My Arrival in San Pedro La Laguna
Lake Como, it seems to me, touches the limit of the permissibly picturesque; but Atitlan is Como with the additional embellishments of several immense volcanoes. It is really too much of a good thing. After a few days of this impossible landscape one finds oneself thinking nostalgically of the English Home Counties.
Aldous Huxley, Beyond the Mexique Bay (1934)
I cannot say that Lago de Atitlan makes me think of jolly old England, but it takes a writer the caliber of Mr. Huxley to attempt a condensation of that beauty into some well chosen utterances. I left Guate for my new home in San Pedro. First was a four hour ride on a chicken bus, cost $4. I opted for the chicken bus rather than the $30 shuttle and was glad I did. I have been watching these works of art on wheels travel Guatemalan highways for some time. At various stops, a woman or children will come on the bus with food or wares to sell. I bought a banana at a morning stop and had a great tamale later during the ride! There is often competition between driver-owners to see who can outdo the others with lights, paint jobs and massive chrome works. Here are a few samples:
We reached Panajachel on the northern shore of the lake. From there I transferred to a water taxi for a 30 minute ride across the lake to San Pedro La Laguna, cost 10 quetzales or $1.25 (figure 8 to 1 for quick conversion). I walked through town and found my school and was soon settled in with my new family consisting of Ruben,Tina, and their three children Marvin, Evelyn and Anna. They are a wonderful family and Tina is a good cook. They live in a concrete block house. I have a room downstairs as does one other student, Bart from Australia. The cocina or kitchen is downstairs and the family lives upstairs. Laundry and dishes are done outside in the enclosed yard.Tweet