You can't say I didn't try.

Panajachel Travel Blog

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Hello all,
I think I have conquered the flu!  I didn't mention that last night before jumping into bed I stopped at the only Panajachel pharmacy open late Sunday night.  I think I was able to send my ailment across the language barrier better this time, and the pharmacist gave me some wonderful capsules with four different active ingredients.  So after waking up this morning I am all dried up, and just have a little bit of a tickle and cough remaining.

Today I felt good enough to attempt to find something to do.  My first thought was to take a tour around the lake.  Most travel agencies in town sell this for as low as $10, but they all started at 8:30am or earlier.  I was unwilling to commit to waking up that early, as I figured the more rest I got the better off things would be.  So I decided to wander down to the lake front to see what I could organize myself.  Within about a kilometer of the lake the touts started to ask about boats, and where I wanted to go.  I tried to play it cool, but soon had a guy latched onto me headed to the boats.

The prices didn't seem to work out in my head.  The boats wanted to charge me 25 Quetzales to go to Santiago Atitlan across the lake, and if I added that up the same tour would end up costing me more then $10.  I figured that my 'buddy' that was 'helping' me out was likely getting a cut from my increased gringo price, so I didn't feel like giving anybody the satisfaction.

I walked back into the town and quickly figured out another possible activity.  There was a place renting motorcycles or mopeds, and I thought that would be a nice way to check out the surrounding cities.  The price for a motorcycle was 300 Quetzales, and it was 350Q for a automatic moped.  There was a deposit requirement, and they wanted your passport, so I headed back to the room to get everything needed.  As I got back to the rental place, I remembered that I had my open-toed sandals on making it very painful to shift a motorcycle.  They also had no maps of the area, so I would have been just guessing and using signs.  Not a very easy thing to do in Central America.

Things were just a bit too tough and pricey for me, so I moved on.  After asking around I found another place of the main tourist strip that looked more promising.  I asked the attendant about the details, and he said the automatic moped was just 250 Quetzales, and the deposit was much less.  So I decided to go for it.  I told the guy, and he said that he couldn't do it and that he would have to wait until 2pm for his boss to return.  Seeing as the rental was for 8 hours, that wouldn't have made alot of sense to me.  I did not want to be driving around in the dark with this thing.  Oh well.

So I walked back towards the hotel room, keeping a lookout for more things to do.  I passed a sign that mentioned scuba diving, and that piqued my interest.  I have never dove in a freshwater lake, and Lake Atlitan is a huge crater lake with some still active hot spots coming from spots in the floor.  It also looks pretty clear, so visibility might be good.  I turned in where the sign directed me, and had to take two circuits of the small strip mall before I found the appropriate shopfront.

The shop was a small travel agency, but there was a small sign with the universal 'diver's flag' displayed in a corner.  I tentatively asked if this is where the diving info was, only to get blank stares for my awful spanish.  Neither person at the agency spoke English, so it took a while to figure out that the diving shop was not located in Panajachel, but in a small town across the lake.  One of the agents handed me some info and a card, and then I thought that they had asked if I would like to talk to them.  I thought that meant that they were going to call them so I could discuss things, but as it turns out they were just telling me to call myself.  Having no phone, I figured I would check out the website back at the hotel.  But I had already given up on the idea in my heart.

I spent a few more hours people and boat watching on the lakefront, and then headed back to the hotel.  I did book one of those lake tours with an agency for 8:30am, and picked up some more of those good flu capsules from the pharmacy.

Tomorrow sounds like fun to me.

Later, Phil
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photo by: Biedjee