Guatemala / Ecuador 2017
Wednesday 7/26/2017 - The Tolers Go Kayaking and Visit San Juan La Laguna & San PedroThis morning was a busy one at Hotel Lago Aventura. The room next to ours had been occupied by a mother and two teen daughters from Belgium overnight. They joined us for a breakfast of huevos rancheros, fried plantains, and refried black beans.
The family also provides breakfast to clients who book day excursions, and soon a mother and adult daughter from Mexico and a group from Costa Rica arrived. Both the dining room table and the outdoor dining table were full up with people.
Due to the large number of guests, the family had brewed an industrial size pot of coffee. They always brew delicious Guatemalan coffee in the mornings, but unfortunately someone must have seriously miscalculated the amount of coffee to add to the large pot. It was incredibly strong and bitter. We didn't say anything, but piled sugar into our cups. When Paulina finally got a chance to sit down and eat after feeding everyone else, she took a sip of coffee and her face immediately contorted. This was definitely not what they had intended, and we all had a good laugh.
We chatted with the women from Mexico. They live in the area to which the monarch butterflies migrate, and they said that it is amazing to see. They admit that they sometimes take where they live for granted, even as people travel there from all over the world for this annual phenomenon. We said that we notice the same thing with the family here in Panajachel; they don't always realize the uniqueness of the world-class scenery of Lake Atitlan. Sometimes it's just "where they live."
The guests all finished their breakfast and headed off with Luis and Rodolfo for their respective excursions. Humberto had planned some sporty activities for the Tolers today, including kayaking and hiking. Craig and I decided to stay at the house. I had many meetings today and needed to work. Craig enjoys kayaking, but didn't think it was a good idea to risk the sun exposure in this heat. We will be leaving bright and early for activities on Thursday and Friday, so he wants to conserve his energy.
We knew the Tolers were in good hands, and that they would have a great time. Eddy decided to go with them as well. We would stay back at the house with Paulina, Aracely, and Ian.
Humberto and Eddy took the Tolers kayaking on Lake Atitlan, and they had a lot of fun and shared many laughs. They went for a swim as well. They returned home to change into dry clothes and then visited two lakeside villages: San Juan la Laguna and San Pedro. They had a great time visiting various artisan cooperatives specializing in painting, weaving, and chocolate production.
Jenn is an artist, and I knew that she would be interested in the local paintings. Most indigenous paintings in the area are categorized as "arte naif" or naive art, which implies that the artist is self-taught (it is similar to Primitivism in Western art). The village of San Pedro (nestled at the foot of Volcan San Pedro, which Craig climbed on our first visit to the area) has developed its own unique styles of arte naif. The styles are known as "vista del pajaro" (bird's view) and "vista de la hormiga" (ant's view). The former takes a perspective directly above its subjects, and the latter directly below. Jenn bought a small painting in each of these styles.
Paintings in the Vista del Pajaro style
given to us by Humberto's family in the past
After breakfast while I was into meetings, Craig had a nice opportunity to sit and chat with Paulina. She is usually so busy that we don't always get a chance to really talk with her. We were excited for more opportunities as we would be traveling to Ecuador with her and Eddy soon!
We had shrimp with rice and vegetables for lunch. It was delicious! We talked with Paulina about what she and Eddy would need for the trip to Ecuador, and started a packing / shopping list. It is significantly colder in the mountains there, so we want to make sure that they have plenty of warm layers.
Ian was being particularly cute; blowing kisses in a theatrical fashion.
I worked a total of 10.5 hours today, finishing up just before Humberto, Eddy, and the Tolers returned home. The Tolers had had a wonderful day, and they excitedly talked over one another to get their stories out. Jenn showed me the souvenirs that they had bought, including the paintings. She also showed me photos that they had taken on their adventures. Although they had planned to hike between the villages, they wound up taking a tuk-tuk instead. The girls had really wanted to ride in one since arriving here, so it worked out well.
Paulina bought dinner from a vendor selling paches, a specialty of Santiago Atitlan. We had seen them when we visited the market there. Meat is mixed with salsa and potatoes, placed onto a banana leaf, wrapped into a little packet, and steamed. You can tell what type of meat is used by the color of the string wrapped around the banana leaf. Our paches contained pollo (chicken), and they were delicious.
We enjoyed chatting with the kids for a while after dinner, before heading to bed early in advance of a busy day tomorrow.
San Juan La Laguna
Breakfast with guests from Mexico
Ian and Paulina
Yoselin, Yasmin, and Aracely
Steph and Aracely