Seen too much beauty in San Cristobol, Mex. and in Lago de Atitlan, Guatemala

Panajachel Travel Blog

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After Tullum, I took the night bus to Palenque. Arriving at 5:30am, I soon was in the ruins 10kms away. These are my latest and the largest Mayan complexes in Mexico. My first question: how did they mow the lawns back 1500 years ago? I contemplate often.  The jungle had to be pretty encompassing in it’s day. Still it is deep if you gather mushrooms. Every souvenior dealer on the pathway through "pss. mushrooms?" Leaves on young banana trees are as large as myself and the taller growth  canapy the path creating a nice moist land perfect for a rain forest. Palenque is hot, Tulum was hot but on the beach more or less.  Palenque is wet.  I read mixed reviews for staying the night there, not liking hot and humid I stayed on the sight for 3 hours more than necessary , having worn out the old body climbing each ruin and being bus exhausted I didn’t have the right mood for mushrooms but the cabanas have staying power for artist.

 From there I went south to wonderful San Cristobal.

About 5000 degrees cooler San Cristobal is a lovely colonial town. If wondering what the hell a colonial town means, my take is big church center plaza, a few smaller churched plazas and small streets not much wider than one car, tourist stores, decent bars. Here looking for a hostel I found some foreigners sitting and drinking. I asked the cheapest hostel, they said they found 130p, I found one that was 70p so I dropped off my bags and came back to drink. The people you meet! We soon were eating crickets, beer and walking to the local Mescalria. The Mescalria, is a hole in the wall. It is an important night spot. The bartenders salude the beers and mescali is poured like the poor mans tequila it is.

 To this, I have a theory there is some 50 million people that are super cool in this world, I have yet to meet them all so I figure to do a lot of weaving and ducking until I meet all of them. Our group- An Aussie and a French guy hauling ass around Mexico in a van, staying in the van and doing every conceivable drug throughout the trip. This I must remark farther. Drugs are very prevalent, in 3 days time the president of Mexico should lose the election because of his anti drug policies- the war on drugs has caused stress to the average person. I personally have lost many of girlfriends to stress so I understand the peoples feelings. If one takes out the self righteousness of preconceived mass conviction then you are allowed to make choices for yourself without affecting the will of others.
(This statement is not well thought out just a quibble while typing so it may all be shit) Thank god for small miracles, really thank god because I have absolutely no desire to do any harder drugs than what I can find in nature.  I also had the privilege of meeting a lovely American girl traveling with “her amigo”… good conversation but I wasn’t ready to cross the line, got her email maybe no line to cross. But I meet 6 people and 3 I give email address to, it is good. First night in San Cristobal- arrived from Tullum via Palenque (17hour bus ride in all), stayed  to 5am drinking beer and smoking… woke up around 10am. This is the backpacker schedule, actually probably I should go slower, but I have itchy feet, I need to pick up and go- some times this is my savior other times alittle regret.
It is hard picking the exact time to leave a place. In the Mescalria, and also my hostel were a Norwegian and Ms. Oregon and Ms. Minnesota. The girls though beautiful I paid not much attention to other than Oregon and I were wearing the exact same color shirt. The next morning we met in the dormitory. The Norwegian and I have philosophical discussions for hours on end, literally hours and the days seemed like weeks of discussion,  smoking and drinking. I must say, the girls and my thinking were so on top. When I feel comfortable with the people around me I roll with wit. The girls never broke stride. Sarcasm was never lost and I feel close to their soles. One apart maybe missing something but together they were the perfect complement to each other and for me if I could have 2 wives in this world these two are it.

We all went Chamula, the patron saint to the village had a birthday and 3 day fest ensued. It seemed no other foreigner knew of this and we were welcomed nearly as locals. The day before the Norwegian and I went to Chamula, and were welcomed into the church, all day, ALL DAY parades of 30 bearing flowers, mariachi bands and poosh (grain alcohol for 15p a bottle) to the saint enter the door. Inside pine needles cover the floor, candles burn everywhere, mirrors hang from every saint- the idea is we find god from within. And the passing around of pet bottles of poosh the scene is as jovial as spiritual. We and the girls went the next day and more poosh, better poosh. Chamula is indigenous, mountainous and the similarities are amazing to Tibetan. The Gods are pacified with pine needles in both cultures.

