i’m sitting here on my porch overlooking the lake of volcanoes. this post will be longer than most because there is so very much to tell, and for those planning their own journey to guatemala you may find it of interest.
village life. as seen from the shuttle to lago de atitlan. for part of the way we rode along the panamerican highway that runs throughout central america. then elmer (el.mer in espanol) turned off onto smaller roads as we made our way up into the green glory of the sierra madres.
for the first 3/4 of the 2 hour/47 mile trip, the road was very nicely paved, nary a bump. for the last part the road shrank considerably, grew bumpier, and became even more curvy. muy curvy. as my reliefbandwatchthingy that emitted electrical currents into my wrist was working splendidly (!) i found the journey to be quite thrilling and beautiful.
susan s. i have YOU to thank for telling me about the RB. motion sickness has been a major thorn in my side all of my life. now i feel such a sense of freedom!
and while we passed many chicken busses i was thankful i was not inside of one. in fact i was elmer’s only passenger, this because the owner of the lakeside retreat i rented provided this service rather inexpensively.
door to door service as it were. i enjoyed chatting with elmer. he lives in a small village around the lake and his native language is kaqchikel, which he speaks at home with his wife and 2 children (who are learning spanish in school).
along the way he pointed out things he thought would interest me, like this cemetery on the hillside. he also drove through 2 very interesting indigenous markets and stopped at 2 different miradoros so that i could take photos of the lake. the entire area is a lush forest teeming with life. Nearly 800 known species of plants and trees exist here around the lake and the elevation is 5200 feet mas o menos. some of the trees include oak, cedar, pine, avocado, jocote, kapok, wild fig, acacia, alder.
my favorite is arbol de fuego! a magnificent tree with large orange blossoms.
eventually we wound our way past panajachel – the largest of the villages that ring the lake – and made our way to here:
peña de oro , a small hillside which sits in between pana & santa catarina palopo. quiet and out of the fray. just what i wanted. it is a “gated” community. by that i mean a flimsy bamboo gate discourages crawling babies or tiny kittens from gaining entry. there are 4 other homes here. the one below me occupied by a local guatemalan family.
a most pleasant young man, gabriel, met me at the top and escorted me down the stone steps and pathway. his mother is swiss and his father guatemalan. they met 30 years ago while mom was on a backpacking trip and they’ve been here ever since.
and now…finally…what you’ve been waiting for. a little tour of my lakeside digs. it resembles a bit of a shack on the outside, but the inside. ay yi yi!
there is a view from every window. i have access to the lake. and there is a hammock. best of all there is a VERY secure lock on the door.
but since i’m in a “gated” community i don’t concern myself with security.
should i need to go into town, which i’ve already done, juan is just a phone call away.
i tried very hard not to clap my hands and bark the entire ride to the village.
and. as if all of that weren’t enough.
on my last night in antigua i was out star gazing on the balcony when i saw vulcan de fuego gently erupting. orange plumes rising a bit into the air, a bit of lightening around the cone, and occasionally the entire upper portion of the cone glowed. keep in mind i was 6 miles away, but it was other worldly. it’s currently in an active phase – in february the eruption was quite strong and showered antigua with ash and caused the airport in guatamala city to close for a bit.
that’s it for now! i’ve got villages to explore, pictures to draw & color, and salt-encrusted black bass that’s being prepared for my dinner tonight. $25 to have someone come and cook. whaaa?!
i. swam. in. the. lake. this. morning.
IN MY UNDERPANTS. true story.
girl reporter sending love from guatemala. xo.