Before leaving Chichi we wander thru now empty, once busy market streets...amazing the change from stick stalls and crowds to narrow open town center, even 1/2 clean/swept up.
Head for Panajachel & Lake Atitlan lv at 8:45 on bus just half a block from Hotel. Travel all thru mtns...bus to Los Enquentas 1st, then another to Solola and another to Panajachel where we hike to a friend of Mike's in MI but the restaurant is not open and when we knocked it was clear we came on not a good day...he said they would be open next time we are thru Panajachel! Well, that won´t happen since it was quite a hot day and we just needed to get some refreshment. After a short stop at another restaurant where the owner flagged a tuktuk for us, we headed for the boat (now 65q=$8 USea) to San Pedro. Arr 11:30 and walked around ckg ON - lots to choose from but either cheap and no breeze or too pricey. Finally settled on Hotel Casa Lola
, girl offered us an upstairs room w/ view reg. 125q but since we stay 2 nights its 100q! We need to wash lots of clothes and having it´s own bath/hot water clinches the deal.
Walking town we find at least 8 Spanish language schools, lots of gringo services...bars,restaurants(Asian,Italian,Indian food),some w/ movies every nite showing Academy Award nominations, internets & markets w/ gringo foods. Also met Don Andreis, an 89 yr old Mayan sitting alongside one of the narrow streets, 9 kids lived entire life here...neat fellow (see pic). End up at Alegre Pub
and great stuffed baked potato dinner overlooking the lake and sunset (cloudy tho).
Took the boat/taxi to Santiago Info on Santiago Atitlan
& met Calvin (IL) & Elizabeth (Danish) who both went to Xela Spanish ICA school where they met. Shared a tuktuk to see Maximon or San Simon, a wooden figure representing 400 yr old real person according to local guy there. Mainly this idol/god is a mix of Maya, Catholic (Judas), and Spanish conquistador, Pedro de Alvarado. The people worship singing and giving offerings for blessings (see pic). Maximon
Also visited church where Father Stanley Francis Rather (Oklahoma) is reveered - martyred in 1981 by right wing death squad which killed him in the church...most likely they were supported by United Fruit Co of US and CIA had a hand in the wars that ravaged the country from 1966 to 1990.Father Rother Info