Guatemala 6/28/2018 - 7/8/2018

Friday, 6/29/2018 - Exploring Panajachel

Today I woke up early for work. There is a 2 hour time difference between here and home, so although I must start early, I also end my day early.

Craig woke up in time for breakfast. He was feeling a bit better this morning, but he seemed to have a fever and his head was aching. Nonetheless, he came and sat outside. We joined the family for a breakfast of toast, patin (fish or beef in tomato sauce and lemon wrapped in a banana leaf), orange juice, and coffee.

I showed Craig the new refrigerator and kitchen credenza, and he admired the new planters along the patio. Then I directed his attention to the brand new clock on the dining room wall.

Tyson slept late this morning, and joined us when he finally woke up. As he was eating breakfast, a thick black spider walked across the patio. Tyson took a close-up of it to send home to David, and it really looked intimidating!

Aracely and Eddy showed the three of us a newly hatched butterfly on the passionfruit tree above the stairwell. It was drying its wings before flying away. We also saw some butterfly eggs on the undersides of leaves. According to the family, this has been a big season for butterflies here. Just a week or two prior, there had been even larger populations of butterfly hatchlings.

Tyson was looking at his book of birds from mesoamerica, and Eddy joined him and was very engaged. It is so nice to see how well the two of them are bonding. Eddy scoured the book to show Tyson some of the hummingbirds that visit their yard.

We went up to the roof deck to take in the view of Lake Atitlan and its surrounding volcanoes. Ian Ivan picked up right where he left off last year, sneaking off with Craig's cane and hobbling around with it.

I wanted to take Tyson on a walk around town to orient him. We wanted to go to the ATM and maybe do a little souvenir shopping. As much as Craig wanted to join us, none of us thought it was a good idea for him to be wandering around in the hot sun. We had some special activities planned for the following week, and we needed Craig to recover from whatever little illness he had picked up.

Tyson and I walked down Calle Rancho Grande toward the lake. Paulina's sister Isabela's restaurant is now an internet cafe. We had many fond memories here, but were eager to visit her in her new location some night for dinner. Tyson loved the living wall (a vertical garden) at the Hotel del Lago, and we stopped to take a few photos.

It was a gorgeous sunny day, and we enjoyed views of the lake as we walked along the lakefront. The volcanoes peeked through a veil of haze indicative of the time of day.

We were asked many times if we wanted to hire a boat, and many sellers approached us trying to get us to buy their wares. We didn't even have cash yet (we were on our way to the ATM, after all). I reminded Tyson that you have to be honest and firm with these vendors. If you don't want to buy an item, say so. If they say, "Maybe later?", do not fall for it. If you say so much as maybe, they will wait for you. And they will find you. Maybe today, maybe several days from now. And they will "remember" that you "promised" to buy it. At first it feels a little rude to just continually say "no gracias" and ignore further pleas, but you quickly come around to the fact that it is a survival strategy.

We enjoyed looking at some colorful murals near the lake, tackling such subjects as diversity and inclusion, the arts, nature, and Mayan culture. They looked beautiful, especially with branches of bougainvillea flowers draped down over them.

We then walked up the main street, Calle Santander, and browsed in the handicraft shops. Our usual ATM next to Sarita was out of order, so we scoured the street for an alternative. We found one that was like a little phone booth. Tyson and I both squeezed in together so that I could help him with the Spanish interface. When we were finally done, it was a relief to step out of that little sauna and onto the street.

Tyson enjoyed getting a sense of the type of souvenirs offered here, and we vowed to return to make some purchases. I made sure to direct Tyson's attention to the Hotel California, a hotel which blatantly uses the cover image of the Eagles album of the same name on its sign. Ah, Guatemala!

We walked home via Calle Rancho Grande, and Tyson was in his glory visiting a plant nursery (though we set the expectation with the proprietor that we wouldn't be buying anything since we can't import plants!)

When we got back to the house, I logged in to work from the outside patio. Craig joined us and we watched as Ian Ivan enjoyed playing on the family's new hammock. Paulina and Humberto were repeatedly telling him and Eddy that it is for lounging, not swinging wildly.

We had a late lunch of rice, black beans, and tortillas.

Later, Aracely and Eddy were horsing around in the hammock, and we were suprised that nobody fell out and got hurt. They were tickling, swinging, and pushing. Ah, siblings.

Tyson needed to play Pokemon Go today to keep his game streak going. Not to mention that there are location-specific Pokemon available here that he can't get at home. It was a good bonding activity to do with Eddy. Tyson saw that there was a "Poké Stop" at a familiar-to-me mural on the corner of Rancho Grande. So he asked Eddy if he wanted to go for a walk with us to catch some Pokemon.

