June 1-14, 2015

Day Eleven: To Atitlan- "A Three Hour Tour"

Our work in the schools is finally complete as of today (Which is totally Friday)! Now time for some fun (not that we haven't been having fun)! Today we headed to Lake Atitlan, where we’ll stay for the weekend. After breakfast we all piled into a big van, and headed to Panajachel, a town on the coast of the lake. Motion sickness pills were handed out before- hand, so all of our stomachs were set and we hunkered down for a long car ride. The drive took about 3 and half hours, and was a crazy ride. The road went up, down, left and right, through farms, towns, mountains, and even around a town celebration. Nothing notable occurred during the drive, in fact many people just slept. The descent into Panajachel was quick and steep, and the view of the lake just kept getting better and better as we went, and soon we were at the shores of Lake Atitlan. From there we asked for Rolando, who the hotel staff recommended, and he took us across the lake. The boat ride was exhilarating; we soared across the water, passing mountains and volcanoes. However trouble began to brew when we docked and Angelica asked the men at the dock if they knew the hotel we were staying at, Hotel Chi-Ya. After many minutes of confusion she realized that not only had our driver taken us the the wrong town, Santiago, but that he probably wasn’t actually Rolando. We had him take us to San Juan, the town where our Hotel was, but ended up having to pay an extra 150 Quetzales for the gas. By the time we got the San Juan, we were very happy to get off the boat and be done with the whole mess.

Once in San Juan we all piled into Tuk-tuks and went to the hotel. Hotel Chi-Ya is a collection of rooms and bungalows on the point between the towns of San Juan and San Pablo. Each room holds two to three people and has a great view of the lake. We all got full sized beds, a very appreciated luxury. After a little down time we headed out to explore San Juan. Many of us did not feel our best today, however only a few people stayed behind due to sickness. In San Juan we explored the market a bit, it’s very similar to the one in Antigua expect for a few key details. Unlike in Antigua, some of the shops in San Juan are run by cooperatives of women who actually make all of the items they sell and directly receive the revenue from their goods. We all thought that was very cool and did our best to support the women; multiple bags were bought. After about an hour in the market, which was very small, we returned to the hotel in the back of a pickup truck. The truck we rode in is specialized for transporting people and had bars set up for passengers to hold on to. Everyone agreed that it was more fun than riding in a Tuc- tuc and it was even cheaper! Once we were back at the hotel it was dinner time. We didn’t know what to expect and were pleasantly surprised by delicious lasagna. Although it wasn’t quite as good as Mari’s cooking, it was nice to have a taste of home. After dinner everyone settled in for the night and we were all asleep early in our comfy beds.

Until next time, xoxo, your fave guate guest writer, Hannah Mummey

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