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Guatemala, Latin America Walkabout

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)

Sunset over Lake Atitlan

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:

Chicken Bus

Chicken Bus making an impossible turn

Navigating the streets of San Pedro

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.

Marvin and Ruben on the Roof


Evelyn and Friend

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About Philip Shear

Philip has been traveling the world full time for over six years. He travels slowly, often on less than US$ 30 per day, but occasionally, he likes to splurge on more luxurious digs. He started this blog four years ago to share his adventures and travel advice. "My goal is to help people get over the unnecessary fear of long-term travel and experience the rich tapestry of foreign cultures."

10 Responses to “My Arrival in San Pedro La Laguna”

  1. On January 17, 2011 at 7:50 pm Larry Viser responded with... #

    Ah Phil,so glad that you have arrived safely. The ‘chicken buses’ are quite the sight to see. Thanks for the pics. Your brother from another mother!!! :)

    • On January 19, 2011 at 12:44 pm admin responded with... #

      Thanks Larry and give my love to my other mother. Last word, here email had been hacked. LOL

  2. On January 18, 2011 at 12:58 pm Michael Meara responded with... #

    Great blog and thanks for sharing your adventures, it makes me feel part of your journey.
    Pura Vida

    • On January 19, 2011 at 12:45 pm admin responded with... #

      Gracias Miquelito. Hope you can make it down to rally in CR.

  3. On January 18, 2011 at 7:46 pm Nina responded with... #

    Loved the pictures – What an adventure!

    • On January 19, 2011 at 12:47 pm admin responded with... #

      Thanks cuz. Much love to you and Rod. It was really great to visit last summer. Seems so long ago. Hear you have had some flooding up your way.

  4. On January 20, 2011 at 1:54 pm Jerry responded with... #

    I dig the lake.

    • On January 20, 2011 at 2:23 pm admin responded with... #

      It’s awesome Jerry. Happy birthday!

  5. On November 28, 2011 at 9:43 pm Nora responded with... #

    I love San Pedro!

    • On November 29, 2011 at 8:08 am Philip responded with... #

      Thanks for stopping by Nora!

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