Daytrip to Lake Atitlan

Trip Start Dec 14, 2009
Trip End Mar 25, 2010

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Flag of Guatemala  , Western Highlands,
Thursday, January 7, 2010

Argh I'm annoyed, I wrote a post for today and was almost done when my iPod decided to be out of power and when I turned it back on it was of course gone. Anyyyyyway...

I got up at 0430 this morning for my 0500 shuttle to Lake Atitlan. It was about a 2.5hrs long ride. I tried to get some sleep which was more or less impossible because of the bumpy road...

Arriving at Lake Atitlan in a town called Panajachel also called Pana around 0745 I had time to grab some breakfast before the tour started. I never get used to that there are 10-12 years old taking your order and serving the food. It just strange for me. Okey hey have to work to support he family, but my question is: whyyy do the poor people get a lot of kids if hey can nearly feed themselves? I'm sure that they know how the babies are made!

After breakfast it was time to head to the boat and ~30min of driving on the lake. I was amazed by he scenery, it was sooo beautiful! I would say that the nature around lake Atitlan beats Semuc Champey.

The first stop was in San Juan where I get to learn about the life of a coffee bean.. It's like berries on a tree and when they are red they are finished. You take them, take of the red shell, and you have two slimy beans (the slimy beans takes sweet btw, weird they turn out so bitter). These are washed for one day and then dried for one weeks in the sun. Afterwards you need to take of one more layer of skin before they can be roasted. Voilą you have coffee. Guatemala says that they some of the best coffee in the world, I wouldn't know because I don't like coffee.
After the coffee stop we went to look at some women doing textile work by hand, And that was truly unike and old-fashion. I was surprised how good their products were that I had to buy 6 cloths to have under your plate. AND the colour they use is all natural. However the cotton they use nowdays aren't from Guatemala, it imported from Chine because it's cheaper and more simple.
Last stop was at a natural herb medicine lady, which was quite interesting, did you know you could use "ryllik" (sorry don't know the English word for the flower) as an insect repellent? Mayan people tends to trust and use the Mayan doctor more than today's doctor. I.e if you break a bone you'll drink a couple of bottles of alcohol and they fix it for you using raw muscles and herbs. Weird ha?

When I got back to the boat the group asked me if I had a good time, which I did, because they hadn't seen anything and it ended up with two of the guys joining me and my guide, while the rest didn't want to pay $10... I think that when you only have an hour on each place it's worth having a guide who can show you things instead of finding it yourself.

Next town was San pedro, it was a bit bigger. Here we went to a small coffee cleaner place. The stages of cleaning the bean before it's transported to another place for drying. And let me tell you, I don't think it would pass Norwegian hygiene inspection... Next stop was at a small coffee shop where they burn the beans. I didn't have any coffee there but I bought some chocolate which I'm waiting to eat, as I will share it with my boyfriend in a week.
We also went to the market, it wasn't a big one, just a small cute one. We also along the way saw guys making the traditional Mayan skirt. Apparently the guys makes the skirt and the ladies the shirt. There is a lot of Mayan women who were their traditional dress, but not a lot of the men, mostly the older generation. Our guide explained that for one pair of the traditional dress pants you can get 5 normal ones, and that's the reason why men don't buy them. I was kind of jealous of the ladies, I wish I could dress up in fancy dresses everyday, but I guess they might think the same about me? ...
We also saw the church here before headig back down where we stopped so the guys got to see a textile place.

Third and last town Santiago, which is the biggest one with 45 000 people we went to see the Market, a church where we got to learn about the Civil war and we had lunch. We went to see a Mayan God. The God of the people. Funny creature, he drinks and smokes and he's a "doll". The guys put cigarettes in his mouth and lights it. So you sacrifise alcohol and cigarettes, and money. I wonder who drinks and smokes it all. The money is used on sosial events.

We also saw a sculpture of lake Atitlan. Lake Atitlan used to be a big volcano before and the lake is actually it's creater. It used to be circular, but they the three volcanos around it started to develop.

Back to Pana and heading home. Back at the hostel there were some new girls in my dorm. I started speaking to ang, and she also had a doll she takes pictures of. A bit obnoxious the doll, she screams. So now Gordon has two friends;) anyway we ended up going out eating together and she took me to a bar where they had ladies night. Free cubalibre from 20-23... I had one and when her friends didn't show we left and I was tucked in bed by 2330.
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