Our next stop in Guatemala was Lake Atitlan. We got on another shuttle bus in Angitua for about 2 hours and it was a very bumpy ride. Lake Atitlan is a crater lake which used to be a really huge volcano before it exploded. The lake looked like an ocean and we took a boat across it to a town called San Marcos. Usually San Marcos is the quietest town on the lake but there was a festival the day we arrived. They were continually lighting off fireworks some of which were as loud as a quarter stick of dynamite. I felt like I had to hold my ears the whole time I was there so we decided to go to San Pedro the following day.
In San Pedro was much quieter but it was a much bigger town. We stayed with a nice family and they had a house right on the lake shore. The family had parrots called loros in Spanish. I liked them and fed them pieces of banana. Whenever I went over to their cage they would say hola which is Spanish for hello. We went to another Spanish School in San Pedro and we could walk there along the lakefront. The walk was really nice because you could have a view of the lake between the trees. We saw of birds and plants and lots of people in the water. Our school was also on the shore. The San Pedro Spanish School was really nice but not quite as nice as La Union in Antigua, but I liked it still. The grounds were really pretty with lots of plants. The classroom was outside and there were days when our desk was right on the waterfront. It was beautiful. I also saw a bird called a roadrunner but it did not go ‘beep beep’ like in the cartoons. It sounded more like a squawk. After a while, we needed a break from Spanish school so we went back to San Marcos which was now a quieter town since the fireworks stopped.
San Marcos is a little like San Pedro but smaller. There was a center of town with only one road through it for cars. There are many little dirt trails leading though the forest surrounding the center of town. And I have to tell you it is very rural here with lots of woods which I really like. It was very peaceful and tranquillo with is calm in Spanish. Lots of buildings there were made out of cob which is made from clay. They also have palm thatched roofs on many buildings like the hotel we stayed in called La Paz which means peace. La Paz had amazing gardens.
On our first day, walked to the main square and heard some marimba music. We walked over to see what was up. There were a bunch of dancers in bright colorful costumes who were wearing masks and big feathery hats. This is the conquistador dance which is tells the story of when the Spanish came to Guatemala. The local indigenous people perform the dance and their families and friends were watching. We were the only people in the bunch that did not live there but they were very nice us anyway. I met lots of local kids and let them try out my camera. The dance had been going on for over 8 hours and the conquistador dancers were very hot and tired. Imagine if you were dancing for such a long time. I had a lot of fun watching and took a lot of photos and want to show you some.
There were lots of people from all over the world living together with the indigenous people in San Marcos. One of these people is an amazing one of a kind person named The Real Toothfaire. We just call her Toothie for short. She is a friend from California I met 5 years ago at my Aunt Barbara’s house. Toothie now lives in San Marcos with Anha who is a little Kaqchikel Maya girl that she adopted. She is 3 years old and is very energetic and strong. Anha was very fun to play with. We went swimming together at the Lake and had a good time.
We also took a side trip to a town called San Juan (Saint John). We went there to see a woman’s cooperative for natural dying of threads which are then woven into cloth. Many different color threads are woven together to make beautiful designs. The different towns around the lake have their own patterns and designs. The natural dyeing does not use lots of nasty chemicals that pollute the lake. This was their old traditional way of dyeing fabrics. These colors are not as bright and vibrant but they are just as pretty. They gave us a tour and we learned about which plants made which colors. I will show you these in a video clip. We bought some pieces of fabric there what we will make into other things when I get my sewing machine back. This finishes our stay on the Lake. See you next time on the Nudibranch Network and enjoy the videos.