My new monitor arrived today so I can finally get some photos up from our first visit to Lake Atitlán. It is about a three hour drive to get to the lake and it felt like a big deal for us to finally make the journey. Distance wise, the trip is only about 90 miles, but the road is fairly winding, hence the almost three hour drive time. The road itself is in very good condition, as it is the Pan-American Highway, so it made for smooth driving. The turn south off of the highway to get down to the lake makes for a pretty steep descent. This portion of the drive alone probably accounted for 30 minutes, but the views of the lake while descending are gorgeous.
We stayed in the main town of Panajachel and used that as a launching point to other small towns on the lake that are reachable only by boat. DiploTot was a champ in the Ergo as she was hauled around throughout town and on many boat rides. The Friday afternoon we arrived was very cloudy, but on Saturday and Sunday it was beautiful blue skies with bountiful sun.
There is an incredible hotel called Casa del Mundo that starts at the shore and the rooms then ascend up the mountainside. We enjoyed a lunch here and it would be a wonderful place to stay, but not with a toddler, given all the steps. It would be impossible to ever relax.
It was a wonderful first visit, and as you can see, absolutely beautiful. We are looking forward to several return trips with friends and family in the coming months where we will be able to visit some of the other towns around the lake.
This past Saturday we were able to enjoy some dinner with several other Embassy families in the neighborhood and we also got to burn the devil. La Quema del Diablo occurs on December 7th at 6:00 p.m. sharp as Guatemalans burn little devil pinatas in the lead up to The Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th.
I started noticing street vendors selling the piñatas at fireworks stands that had been setup on the main avenue in the week leading up to the 7th . Ah yes, fireworks. I haven’t mentioned yet how insane Guatemalans are over fireworks. They are obsessed with them and we hear them frequently. In addition to placing firecrackers in the devil piñatas, folks also set off other fireworks at 6:00 p.m. I think the majority of the fireworks they sell here would be illegal in the U.S. Many are extremely big and extremely loud, yet extremely awesome. It is my understanding that Christmas Eve will sound like a war zone.
We ended up burning three devil piñatas filled with firecrackers and little pieces of paper that we all had written negative thoughts and behaviors to burn along with the devils. We then set off some large fireworks of our own and then chowed down on chicken, steak and sausages that had been grilled up. The entire evening was great and it is always fun to participate in the local customs.
DiploTot handled all the ruckus quite well. She didn’t seem fazed at all by all the explosions and she had a great time getting to play with a lot of the older kids.
I’ve watched this video of a poem by John Piper an innumerable number of times since I came across it a few days ago. The cinematography, the music and of course, the words of the poem move me every time.
We finally made it to beautiful Lake Atitlan this past weekend and I was excited to post some of the photos. As I was working on them Monday night, my monitor died, so I am currently out of commission with my desktop.
I visited some electronics stores in the mall hoping to find a suitable replacement, but no such replacement was found. Thankfully I confirmed that I can get a monitor shipped to our DPO address, so Amazon or Newegg will be coming through for me. I’ll just have to be patient since it will take 7-10 days to get here.
Adding to the frustration of the monitor dying was that the Guatemala bugs finally caught up to me and DiploMom. Yes, after just over four months we finally came down with what we “affectionately” call Guate Gut. We were both off for a couple of days, but now it appears our digestive systems are on the mend. I guess my probiotics could only fend them off for so long.