Wow. One month ago you guys read about my volcano hiking experience in Guatemala, it’sf incredible how time flies so fast!
As you know a friend from Germany came over, we haven’t seen each other for almost two years. A reunion which has to be celebrated! After some good food we had a long chat over a couple of beers. My friend Tamara was very lucky as she saw the volcano Fuego errupting from the distance – on her first night! Although both of us were a bit hungover we managed to hike El Mirador, a viewpoint, the next day to see the city of Antigua from above.
As we really wanted to learn spanish and relax in a quiet place our plan was to go to Lake Atitlan. Located four hours away from Guatemalas old capital, this place is just stunning: Surrounded by sky high volcanoes, lush forest and a magical atmosphere. Sounds good, right? Well, as you can imagine things went slightly different – life challenged us again (ok, this sounds dramatic) and especially Tamaras patience was introduced to the guatemalan time. That means: our pre-booked shuttle forgot twice about picking us up, or let’s say we waited for four hours. I also could say we had a great lunch and coffee after the second delay was announced.
As we finally arrived at Lake Atitlan the boat was already waiting for us – and the other 25 passengers as well. I have to say, this ride made me a bit concerned about our safety as the vessel was over capaticity. Seriously. The boat ride was super bumpy, but the red glowing lava from the errupting volcano in the distance was a good distraction – Mt. Fuego is always up for a show! After this exciting day we fell asleep pretty fast and recharged our batteries for the next day.
Lake Atitlan, especially San Marcos is well known for it’s spiritual and alternative vibe. There’s a lot of workshops, nature and good (vegetarian) food. I managed to be a vegetarian for almost two weeks without doing it on purpose and it felt so good. Before that my mindset was more like being vegetarian is a huge missed steak (got it?) Anyway, we came here with an open mind and wanted to experience something new, something spiritual?! A friend told me about Cacao Ceremonies at the Lake and it made me super curious. What you basically do is drinking a huge cup of cacao (no, it’s not the Nestlé crap) and listen to the voice of a shaman while you focus on your breathing. After around twenty minutes things got a bit more intense (here’s why). The whole session was around four hours, it made me feel like after Vipassana. It’s hard to describe, so I just leave it like that.
“Treat yourself” was our motto for the next few days, and what can be more relaxing that a good massage. It’s a timeout for body and mind, the ultimative method to get rid of all tensions after some traveling by boat or chicken busses. Tamara suggested to attend a little music festival on the beach near San Marco. It was a great way to end the day. As we took the boat back to our place the nightsky was illuminated by thousand stars and the bright glowing moon, which added a bit of a mysterious something to this incredible place.
As mentioned above I really wanted to learn spanish for a week and this felt like a great place to do it. San Marcos Spanish School and also my lovely teacher Véronica tried their best to get that new lingo in my head. Well, it was hard to be “back 2 to skool” and focus on one single thing for four hours straight. Still I had a couple of good laughs with my teacher – Tu casa es mi casa, right ;)? If you want to learn spanish, this is the surrounding you want to have – highly recommend it.
Besides cooking up some delicious pasta dishes and attending the mezmerizing World Music Event at Hostal de Lago just enjoyed ourselves and the company of many lovely people (and our favourite Doggo “Poncho”) at Lake Atitlan. I also found some time to evaluate business ideas, thinking about interpersonal relationships and of course planning my further travels. As both Tamara and I felt like going to the beach-beach (is that a reference?) we packed up our stuff and made our way to the magnificent coast of El Paredon. Again, the way we got there was a story of it’s own to be honest. The combination delayed boat – van – selfmade-car-ferry – van was interesting and took its time.
Somehow I felt a bit trapped in the “tourist bubble” and wanted to know how the locals live in Guatemala. The best way to experience this is definitely a homestay. I will write more about the amazing organisation “La Choza Chula” very soon here on this Blog. Our host Aura was very lovely and provided us with a basic but very clean room, breakfast and all her knowledge of El Paredon. She is very proud of her household and also of her husband which build the house and roof with his own hands. I really liked how the family works together and once more it showed me how spoilt we are with hot showers, A/C and all the things we actually don’t need.
One thing I really need to say is, there’s definitely a lack of education on the impact of plastic to the environment. Too much plastic is used and it’s so easy to reduce the use of it! Besides that, El Paredon is a nearly untouched paradise (not just for surfers) which spoilt me with it’s beautiful black sand beach and incredible sunsets. Oh, and did I mention the delicious Ceviche?
What really surprised me is how stupid one single person can be: We saw a guy with Swastika and other nazi-related tattoos tanning in the sun. WTF? How can you go abroad and not be ashamed of yourself? Boy you’re the foreigner now and remember you don’t like foreigners, right? Fuck all Nazis! Unfortunately we had to take the shuttle back to Antigua and this guy was also there. I felt it smelled really bad during our ride…
Anyway, I hope you had a good time as well – now I am in El Salvador and endulging on the blazing sun and some pupusas ;)!
Feliz dias chicos,