So we’ve seen a few lakes on our travels and this is by far my favourite. It is absolutely beautiful and slightly odd as at its edge are an array of trees and buildings which are partially submerged. This is because last year the water level rose 5m as a result of heavy rain and so now there is little along the shoreline. Around the lake are an array of towns with an array of attractions and people. Of those that we went to:
This town is for shoppers. Here you can buy beautiful handmade scarves for practically nothing and the local women and children, who all wear beautiful traditional clothing, are wonderful when you want to buy from them and a pain in the ass when you don’t want to buy anything.
We were told this was the town for couples. For us it was a place to meet interesting travellers. Our hostel was mostly booked by a large group of missionaries who prowled the dining area looking for locals to coo over in a somewhat condescending manner. Luckily at our table we were joined by an interesting group of people. There was a young American woman who had just begun a 6 month volunteering program at the local preschool teaching kids how to wash their hands, brush their teeth and for boys to lift the toilet seat when they pee. Then there was another young American woman who had taken a break from her yoga teaching to “go on a honeymoon with [herself]”. She’d removed herself from Facebook and hadn’t brought a camera in an effort to “live in the present”. Lastly there was an English/Kiwi couple who are planning to move to Sydney in early March. After little effort we convinced them to move to the inner west instead of the eastern suburbs. After dinner that night there was a dress up party at which Marcello got a sneak peak of how he’d look with dreads.
The town for hippies. Apparently this place has a really good “energy” and is perfect for holistic activities such as yoga, meditation and reiki. In my opinion a bunch of American ‘hippies” found somewhere with cheap land and living costs where they could make a decent amount from tourists by selling these services whilst keeping locals out of the market. Do I sound bitter?
The town for partying. Also the place to start a hike up to a lookout point called Indian’s Nose to see the sunrise. We chose to do the hike and were up at 3:30am to leave at 4am. After a 40 minute bus ride and another 40 minutes walking uphill in the dark we arrived to the lookout point to see the sunrise. The return journey snaked through coffee fields where locals were gathering baskets full of beans for processing.
Antigua is yet another colonial town which has a strong appeal to most people who pass through Guatemala. Everyone speaks of how safe it is and many people end up staying there longer than intended. We were warned before we travelled there that there is rather large problem with ATM scams but as it turns out there are more dangers involving armed hold ups. We met one woman who had had a gun held to her head and her bag with her laptop, ipod etc taken. Funnily enough the thing she said she was most angry about having stolen was her 2 special coral coloured lipsticks.
While in Antigua we climbed a volcano called Pacaya which was fun however once we got to the top we couldn’t see anything due to cloud cover.
The volcano is still active and at one place you could start a fire using the hot rocks from the ground.