Thursday, April 23, 2009 8:42 AM
Guatemala Road Trip - Panajachel on Lake Atitlan
This morning Rob woke with what would be an uncomfortable and somewhat restrictive stomach issue. He and the kids decided to hang out around the pool at the hotel while I went out to explore this pretty lakeside town. It appears, much like any popular lakes in the US, Atitlan doesn't really get going until the folks from Guatemala City and Antigua pour in on the weekends. Nevertheless, there were hundreds and hundreds of vendors set up and "lancheros" hoping to get a few fares to the other villages on the lake. Pana is a pretty town, obviously the hub of tourist activity and as such, at first glance does not seem to hold much interest for cultural observers. Looking closer, I found that with all the vendors flocking here daily from their respective villages, there was a fascinating array of languages to listen to and "trajes" to see. Most spoke enough Spanish to be able to tell me where they were from and decribe what distinguished their group from the others. I found that they all have a tremendous amount of pride regarding their home village and their traditions, each believing their costume to be the most elaborate, their town the most beautiful and their people the cleverest in all of Guatemala.
One of the things I like best about Guatemala it the variety of beautiful flowering plants, either growing wild or thoughtfully planted in gardens and yards. Many of the species, such as the typical red geranium, so popular in suburban planters in the US, grow wild here make for unlimited technicolor landscaping options. The amazing array of colorful flowering plants and vines, both familiar and exotic, draws butterflies and hummingbirds and fill the air with a heady sweet perfume. I could have sat overlooking the lake all day.
Later in the afternoon, I returned to the hotel to check on my poor sick husband and a swim with the kids. We enjoyed an excellent dinner at the Italian restaurant onsite, likely one of the best in town, and turned in early, hoping for a healthy day tomorrow.
Go to Day 13 - Atitlan Nature Reserve