Days 10 & 11 - Lago Atitlan

It was a long work week, and all of us were looking forward to having a nice relaxing weekend at the lake. Supposedly it's pretty filthy. It almost became one of the ¨Natural Wonders of the World.¨ We had tickets for a bus early Saturday morning, so we had to wake up at like six o'clock. When I think about a bus you get tickets for, I figure we're talking Greyhound.

We did not get a Greyhound. Fortunately we at least got seats, which is more than can be said for the people who got on at the second stop, about 5 minutes in to the 2.5 hour ride.

We arrived in Panajachel, the town on the lake in which we were spending the night, at about 10 in the morning. Initially, we weren't all that excited about our hotel. Kate and Hannah had told us while it had a pool, it was only like ¨one or two inches deep.¨ They lied.

The hotel was beautiful, with a pool and really comfy basking chairs next to it right outside the restaurant. It was already hot and sunny at 10:30 after we checked in, so we decided to go and check out the pool ¨for a second¨. Pretty soon a second turned into a minute, which turned into several hours. We lay on the chairs with sunscreen slathered all over our bodies. We tanned. We ordered drinks which they brought to us by the pool. I got a Piña Colada, extra alcohol. Just kidding, it was virgin. Delicioso.

The other notable event of the early afternoon: we got Colin to do the impossible situp. If you don't know what that is, it's a really tough ab workout. Ask me if you can try it next time we're together.

Once our bodies were sufficiently fried,the girls walked through the market buying stuff like girls do, and the guys went down and hung out by the waterfront. We found another market child, a really cute one this time. He was throwing rocks into the water and then we played with him and he climbed around on us for a while. There's something about Guatemalan market children. They are just too cute.

We ate dinner in a pretty bomb restaurant. I finally got the large piece of meat I've been craving all trip. It was chicken.

After dinner we came back to the hotel and hung out in our room and talked and bonded a ton. We stayed up far too late--it was worth it.

The next morning Mike and Bob had a fun AND safe adventure planned for us. We were going on a boat ride to two different villages on the lake. Our method of transportation was to be a highly crash-tested and safety regulated boat, run by a first-aid certified crew and a former navy captain. Darn it, there I go lying again. There were a bunch of guys on the street who offered Mike and Bob a boat ride for 30 quetzales for each of us. Don't worry, they bargained him down. It was super legitimate.

On the actual craft, it was just us and the captain. He motored us over to Santiago, a village on the lake. It was sunny, and the water was beautiful with a backdrop of volcanoes. Super pretty. At Santiago, the girls shopped at the market. Big surprise there. Us guys found a place called "Mario's Pool Hall". We played 2 games. Total price: 7 quetzales ($1). LOVE that exchange rate. We got ice cream, that's a given, and I met another market child. I don't know what it is about these kids. I love 'em.

Then came some drama. Mike wanted the boat driver to take us to San Pedro, but he said that it was too windy, and the water was too choppy. He just wanted to take us home. But chaperone Mike convinced the veteran boat driver that the water was perfectly safe. With girls screaming and Kate and Hannah decrying their father's name, we got back on the boat.

The captain was not joking. The water was extreme. We almost went Titanic on that lake like 12 times. Most people got kind of sick, and the girls were really tearing Mike apart. I was sitting next to Hannah Collins, but I lucked out--I guess the boat was no bus ride, and no vomit crossed her lips.

We successfully arrived in San Pedro with no pukage. Success! But no one was really in the mood to explore the town. Instead, we just sipped carbonated beverages until our stomachs reoriented, and then it was back on the water to go back to Panajachel. Fortunately, it was way less intense on the ride back. Ryan, Hannah and I actually fell asleep.

Back in Panajachel, we boarded a bus to come back to Antigua and leave the lake behind. The drive back was really beautiful too, with the driver taking us up into the hills with incredible views over the lake and the village. For sure I was bummed to go.

For dinner, we went to this touristy but really bomb place called Frida's. I scored a large piece of meat, steak this time, and a large glass of milk, another craving which I have missed this week. Then we came home and watched the Oscars, content with the knowledge that all our friends would be at school tomorrow.

Today is our last full day. This is tragic. Peep the post tonight.

Zach

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