The traditional dress is a sheep wool vest/coat for the men and many women where black sheep wool skirts, somewhat similar to Tibetan. Drink and offering drinks to the gods are in good order. My wives missed their bus twice cause and I left two days after they were gone. The hostel seemed to lose all color with only the Norwegian and I discussing the darker sides of mankind helped with a little smoke.  Love those who are free spirits with the capacity to think beyond themselves. The most interesting people in the world have something to say.  Those that don’t understand it, love the comfort of a box.

Oh! The girls were teaching in Guatemala where I am now at a hostel in a small village Jaibalito on Lago de Atitlan.

The girls gave me all the info of the lake, I have yet to venture too far from here or Panajachel, a few other towns. This lake and the towns around it are incredible. This is the jewel of the world, not hot and not cold, rainy season this year has been nothing. In years past many people died because of the mudslides in rainy season. The lake is surrounded by perfect Fuji-volcanos. There is a decent amount of foreigners that aren’t getting rich but seeming to do ok. The lake has been filling in the last 7 yrs., people have lost about 5m of land, prices are cheap so maybe settle here.

So… I arrive 6-7 days ago. Days always seem to blend together while traveling. Hazy as it is to count days the story is always good. In Pana, I find the hostel the girls say to stay, have my first beer, start conversation with expats, soon being wisked aways to smoke, come back for my second beer and soon meet the anti me.

She isn’t that bad, actually still like her alittle cause she is so real but her spirit is darker than I have met.  By all means I have a pretty good feel for people. A talent to live- knowing what I get myself into before it happens and still welcome it.

Three people come into the bar, the girl Betty, isn’t exactly great looking but better than ok and wants more attention than she is getting. AND why do I judge women on sex appeal when first met! Wish to reach a higher plane and someday look deeper in the sole! Cest la vie. This is an expat bar, everyone knows each other, so instead of  intellectual stimulation  with world travel stories, the Lapalapa Bar really attracts conversation no different than the gossip at a country club.

  The cheese  and volume, ones popularity will assend? The barista is beautiful lovely Kayla, a very voluptuous woman who by the second  beer had agreed to have next day  language exchange and such. She is “cockblocked”, Betty yells across the bar ‘you look interesting!’ She makes her way quickly to me and the her cousin and Joe follow her. Her cousin is a lovely guy but alcohol and drugs are killing him too early. At 37 he is free falling but funny. Joe also grew up here, left, and now has moved back, I like him for the specific reason Joe is able to carry a conversation beyond his circle of life. He is the same age as Betty 33.  

This story of course is about the girl. Kayla looks at me kinda helpless, “are you sure you want a beer, you said you needed sleep?” Betty asks “did I just cock block? ” and laughs.

Loud girls have a tenacity to talk about themselves,  hence why guys stay on in complete agreement. I have a tendency to fuck what is the easiest so it is. Poor Betty, reaches out for help, she is a junkie (ex I hope she stays an ex) who spent over a year in prision and a few years in the system and now on the run from the states having broke her felony probation. Her story is interesting but the only story she knows. My brain and heart aren’t in such disharmony on this one- The song has been played to its extent again … after the first, the next day all of Pana comes out to celebrate her normal boyfriend. I move to her family’s house here in Jaibalito, get drunk three nights being a good listener, watch movies, enjoy this incredible setting in the morning. Private boat, house with a beautiful garden lying all the way to the boat dock down some 50m. Personal servants, a guard and a constant reminder her grand father started an American Icon and the Betty is due millions after everyone dies.  All the conversation: “when I am shooting, when I injected, taken to the hospital, smoked base, etc… My male reaction of saving her just sits in my stomach to uncomfortable to talk. The high hopes she has for us- marriage, her mother tells me after the 4th day together.  Three days, four nights- I am broke, ‘you cause me too much stress, this  is not my life.’ I can’t and she knows it. “…if you break up with me, you will regret it!” The girl is gone, and just that easy she has found the new source of attention. Take the taxi ferry across the lake, I move 200 m. into the village hostel,  Jin, great conversation and smoke we sit and philosophize while sharing the dormitory. Betty comes last night to the hostel bar from her moms place down the road with her cousin, Joe and a new boyfriend. I felt awkward but not jealousy. All I can say when she takes me aside,  “I am so fucked up, I took 2…”,  “I don’t want to hear about drugs.”  Looked at her, turned and entered another conversation. This ones finished.  All you youngsters there is a moral to the story. Don’t do drugs if you can’t handle them, don’t find yourself consistently talking about drugs- it is boring! Just breaks hearts, adios Betty. Off to learn Spanish the next week in Xela.


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photo by: Biedjee