This past week my beloved little brother and his new wife came to join us in Guatemala.
We spent two nights in Antigua, two in Panajachel on Lake Atitlán, two on the Pacific Coast in Monterico, and then one night back in Antigua before they went back north to California.
In Panajachel, we took a standard day tour to several towns on Lake Atitlán, all of which are built on steep slopes on the lakeside.
The towns were lovely, and I was happy to see men in traditional attire, something we don’t see very often.
As soon as we returned at 3:30 in the afternoon, there was a heavy downpour, accompanied by magnificent lightning and thunder. Apparently this is common in the afternoons of the rainy season. From Panajachel, it was about a 3-hour drive to Monterico on the Pacific Coast. We’d heard this would be a good beach to go to, and figured it would have nice amenities, as it is the most convenient beach for residents of Guatemala City. The town is surprisingly small and underdeveloped, except for the mosquitoes, which have colonized every inch of land. The water was incredibly warm but the waves were brutal–not my kind of beach, per se. But I think the warm, humid air was good for the head cold that had been nagging me all week.
We went on a mangrove tour, where we got to see lots of birds and fishermen. The tortugario in town was a little sad and extremely buggy. I was dismayed to see a large sea turtle in a decent-sized area but barely enough water to cover it. Definitely not one of our favorite beach towns, but once you can get over the mosquitoes, it would not be a bad place to mellow out for a week…or two…
We ended the trip by running out of gas on the slow, twisting road back to Antigua. We had climbed 2000 meters from Monterico to Antigua and didn’t realize how much gas we had consumed. We pulled over and took our turn of being a Guatemalan road block.
But in the true spirit of the road, as soon as we had gotten out our gas cans, a knight on a steel horse came galloping by and whisked Juan off to the nearest gas station, returning with two gallons, fashioning a funnel out of a discarded plastic bottle on the roadside (the one plus of all the highway litter), and then remaining with us diverting traffic around us until we had started off again safely. What a hero! All in all, running out of gas probably only took 25 minutes out of our day. And now my brother and sister-in-law can truly appreciate what it means to be a bumbling overlander. All these setbacks are such opportunities for kindness.
It felt glorious to return to lovely (non-sweaty) Antigua. Great to see the troops! Hopefully next visit we’ll be in better health.
More photos from the week at limpire.