I had thought that once we got to southern Mexico (Chiapas) and surely once into Guatemala our pace would slow down, there would be more time for internet activities, reading, journaling. We would be "stiller". That has not been the reality. In Chiapas we were able to relax more but we really didn't sit still. And then Guatemala, as she is wont to do, has thrown down some obstacles -- she always prefers to reveal herself slowly, to make you love her before you know why. Our first night was in the rather grubby town of Huehuetenango. We had considered two nights there, with maybe a day drive to surrounding villages on day two. Instead, we just hit the Zaculeu ruins
and broke for Quetzaltenango (Xela). We spent a comfortable but unexciting night in an upscale hotel there, and dined at Royal Paris, a French restaurant I visited 7 years ago. The "plan" was to then spend two nights in nearby Zunil at the hot springs of Fuentes Georginas. The drive out (and up) was spectacular -- through what is called the "garden" of the province -- with good reason. The water flows and the food grows. In neat plots of alternating crops and flowers. Truly gorgeous. The hot springs and pools and restaurant area were all lovely. The cabin was more than rustic. It was not a comfortable place for two nights with small children. So, again, we moved on a day early. Our plans were taking us to Lago de Atilan for four days, but not to the "main" town of Panajachel. Rather to the less developed town of San Pedro La Laguna. Because the "added" day was a Friday I feared that San Pedro, with far less lodging options, might not have availability so we headed to Pana. We found a comfortable hotel and a couple good restaurants and did some shopping for artisan goods. Saturday afternoon, after a visit to a nature preserve, we headed to San Pedro, opting NOT for the drive back up to the Panamerican and around but rather for the semi-paved track circling the north shore closer to the lake. Thirty miles. Two and half hours. The map showed ONE road. But NO, there were roads and roads and roads. We reasoned, "stay on the widest, most paved road." No. "Follow the trucks." No. We asked again and again. We turned around. And we turned around. And then we turned around. People laughed. People smiled. People helped. And we turned around again. Finally, San Pedro. Checked into our mostly okay hotel room. Out for a nice dinner. Dark and raining outside, so into the hotel room pretty early. We settled in and the bar across the street started up. Music with a strong bass. The girls slept and my earplugs blocked the annoyance for me. But not for Gregg. Ah, 1 am, bar closed. And then our 6 drunk hotel mates stumbled home. They sat out on the balcony two stories up. First they blasted some comedy routine. Then they just sat around drinking and yelling and.... At 20 to 3 Gregg went up to ask them to be quiet. He was super polite (I know, I heard him). They were rude and mocking. Finally, around 4, they went to bed. Four nights in San Pedro cut short. We left this morning. Back to Pana (the town that nobody ever wants to admit to liking -- but it IS likeable!). We are in a quiet and comfortable hotel (with WiFi) for the next three nights. We have made some friends in town -- Russ, a displaced Bostonian/world traveler, Elena, a beautiful, young Maya mother/wife (we have also met her husband and 9-month old baby girl and tomorrow go to their home), and, most notably, Marilla (9) and her Abuela (who only speaks Tz'utujil). Marilla is enamored with Alex and Gregorie and plays with them every minute we spend with the pair. Abuela and I speak, somehow understanding one another without sharing words. I feel the power of the old woman's soul. I am confident that meeting her, knowing her, sharing with her, nos ayudan on our safe travels.
I promise pictures soon!