A week and some went by quick in Guatemala City. I spent a couple of days at Quetzalroo, one of the more popular hostels in the area. There I met a group of young El Salvadorian vacationers as well as a variety of Americans and a few Europeans. The scene in Quetzalroo was a little busy, with people mostly planning for larger trips through Guatemala and the rest of Central America. There was an Australian there motorbiking to Patagonia.
The tuk-tuk driver takes me to the entrance of a famous snout: Indian Nose. Perched in San Juan La Laguna, it's a relatively simple hike that affords amazing views. After paying the 30 quetzales entrance fee, I tie a shirt Rambo-style around my forehead and head for the top.
Although there are some dangers in hiking around these parts, I didn't encounter any today.
Afterwords I meet up with a friend at Wine and Cheese, a quaint little restaurant where trumpet flowers dangle from a vined ceiling while polished typewriters and old photographs fill in the spaces between four tables. Pavoratti's opera loops on an antique vinyl in the background as lost chickens waltz in and out
It all started on the embarcadero.
Floating mosaics of water-lilies hug the interiors of the sunken buildings that line both sides of the dock.“There used to be a huge park here... only two years ago” the deck hand says.
Maximon (ma-shee-MON) the folk saint is much like these buildings with their submerged foundations.
The clouds hang like a wilted sombrero from the crown of volcan San Pedro. As I slouch deeper into the adirondack chair my tired eyes fall from that hat in the sky to the water below, continuing to move with the waves as they ripple toward the shore. It's 7 in the morning and all of Santa Cruz La Laguna is standing a few inches above water.
Women in huipiles, men in traje, and ornately decorated palm fronds line the dock. Fireworks scream their explosive joy, hand-drums pound out “someone is coming” rhythms, and out-of-tune saxophones twang their eerie tones. A brightly colored lancha (boat) makes it way to the dock and a smiling bishop in a sepia robe walks into the open arms of the entire village. A tuk-tuk takes him to the center of town.
I wake at an obscure hour when street cats still prance about unnoticed and head toward the border of the lake. It's before the sun makes its morning cry, that beautiful golden scream, and the electricity of the next town dances atop the water like other-worldly ballerina's.
Strapping on my backpack, I walk down the road. Watching the day start is the best way to start the day. Families walk toward the lake for a morning bath, an old man with bare feet carries a bundle of wood uphill, and farmers slowly unfurl their market veggies.