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After 10 days in Quetzaltenango, it was time to pack my bag again.  I took a bus towards the terminal.  I had to go through the market, where I almost lost my wallet only a few days ago.  Pickpockets crowded around me and when I got hold of my pocket, the wallet was half way out.  This time I went fast across the danger area.  Soon after my huge, 30 kilo bag was on top of a chicken bus, and I was sitting inside it.  It took 4 hours to get to my destination - San Pedro de Laguna.  It was dark already, but the streets were full of people.  Nothing new, even small towns burst with life.  Maybe because most of people live in small, damp houses with tiny windows, so obviously they don´t like to spend time there.  I was walking to a hostal when I heard "Marius!"  It was Mayu!  We were supposed to meet in San Pedro, but I didn´t expect it to be so quick.

Next day we took a room with private bathroom for just $4 and decided to have a few lazy days.  Just walking by Lake Atitlan, cooking and eating.  The lake is surrounded by mountains and volcanoes and is a prime tourist destination.

One day we went up a mountain called Nariz del Indio, meaning Indian´s Nose.  The mountain looks like human face from a distance.  It took us 3 hours to get to the top, 2263m above see level.  We planned to have a fire and cook chicken legs, but Mayu forgot her lighter.  When I was wondering where to get fire from, Mayu was praying to Buddha.  I was making fun of it, but soon after 2 American guys smoking marihuana appeared on top, and so did smoke from our fire.  We took time to cook it slowly, and it was almost sunset when we finally finished eating.  Going down was steep and slippery.  The other side of the mountain was supposed to be easier, but it was not and we ended up on the wrong side.  When we found the right path, it was dark.  Of course we didn´t have a torch.  For me it´s nothing new walking at night.  But I was not alone.  The path was very steep and full of stones.  Under trees it was completely dark.  We climbed down slowly, step after step, guided by instinct and intuition.  We made it back to town at 9pm, quite tired I have to admit.

After a day of deserved rest, we went horse riding.  The horses took us to a viewpoint above the lake, and we could just look around and enjoy.  Another day we went swimming in the lake.  A lot of local people also go there, but for different reasons.  They wash themselves and their clothes with soap.  It´s great to have a hot shower and a washing machine at home!

I would stay in San Pedro longer, but I´m a traveler and not a holidaymaker.  So we took  a boat across the lake to a town called Panajachel.  From there we visited a village of San Antonio Palopo, where the people grow a lot of spring onion.  We were approached by a woman who invited us to her house.  I don´t know why we went there, probably we were curious.  The whole family were cleaning spring onions outside of the house.  Inside, they had a lot of traditional clothes for sale.  Mayu was forced to try them on while I had to answer personal questions.  In the end we left without buying anything, we just didin´t need any clothes.


Next day we went to the town of Chichicastenango to visit it´s market.  There are a lot of traditional clothes, masks and other handcrafts for sale.  It´s very colorful and interesting.  Outside of the church there was a small fire, old people were praying on their knees.  2 men were playing drums on the roof.  We went inside.  I was watching an old woman praying and spilling rum from a small bottle as an offering.  Catholic religion is mixed strangely with ancient Maya customs here in Guatemala.  The people here are very religious.  There are only 2 ways to escape misery: go to Usa or die and go to Heaven.  Young people thing about Usa, the old ones only about Heaven.


This 10,000 people town in the mountains is rarely visited by foreigners.  We visited the market again, but a different one.  It was full of fruit and veg, local women carrying their shopping in baskets on top of their heads.  Others were making tortillas, kind of pancake made from different kind of flour.  It can be white, yellow or even black.  Again pickpockets were trying to rob me, but unsuccessfully.  I liked this market, it was just ordinary.

In Totonicapan there are hot springs.  We went to visit, and paid about $0.03, meaning it´s not a tourist attraction.  Inside we saw hundreds of people changing or washing in water white from soap.  They all looked at us and we didn´t feel welcome.  We left but then decided to give it a try.  We entered the pool of white, ankle-deep water.  From there we went inside "the whale", an igloo-shaped concrete structure.  Again it was full of people.  They used little bowls to pour hot water on themselves.  When they saw we didn´t have anything, they offered theirs.  Soon after we were talking to people, they asked where we come from and what we do.  Suddenly we felt welcome and had a great time.

In the evening again we met friendly people.  We ate in a small restaurant.  We talked to the owner, than his daughters joined in and it was 11pm!  Next day we went to a chinese restaurant.  I knew they would do their best because they think Mayu is from China, so she would know if the food was bad.  When we were waiting for our meals, the place started to shake.  I looked at the girls waiting for an explanation.  Instead, everything shook even more.  The floor was moving and the walls gave threatening sounds.  Then we all realized it was an earthquake and we went to the exit, but it was over.  The earthquake lasted 20 seconds and measured 5.3 in Richter scale.  There was no damage to property, but it was felt across the country.   photos