In Search of America

Guatemala Dia Cinco


Today we are moving on from Antigua, but I am not quite ready to go. This is the city that introduced me to life in Central America. I don’t want to say goodbye to all the cute puppies and smiling faces of this vibrant town. I haven’t gotten to hike Acaetenango. I haven’t biked the mountain trails surrounding the city. And I haven’t had my fill of rosemary zucchini bread. Today however, we are moving on. But soon I will be back.

With our last morning in Antigua, we didn’t want to waste a second, so we headed out early to the cross look out above the city. It was well worth the trek. It is a huge cement cross on the side of the hill that looks out over Antigua and with a background of the volcano. The view was stunning.

After breakfast we packed up our bags and headed out to get one last coffee at Union Cafe. The lady working smiled as she recognized us from the day before. While we savored each sip of coffee, we researched open water diving instructors in Mexico. 

We are heading to Mexico City and Oaxaca in about a week. Coco already has her certification, but she has been helping me look for the right place. It is the rainy season, so hopefully the weather works in our favor to get a few dives in. 

After coffee, we finished up a few errands and headed back to Y Tu Piña Tambien. Our favorite host (the sandy pup) was taking the afternoon off, so we didn’t get to say adios. Coco and I both got egg sandwiches, a smoothie, and one last slice of rosemary zucchini bread to share on the road. 

As we sat outside our hostel waiting for our shuttle, we munched on our sandwiches taking swigs of our smoothie here and there. Our guide from our hike up the volcano walked by and called for a high five from across the road. We smiled and stuck our hands up in the air to throw a five his way. 

Our shuttle came soon after and we headed towards the lake. Normally on shuttle rides I try and catch a nap, but the seats on this one were so incredibly uncomfortable that both of us kept shifting our weight from one cheek to the other. It was four hours of this. Needless to say, I didn’t get a nap. I think had I been napping though, I would have missed a lot. I sat next to the window taking in the views. I saw things I maybe wish I hadn’t. That is part of traveling though. I started to see the financial differences between the towns, maybe a form of their social class system.

Seeing what life is like in other countries is sometimes really hard, but it can also be incredibly educating and humbling. I can only speak for myself, but I can’t just put those things I saw in the back of my head. It brought up the question of, how I can use my passion and education in design to help? 

While I sat deep in thought, our driver turned a corner and there she was, Lake Atitlán. My jaw dropped at the sight. I have been to Glacier. But to be honest, this sight topped Glacier. It is obviously different, so I can’t really compare the two. It was a sight that I am having a very hard time putting into words. I will try and attempt it though. 

We drove from the top down to the lake. The only thing I can compare this drive to was the road coming down from Pai, in Thailand. It’s incredibly steep. Imagine the steepest road you can think of and it was steeper. Then we had a hairpin turn every 100 feet or so. It is a true hairpin turn. So sharp the driver had to honk before he rounded the turn. This driver was the driver you always hope for in a new country; super cautious. I wish he had been the driver in Thailand. 

The view the whole way down was luscious green plants along the roadside. There Lake Atitlán stood in the center with steep mountains framing each side. The mountains felt like they could have easily been in Jurassic Park and the lake stood still mirroring its surroundings. 

Our shuttle dropped us off dead in the center of the town of San Pedro. Both of us stood overwhelmed, not knowing which way our Airbnb was. We decided to indulge in a tuk tuk ride, instead of stumbling around with our huge backpacks. This place is not for the faint of heart, nor for someone who gets claustrophobic easily. Thankfully, our Airbnb was not far. 

We walked down to the front gate of our new residence, which was located right on the lake. We were greeted by our many hosts. Jennifer, her son, and 4 dogs smiled as they welcomed us into their home. This casa is definitely more of an adventure than any of the other places we have been. There are bugs everywhere and the light fixture above the shower looks like it is about to burst into a fire at any point.

We settled in to our space and pulled out the noodles, spinach, and garlic we had brought along to make for dinner. It was most definitely not our best meal, but it was nice to stay put after our travel day. As Coco turned on the lights of the outdoor kitchen, she found the biggest spider I have ever seen. It was larger than a half dollar coin. We gave it plenty of space as we cooked up our meal. The dogs sat at the entrance of the kitchen, hoping we might sneak them a bite. It was hard not to. 

I think it was a mix of the early morning trek, no map, and the long travel day, but we are passing out early. Hopefully the dogs won’t keep us up. They like to make their presence known to anything that passes by. 

I am excited to explore this new place tomorrow. 

Buenos Noches.

Sarah TumaComment