The first thing on my shopping list before my next big travel is a wedding band!! Really! Really! Am getting a tad irritated of men overstepping their bounds just because I am friendly and talkative while I travel solita (or do they do this every time they see a solo female traveller?)! Today was the guide. True, he was not that bad – not as bad as the Turkish hotel owner in Izmir (but that is another different long story), but it is still a hassle to deal with….
The story today (amigos, please get it straight):: I am engaged to be married by next year, I hate salsa / dancing, drinking, and going out at night!!! I know mis amigos will not believe me!! Haha! But I was quite believable I think…anyhow, I am grateful Isla Verde is in the middle of nowhere tonight! What a convenient situation to refuse any possible unwanted invitation.
Otherwise though, I had an amazing day today (even after the almost-drowning incident this morning!). The guide showed me lots of cool places in five towns (I thought it was going to be three – cool!):
San Marco: full of meditation/yoga place/metaphysical stuffs. If I knew I would have done a yoga class yesterday.
San Juan: I saw some cool coffee plants and submerged houses because the lake water has been rising in the last two years.
San Pedro: I saw a Japanese teriyaki tofu burger place there – San Pedro is a bit of backpacker’s haven – there are more foreigners (I gather from talking to locals that Japanese is the only noticeable asian visitors). We also saw the market and church there. I saw that the Guatemalans, like us in south east asia, also eat chili padi (small and spicy chili) and ikan bilis (dried tiny fish). 🙂 How cool is that???
Santiago de Atitlan: I wore a traditional outfit – the typical blouse is huipil with embroidery – and I took photo with a sweet old lady. I did buy one if her cloth product without bargaining. I felt bad.
We saw many interesting things in the Santiago market and tried many good food – my fave is chuchitos – similar to Mexican tamales (please see the Flavors of Guatemala post). As we walked around, I heard strange noises from a building and we went to investigate. There, we saw a family who has corn grinding business from corn to masa to make tortilla – we saw and heard how it was done. Fun!
I was a bit upset that the Guide forgot to bring me to see Maximon though! Maximon is a deity, dressed in western clothing and tobacco bearing. It would have been a sight to see! It is originally from Santiago.
In Santiago and San Pedro, we saw many people in traditional outfits, people standing on the back of the pick up truck — we wanted to get onto one from San Juan to San Pedro but we missed it — we took the bajaj instead (three wheeled motorized vehicle).
We also saw weaving production (another family business) in Santiago.
In the Santiago church, I heard a bunch of people at the back praying and it sounds like they are mourning someone, but I was told that is just one way of the prayer is done. Inside this church lay the heart of slained preacher from the USA who was assassinated during the civil war in 1981 for his supposed guerilla leanings.
By the market we also saw a big lunch held to commemorate the passing of someone nine days prior. And they served “caldo” a type of soup. That’s typical of Santiago.
Panajachel — to catch a ferry back to my hotel and to try jocon – green salsa chicken (universally guatemalan) and kichon – tomate based chicken dish (from kiche tribe). I decided to skip rellenitos (dessert typical) and I was happy to be left at the dock pronto to catch my lancha back to the hotel (though i had to wait 30 minutes alone). I tipped the Guide and sent him on his merry way!!! (Food to be further described in the Flavors of Guatemala post).
The ride back is rough! In the afternoon, everyday, the lake experiences this wind called Xocomil that makes the ride a little rough and causes big waves around the boat. It hardly rains today too and the clouds cover the volcanoes…the ride went smoothly. I was chatting with the driver/capitan because I chose to sit at the back for fresh air. He got me to Isla Verde safe and sound.
I am enjoying my solitud again – tho I couldn’t resist clearing my emails. 🙂 I can’t help it. LOL!