Part of the view of Lake Atitlan
Came directly from El Salvador and headed straight to Antigua... which is an incredibly beautiful city, cobbled stone streets, small stores, awesome public squares.... I spent two days in Antigua. The first night, I found a hostal and the second night I was able to get a hold of someone through couchsurfing. He was great, just trying to mack on a girl and was kinda in the way. Although I was in the way, he still invited me on his date with them, but then ushered me off to a bar where he was hoping I would stay out very late... I didn't. I came back early and then he pawned me off on his flatmate, who generously allowed me to tag along to a bar..... Hung out until late and then crashed.
surprised Jenn when I arrived. Does she look surprised?
Guatemala is beautiful, but something feels off. I think it has just been me as I have had so many warnings from all sides. It has become quite a dangerous. Although nothing has happened to me and the probabilities are slim, a lot of things have happened in the country thereby making it slightly dodgy to travel in. My couchsurfing host filled me in on the realities of Guatemala as he has lived here for four years. My previous reference to Honduras was comparing it to Bolivia. I would have to retract that statement. Honduras is comparable to Peru whereas Guatemala is more combarable to Bolivia. Although there are quite a bit of indeginous in Honduras, campasinos, small pueblos, inside the cities is more western in reference to clothes only and the massive consumerism of cheap products.
The road...seriously the road... to my hostal.. This is a major thoroughfare.
.....and a whole lot of trash just thrown everywhere.... as is the case with Guatemala, but Honduras was a little different. I think that many places in Guatemala recieves more tourism and therefore, there is more infrastructure and pressure to deal with sewage and trash... This is by far not to say everywhere in Guatemala.. just slightly more than in Honduras. Before I start talking about Guatemala, I have been amazed since all of my travels by the lack of consciousness regarding dumping trash and sewage in most of Central and South America. I have been especially disappointed by many cultures one would think would have a closer afinity with mother earth as they often still live as they have for since the beginning..... kindof. Just add electricity, cars, and a shit load of plastic and cheap products, throw in a international monetary system and a heaping tablespoon of capitalism and you have quite a changed culture.
The old guy I spoke with. Couldn't be brazen and ask to photo him, when I was speaking with him. I learned a lot from talking to him
.... Poverty and lack of infrastucture is one thing, but there is a disturbing mentality of just throwing shit wherever that really hurts to see everytime. Its odd to see someone working the land in traditional clothes and living in adobe houses get on a bus and throw all their trash out the window.
So, Honduras is more like Peru.... traditional, but trying really hard to be as western as possible in most places. Guatemala, on the other hand, is still very indigenous and reminds me a lot of Bolivia and near the Peruvian/Bolivian border. I have been amazed at the terracing all the way up the mountains and the heavy agricultural culture in Guatemala. It's hard to explain the way there farms are laid out and how their methods of cultivation.... very ancient processes and land forms.
The market in Chichicastenango...
I would love to chat with a farmer and learn more about their farming practices....
I have spent the last three days and now four days in the area of Lake Atitlan... I stayed three nights in San Marcos where I celebrated my birthday. I visited Jenn from the finca in Nica who is taking a meditation course here. She remembered my birthday and left some baloons and a card waiting in my room when I returned. San Marcos is also a very different sort of place. Their streets are streets really until you get further up the mountain where the people actually live. From the lake front all the way up part of the mountain is loaded with yoga centers, meditation centers, massage, alternative healing centers, cafes, restaurants, hostals,.
so cute.... ready to be cooked!
.. it is here that so many travelers come..... hippies.... as some would say, but not really.... I did visit San Pedro and it was the party place. There people go to do drugs and party as it is the party place. San Marcos people go to meditate and get massages. So strange.... I got a tarot reading done the day before my birthday, which was absolutely amazing.... It was very spiritual and right on the money.... On my birthday, I got a massage. He was recommended by Jenn. He was good, but could have been better. But I spent an amazing day of meditating on the mountain side overlooking the lake. There is something very spiritual and enchanting about the Lake. I felt it even before I arrived as the bus was winding down the road to Panajachel. The lake is completely surrouned by rugged mountains all around making it impossible to make roads. Only small boats connect the various pueblos on the lake side. I spoke with one girl who worked at the hotel. Apparently all the pueblos on the lakeside speak different languages.. Not everyone, but there was I think four or five different Mayan languages spoken throughout the Lake Atitlan area. You can almost feel this ancient energy... A place where many peoples throughout time have joined and added to the energy of that special place. Guess that is why whitie has kinda overrun the place. Most of San Marcos and much of San Pedro is foreign owned.... Just the areas closest to the lakes... ...
Well, I am spending my last night in Pana and head off early a.m. for San Cristobal...