San Pedro La Laguna

11-16th Nov 2003.

After 4 days of pretty solid travelling we decided to rest up a bit in San Pedro and take the opportunity to polish up our appalling Spanish.

The ride from Guatemala City to Panajachella was a 4 hour white-knuckle roller coaster on a chicken bus. So called because it stops often enough to pick-up locals carrying live chickens back from market. They also sit 3 across a seat designed to sit 2 American school kids with not enough leg room for Jason to sit without his knees wedged against the seat in front.

BUT the bus didn't crash! which happened to a different bus the day after and the day after that someone shot the conductor of the bus for political reasons. The victim it transpires was the cousin of Claire's Spanish teacher!

Lago de Atilan sits at just over 2,000 metres above sea level and is surrounded by several 3,000m plus volcanos. The lake itself is a collapsed volcano.

Lots of cool hippy types come here and lots of them never left. The ones who stayed adopted dogs and cockerels that start their early wake up calls from 4am! ( Read: We didn't sleep that good)

It also had some of the best food we had tasted for the last 8 months!

There is an abundance of fresh vegetables and coffee beans grown by the locals and hippys.

We were trying to get a picture of the hippys to show you but it wasn't easy so you have a picture of coffee beans instead.

Jason has adopted the term DiSH (Dirty, Smelly, Hippy) as we had a most entertaining Saturday night watching them go mad to a reggae band. We think they must have all been on something as the band really wasn't that great and they were all dancing around like they had never heard music before. It was like they had been cloned, they all had these pixie boots on ( which Claire hadn't seen since her best friend used to wear them to school).

Jason's other hippy terms:

DiSHed - too stoned to talk to anyone... so they just grin

Broken DiSH - a hippy who lost his way and didn't know when to go back to San Francisco

We decided to take Spanish lessons for four hours a day. Here is Claire's teacher who quite fancied himself with his moustache.

During the four day period, he turned up having been out the night before and having had 10 litres of beer, he was still drunk and informed me he hadn't had a drink before then, for 2 years. His girlfriend had dumped him that night so he spent the lesson asking Claire out for a drink, and when rejected proceeded to wolf whistle to the girl behind, ( also trying to learn Spanish).

Information overload enabled Jason to spend one of the nights not sleeping and learning his verbs. Here he is taking his study far too seriously in what is a spectacular setting.

Jason enjoyed swimming with the boys.  This boy was very excited at seeing Jason's dive and wanted him to explain how he did it.... this simply encouraged Jason through further levels of stupidity.

The boys would entertain themselves for hours a time by diving to the bottom of the lake (4-5metres) and picking up the bottle caps they had thrown in earlier. It was amazing how much joy this simple game bought them. The boys of San Pedro were all very bright and cheeky little chaps.

Jason dived in to retrieve bottle caps only to crash into a boy on his way back to the surface. The kid was stunned at first but quickly realised it was just a stupid gringo and managed an underwater smile!

All the local woman wash the clothes and themselves in the lake. The woman wash standing up in their bras, not exposing too much flesh. ( Much to the disappointment of Jason).

The locals wear the most amazing clothing and most still speak their traditional Mayan language when talking to each other.

What we liked about San Pedro was the locals friendliness, the massages you can get and Jason also liked the chocolate cake which was available everywhere for the DiSHes.

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