Sunday, July 5, 2009

Lake Atitlan

We grabbed a bit to eat and headed off to Panajachel. The roads did not mix well with what I had eaten, so we ended up stopping a few times so I could throw up. Not only were the roads curvy, but it was very bumpy and we elected to sit in the back of the minibus, the roughest ride. Always sit as close to the front as possible. I ended up feeling like death was coming and spent the night in the fetal position in a very comfortable expensive hotel in Panajachel “Pana”. The next morning my sickness had passed and we had a nice breakfast and then we were off to a nature reserve. There were zip lines, waterfall hikes, coffee plantations, monkeys, and a butterfly garden. The zip lines only cost about $7 per person and took us on 7 different lines over canyons and coffee trees with the ability to view the lake and waterfalls from above. It was absolutely exhilarating to experience the jungle this way. After a morning at the nature reserve we headed back to town to collect our belongings and catch a taxi across the lake to our next destination, San Marcos la Laguna. This town is supposedly the spiritual mecca of the lake. This is the type of place that people come to from all over the world to study spirituality, holistic healing, meditation, acupuncture, and many other spiritual practices. Rose and I had no idea about this place, except an American girl we met at the taxi launch told us that we should head to San Marcos. We ended up staying in some great hotels over looking the lake as well as the 4 volcanoes that surround the lake. The first hotel we stayed in had the most amazing stain glass windows connected with paper machete. The gardens we amazing and our room was names “La Cascada” because it was built into the side of the mountain and when it rained, water came into our room and exited on the floor in the front of our room. It is hard to explain, but we unfortunately did not get rain. The view was spectacular. The sounds as we awoke were also spectacular. Rose wanted to head out to a small lake village, Jaibalito, in order to find a Mayan alter that is high on a cliff overlooking the lake. After visiting the sacred rock on the cliffs above the lake, we headed back to San Marcos and went cliff diving. The water was crystal clear and the rocks in the lake we partially covered in lake snails. There we not a lot of fish that we noticed at all but the water felt magical as if it were cleansing our souls. Supposedly Lake Atitlan is one of the most spiritual lakes around, other than Lake Titicaca. It certainly felt magical while swimming in it. In the evenings while in San Marcos, we visited saunas that were domes made of clay bricks. It was like being in an oven, dark and moist and cleansing. It is definitely something I want to build someday, I want someone from Guatemala to teach me how to construct one. Actually, I would be interested in seeing how the Native North Americans build their saunas. I want to experience a sweat lodge at some point. The people we met in San Marcos were definitely on a higher plane in terms of spiritual growth and conversations, at least much different than I had ever met personally. Margo from Nicaragua, the guy from LA who was breaking up with a girl who lives in San Marcos, the owners of the Paco Real Hostel (British husband and wife with 3 kids), Daniel, Veronica the bread girl, Sherrie, and many other locals and indigenous locals. Rosemary and I contemplated purchasing land on the lake, but decided that it is not right now. All in all, San Marcos is just about one of the coolest little magic town’s I have ever encountered in my life. It breathed on its own, it smelled different; it had this feeling of goodness that is not emitted often. Both Rosemary and I felt very similar feelings.