shop and then to an art opening that his friend has some work in. I learned at dinner that one of my fellow travelers was vegan, which was surprising but cool. She’s fluent in Spanish and is having a much easier time finding food because of that. The art opening was in an old colonial home with a gorgeous courtyard, a DJ, free drinks, and art prices comparable to the US.  Some really cool work though.

Today I organized housing in Antigua for Clayton (my brother) and me, got lunch at a hippie restaurant with vegan shop attached, and wandered the streets. I brought my camera out for the first time, but was still a bit apprehensive about using it. I had originally planned on bringing my small lens, but decided I’d rather have good photos than save space. Now I’m realizing the conspicuousness of my camera means I may have very few photos of any quality, which is worse. Live and learn, I guess.

Clayton arrives tomorrow at noon, and we’ll head straight to Antigua from here. He wants to hike a volcano, and I’d love to find one that’s still active.

Guatemala – El Principio

I’ve arrived. No thanks to the Steven King-esque fog/mist that was enveloping Guatemala airport, and the stomach-churning turbulence during both of our landing attempts. (The first one was aborted when we broke through the fog and realized we were already at building-level and were going to overshoot the runway. Yeah….. not fun.)

Spent the night at a Dutch-run hostel in a gated, guarded, razor wired community by the airport, and this morning moved to an Australian/Guatemalan hostel in Zona Viva, more in the heart of the city. Most of my time today was spent calling banks (I forgot to tell them I was traveling :/ ) and looking for a small wallet to carry un poco de dinero so I still have a backup if I have to give one up.

I can already tell food will be a challenge (breakfast was beans and a roll, and lunch was bbq chips and dried apple) but I’m hoping to learn enough Spanish to ask what things are and order some basic items.

transportation

So far I’ve opted not to travel around with my camera, but I did manage to capture the contrast in my transportation between day one and day two. Gotta say, I’m definitely not missing the snow so far!