Today we woke up at the crack of dawn and set out for Panajachel for a hard-earned break. Even with the lab completely done, people were cranky due to lack of sleep. The bus ride there did not help either. Our drivers knew it would be more profitable to take the back streets all the way there so as to squeeze in as many people as possible rather than taking the highway. Half way through the three hour bus ride many of us found ourselves blanketed in Guatemalans (yes, people). I myself had a pesky baby who seemed really interested in my new haircut. We were all relieved when the bus ride was over and we could breathe again.
After settling into our hotel we set out for lunch. It proved to be the unanimous worst meal of the trip. Ants were found in soup, chicken was uncooked, hair was in the pizza, and chocolate milkshakes were made with powder and had a lime on the side of the glass. After this small debacle we set out for our zip-line expedition, or as they call it in Guatemala: cables-extremos. We were led by our guides up through a tropical rainforest where we saw monkeys and kookaburras. Finally we arrived to the first zip-line and watched in awe as our guide soared across the ravine to safety land on the other side to get in position to stop us if we were going too fast (lucky he did). Alex went first and his ecstatic woos filled the forest. The rest of us followed and had the time of our lives. Not everything came easily as Oniel consistently knocked off her helmet while breaking for the first few times. Over time though she improved and was quickly a grade-A zip-liner. Maya on the other hand was afraid of heights. It did not help that, “Abe was consistently threatening to push me so I would go faster,” said Maya. Perhaps the funniest moment of the adventure and possibly the whole trip occurred on the fourth zip-line when Jenny set off across the ravine. She ran out of steam maybe 50 feet from the end and did not have it in her to pull with her hands rest of the distance. The guide became angry and was forced to swing out there himself, straddle her, and pull them both back the way he had instructed Jenny to do in the first place.
After zip-lining we went back to our hotel to regroup. Most people went out to explore the market but most of the stuff was the same as in Antigua. A popular item for the girls were the beaded bracelets. “They were really pretty and the white ones looked like little diamonds!” exclaimed Judy. After the market we all set out for dinner.
Dinner proved to be much better than lunch. Our biggest problem was overspending with Alex and Kit each getting multiple entrees. Not all of the blame can be put on them however as the language barrier was evident with our waiter and we were consistently given things we did not order, or the wrong amount of things. Minh also decided to order like five drinks and a bunch of cake. As we were leaving, a rowdy bunch of tourists in their twenties through eighties began to have their own little dance party to the live music playing. Thoroughly freaked out, we decided that it was time to leave and headed back to the hotel for the evening.