San Pedro La(ze) Laguna

It has taken two weeks to write this post. We’ve been here, in the same place for 2 weeks – and we’re staying for another 1.5 #stuck

When you see what it looks like, you’ll understand. Plus, its cheap, its small (15mins walk to anywhere), there are lots of bars and everyone is friendly, no mosquitos, a cool breeze but hot sun. Oh yes, and its cheap. And its beautiful. And cheap.

 

GETTING HERE

Snippet of journey out of Lanquin…

We arrived on the 27th via shuttle from Lanquin, revelling in the luxury of the transit compared to our last journey (i.e there was a roof).

Features of the trip, roughly in this order, were dirt tracks overlooking steep drops into lush green valleys, a debate about whether the hills were mountains or just hills (is there not something in between?), boulders from past landslides littering the road, dog roadkill, and pot holes.

I did also have the obligatory journey mishap.  I left a jacket on the first shuttle to Antigua (we had to change buses). I had only worn it once, on the shuttle bus, that day… and fell in love with its cosyness (Uni Qlo down, toasty). Via the power of google translate, some hastily fired off emails and a nice tip, I did actually get it back the next day, amazingly. “That wouldn’t have happened if it was an iPhone” says a local.

 

BEING HERE

Spent the first 2 nights in a decent hotel (Sak’cari) to reward ourselves for a dank stay with the cockroaches. Stunning views of Lago de Atitlan, very happy (non)campers.

Sorted out language lessons, somewhere to stay for a week, and red hair dye (yes, its an essential!) in the space of about 18 minutes on the first morning. The subsequent list of things we’ve accomplished since then is undeniably short. Four things. Yes, four. Its all rather leisurely here, once again immersing ourselves in the culture. Ahem.

 

One

Been out a few nights (cook up with the AC gang at their hostel, various “Sublime” nights, Buddha Bar chats etc) – most of which featured a fresh injury. Took some skin off my toe trying to walk and talk at the same time. Was attacked by my own flip flop (traitor!). Sat on a broken chair and got a massive scratch up my back. #notevendrunk

Two

Completed a week’s worth of spanish lessons at San Pedro school (next door to our hotel). Was OK to get the basics but our teacher was a bit, err, creepy. “Imagine there is a condom on this table” <to explain the difference between ‘this’ and ‘that’>. “Emily won the most sexy chica in London”, “Emily won the most intellectual in the university”<By way of verb practice examples>. Awkward. This week we’re back to a combination of apps, programs and audio to learn the basics ourselves before wasting any more money on lessons. Added benefit is being able to do this in the sun in our gorgeous hotel garden, on the lake edge.

First day of school…

Serendipitous moment when Jim’s program accidentally taped our conversation…..

Three

Experienced my first earthquake. Well 5 actually. Jim said it was a sign from the Gods, and later Wimbledon won their FA Cup qualifier and drew Liverpool for a money-spinning 3rd round tie. I liken the first tremor (at 5am) to the reaction Jim would have had if in bed when he heard this news – i.e. jumping up and down on the bed.

Its incredible to think the entire caldera of a once ginormous volcano (in which the lake formed) was shaking. Makes you feel small.

 

Four

Hiked up Indian Nose. Possibly 40 minutes up a very steep hill, in the dark. Pausing to let the heart rate slow down and get enough oxygen every so often. Wonderful to watch the sunrise behind a volcano letting out little puffs of smoke, with the lake stretching before you.

 

And yes, of course there have been a few other things on our agenda – mostly eating, I have to admit.

Ate a lot at Cafe Atitlan which does pesto pasta for Q32 (£3). Traditional, ahem. They also sell small Harry Potter style bags of something (probably coffee) we’ve been meaning to investigate:

What would you put in your Harry Potter bag Jim?

My mini Harry Potter wand!

We have been enjoying Jim’s daily recounting of his Malarone (malaria meds) Dreams – often after waking himself up laughing. One morning he was a Koala, which we both think his brain concocoted in order to remember the correct pronounciation of “Cuál” (‘which’ in Spanish) that had been causing no end of problems. Another morning we had broken up so Jim had gone to visit Don Draper to get a job (Mad Man indeed). Another he was a road-sweeper – I cannot imagine why he was laughing at this. Considering it now, we might need to plumb this humour if we find it actually happens!

Being able to sleep at any time has had some surprising results. My record is 8pm. Seriously. I went to sleep at 8pm. #livingthedream

And looking. I’ve done a lot of looking. Staring at mountains, volcanoes and water. Why not? Sun on my face, cool breeze, stunning view, brain stasis. Behold, creation! My capacity for this is proving to be really quite astonishing. It is as if it might all disappear if I don’t keep it front and centre. Let’s just say I’m ‘meditating’, sounds less lazy.

San Pedro’s other features include:

  1. Shots fired here and there, randomly, every day.
  2. Fireworks, randomly, every day.
  3. A lovely local community: traditional dress; ancient, teeny-weeny ladies selling fruit and veg at the market stalls, or swatting flies from a couple of small fish they’ve caught that morning
  4. Dog Holes. Loads of stray dogs making nice comfy holes in patches of dirt. “I found the perfect dog hole in San Pedro”. “Oi!”. “Why are you saying ‘Oi’? You can’t deny a man his dog hole!”
  5. Dog of the Month in the local listing
  6. Dog of the Year in the local listing

 

Other important conversations:

New name for a Bike Shop: Bike Curious

The title of Frank Muir’s Memoirs: My Memuirs

 

 

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