Tonight we’re going to brave the torrential rain in order for one last dinner out in Pana. Last night we weren’t so brave, and stayed inside with deli sandwiches from a market pointed out to a few of our party by their Tuk Tuk driver. With expectations of about 10 feet of rain per year, Guatemalan storms don’t waste time with little drizzles, but get down to business. Gutters and streets fill within minutes, and the little gardens outside our room looks like it will fill up like a swimming pool. The rainy season is supposed to be over by now, so this weather is a little odd.
The weather for the most part has been great up until about 3 or 4 pm every day. Today, we ventured out first thing and found our new friend Mario down near the ferries to the western half of the lake. We had negotiated a price with him yesterday to take us to see several of the pueblos of interest: San Marco, San Juan and San Pedro de Atitlan, and a cruise near the shoreline to see several other smaller communities.
San Marcos is the community that some have told us is where the hippies hang out. There are numerous spas and yoga studios, and no market to speak of. We traveled from the dock up a cobblestone walking path between brightly painted walls with hanging bougainvillea. People greeted us without anything to sell. It was very tranquil and within ten minutes, Colin suggested buying a home and moving here if we happen to win the lottery, a priority higher than his previous suggestions of Hawaii, Finland, and Stanley, Idaho.
Our next stop was the artisan community of San Juan, where local weavers specialize in natural dies for hand woven textiles. The slope of the streets rival the incline of Rocky Canyon Road on the race to Robie Creek. We saw kites flying in the distance and thought we might find a cemetery with families preparing graves for All Saints day tomorrow, but we circled around the village with no luck.
Our final stop was San Pedro, where we budgeted about two hours for lunch and a trip to the market, forgetting that the noon-ish meal around here is pretty laid back. We enjoyed a fusion restaurant overlooking the lake and a long conversation with our running and travel companions, Ben and Kathleen. We are pretty shopped out by this time, so we didn’t look very hard for the village market, but found a few stalls along the steep roads for last minute gifts to bring back with us.
The weather was starting to turn by that point, with whitecaps breaking over the lake. It took about 20 minutes to get back to Pana from San Pedro, with the spray splashing us over the side of the ferry. On the way through town to our hotel, we were followed by the same stray dog we met this morning (we call her Chica, now, and have brainstormed ways to smuggle her home in our luggage), and, believe it or not, Nicole and Catarina of the “Maybe Mike” episode called out to us from a stairway down the street and one point, and Nicole ran with her load of scarves to catch us. She actually said her name was Rosa, and that we had promised to buy from her as well as from her sisters Catarina and Nicole. Maybe so, but we now seem to have more than we can pack for the trip home, so I’m glad Rosa gave up earlier than we expected and left us alone.
Now, we’re taking inventory and packing, leaving behind the toilet paper we thought we’d need, and settling up with our excellent hosts at the Pasados Los Encuentros. The kids are far from tired of traveling and asking about when the next Rotary trip is going to be.