Craig stayed at the house to rest while Tyson and I took Eddy for a walk. Craig still wasn't feeling well. We walked to the end of the street and took a left onto Rancho Grande and headed toward the mural. As Eddy was catching the Pokemon, we ran into the kids' 8-year-old cousin Allison Margarita! She is such a sweetheart, and has always been a dear buddy of Craig's. I knew that he would be envious of the fact that we saw her. Hopefully he would be out and about soon and would get an opportunity to see her.

After catching a few Pokemon, Tyson asked Eddy if he wanted some ice cream. We stopped at the Sarita location near the lake, and Tyson treated us. Tyson wanted to try fig frozen yogurt, but we didn't know how to say fig in Spanish. We asked bilingual Eddy, who said something that sounded like "figo" to me and "vigo" to Tyson. We told the server that we wanted f/vigo" ice cream. Eddy couldn't contain his laughter. Apparently it was "higo" (with a silent h). Tough crowd!!

Eddy got a banana split, and I had a vanilla shake. We had a great chat with Eddy reminiscing about our visit to the hot springs with Kevin, Jenn, and their girls last year. Tyson saw the Facebook photos and wants to visit as well, which we will do on Tuesday.

Eddy got thoughtful and introspective when the news came on a TV in the food court. It was showing footage of someone in a van or truck deliberately running over pedestrians, and I shut triggering thoughts of an accident Craig and I had witnessed years ago out of my head. Eddy told us that sometimes bad things happen in Guatemala; people do bad things. It was a rare somber moment from Eddy, and we tried to explain that it's not just in Guatemala. Bad things happen everywhere. No place is immune. The best that you can do is to try to be a good person, and be aware of your surroundings. If something seems off or dangerous, get yourself out of the situation.

It struck me just how much Eddy has changed over the past year. He is more open, more confident, more communicative. He is mature and demonstrates self control. He is an absolute joy.

He's still a little boy though, and he took great delight in re-enacting a wipeout I took last year when I tripped in the water runoff basin on the side of the cobblestone street. Tyson had heard the story, and was also delighted to see where it all took place. At least I hadn't come away from it bleeding, like I did in the summer after 8th grade when on a bike ride with Tyson and friends.

When we got back to the house, Humberto was gone. He had an early guiding engagement in the morning, and was staying the night in a neighboring village.

I checked on Craig, who was now in our room. He just wanted to go to sleep. He once again had a bad headache and body aches, and he was still feverish.

I got him settled in bed and then joined Tyson and the family for a nice dinner of rice, tortillas, and chicken with mushroom gravy. We had many laughs, and when the family found out that Tyson is a psychology professor, they immediately joked that he will figure out that they are all crazy!

By the time dinner was over, it was 10 o'clock. Tyson and I were both exhausted, so we decided to say our goodnights and make our way toward bed. Aracely then appeared and told me that Rocio was on her way over with her boyfriend Hector and their baby Mael David. I was glad that they caught me before I retired to my room.

Rocio is the kids' cousin, the daughter of Humberto's sister Juana. Rocio was a precocious 9 year old when we first met her 11 years ago. For the first few years that we visited, we spent a lot of time with her. Last year we got to meet her boyfriend Hector and their newborn son.

It was so nice to see them tonight, and Mael David had grown so much since last year! I introduced them all to Tyson, and explained with regret that Craig was not feeling well and that he was already asleep. I knew that he would want to see them. Rocio said to give their love to Craig, and she presented me with gifts for each of us: a quartz necklace for me and a leather wallet for Craig. How sweet of them! We are very happy for Rocio and Hector. We are proud of them and their little family. They both work hard to provide for their son. Rocio is a wonderful mother. It is humbling to see her all grown up!

As much as I would have loved to stay up and socialize with them further, by now I was absolutely exhausted. Tyson had already taken his leave, and I soon had to do the same. I said my goodnights, and thanked Rocio and Hector for stopping by, and for the lovely gifts.

Craig woke up when I entered our room. I gave him some Nyquil so that he would hopefully sleep well. Although he didn't leave the house today, he was at least up and about enough to socialize with the family! We are hoping that tomorrow he will feel even better!
Craig joins the family for breakfast

Craig joins the family for breakfast

Tyson, Eddy, and Craig take in views from the roof deck

Tyson, Eddy, and Craig take in views from the roof deck

Tyson at the Panajachel docks

Tyson at the Panajachel docks

Enjoying ice cream at Sarita: Eddy and Tyson

Enjoying ice cream at Sarita: Eddy and Tyson

Family dinner

Family dinner

Hector, Rocio, and Mael David

Hector, Rocio, and Mael David

See all photos from this day

Previous Day Trip Overview

Back to Craig and Steph's Vacations
Next day

Read our guest book   Guest book Sign our guest book
Please send any questions or comments to
All photographs and text copyright 1996-Present except where noted.