Theresa and I enjoyed yesterday's breakfast so much we decided to go back. We weren't disappointed. Quick service at 7:30 am left us time to do a little exploring in Panajachel and I found Devin a funky hat. It's really big on me so hopefully it fits his massive head.
After meeting the others we headed to the dock to board our boat for the day. While waiting we were accosted by the usual ladies selling things. One with scarves targeted me. Her please lady, I need money for lunch finally got to me so I bought two. Yes, I'm a sucker. Oh well.
The first stop was Santiago. I didn't like it much. It's dirty, congested and ugly. The group went to see the "Saint Machimon". I waited outside as there is no way I'm contributing to that ridiculous "religion". It's a wooden man they claim is centuries old. They supposedly worship it and bring it gifts of booze and cigarettes. A home is honoured to host it a month at a time. You pay 2q to see it and 10q to take a picture. I think it's a way to sucker tourists out of money but that's just my opinion ;)
Next stop was San Pedro. It too is perched on the side of a volcano but it seems cleaner and nicer. You still have to be careful where you walk so as not to step in dog or cow poop. We visited the home of Therese', who taught us how to make tortillas, showed us her home, made us a typical lunch and let us try on her traditional clothes. It was very interesting!
The boat ride back was quite a bit rougher and some were quite afraid. I didn't think it was too bad.
Back in Pana, Glen had already loaded our luggage on the van (he's still my hero) and we headed to Antigua. That's one of my favourite cities. Antigua and Cuzco...beautiful! I'm excited to be here and am now regretting not booking an extra couple of days in Antigua. *sigh* It's never enough. Theresa and I have not turned on a tv since we've been here. In Pana, they gave us a remote and we told him we didn't need it and gave it back. She's hoping her new roomie feels the same.
Again, some of the others went out after dinner but Theresa and I headed back to our room as 10:30 is plenty late enough when you can't sleep in.
Tuesday, Nov 27
6 am. Figures. Oh well. We made the best of it and set out to see the city. By 8 am we found a nice deli and enjoyed fruit with yogurt and granola and a latte. YUMMM! Back at the hotel and Theresa went to drop off her laundry. It's funny how we're both excited by the idea of someone doing all your laundry for about $3. We could do it ourselves but it employs someone and we can spend that time being a tourist.
Most of the group then set out to experience a chicken bus. They're retired school buses that the driver "pimps up" and are used as the public bus system. There's no real schedule and no limit on how many people, animals or goods they can carry. I'd done it lots the last time we were in Central America and told them it's an experience not to be missed. At the bus station, Rafa asked around and apparently the bus we needed had just left. One guy was on a break but when he saw there were 12 of us gringos he agreed to take us. Of course we picked up others on the way and many were surprised as the bus never seems to stop. People just jump on and off. They're much kinder to tourists and actually stop the bus for us.
The macadamia nut farm was a very interesting experience. You really should check it out
Lorenzo and Emilia are the owners and he is quite the character. He's got lots of political views which are quite fascinating. They grow macadamia trees from seed to preserve gene pools. No grafting is done as that creates a genetically modified fruit. They give away many trees to indigenous people as often their diets are lacking protein and these nuts are an excellent source of that as well as omega fatty acids.
Emilia served us macadamia flour pancakes with pieces of nuts in them, topped with macadamia sauce and blueberries. AWESOME!
Some of us enjoyed a facial done with macadamia nut oil. Other than lunch, all was free. They just asked us to donate what felt like. Of course I bought some stuff. They employ about 30 people and don't turn a profit as that's not what this is all about. I bought some macadamia nut cream and oil that's supposed to make me look much younger AND cure the psoriasis on my head. No, I don't believe it, but it's a good cause and I can always use face cream.
Rafa had told the bus driver about how long we'd be and he actually agreed to wait. This is a PUBLIC bus. We we found out he was waiting we tried to hurry but Lorenzo said not to worry. He'd sent someone with a plate of pancakes for him and the acrobat (ticket taker) Nice!
Back on the bus and it continued to collect more people. When we had about 3 to a seat everyone started chuckling "THIS is a chicken bus!" I've seen them a lot fuller but this was fun.
The others headed back to the hotel but Theresa and I found another market. This one was for the locals and lots of fun. There was a vegetable, meat, clothing and hardware section and anything you needed could be purchased there. On the way back we decided to find ice cream. We kept turning here and there and eventually realized we were lost. A nice man saw us looking at the map and asked if he could help. YES! How do we get to THIS hotel. He pointed in the right direction and we took off. We spotted the group headed for their salsa lesson so I took Theresa's purchases and she joined them. With my two left feet and total lack of rhythm I decided to skip salsa dancing.
I dropped our stuff off in our room and saw the note from Rafa telling Tereza to call him. All worked out.
I set off to take pictures. This time I was careful to concentrate on where I was before I turned a corner. I walked about for an hour and a half till my feet were killing me from walking on the cobblestone roads. I think I got some great shots. I love sneaking people photos ;)
Theresa was in when I got back and we took turns taking showers as our feet are disgusting.
We went to a really nice place for our last dinner together as a group. Some are carrying on to see more of Guatemala, Belize and Mexico. I sure wish I was. I splurged on dinner and had a lovely prawn, portebello mushroom and polenta dish. Most of the group went salsa dancing but at 10 pm I was thoroughly exhausted and headed for bed.
I have to go home. Bummer. I love and miss my family but I sure do love traveling! It's a conundrum.
Theresa and I went to Dona Luisa's for breakfast and were treated to a HUGE bowl of fruit and granola which we assumed had the yogurt on the bottom. Then she came with a bowl of yogurt! We tried our best but couldn't finish it and raced back to the hotel for my 8:30 taxi. They were waiting. I hate it when people are waiting for me. :(
There were 4 of us on the same flight and two on a flight leaving shortly after so we shared taxis to reduce the cost. It was nice to have people to chat with while hurrying to wait in line although Guatemala City airport was not bad at all and we had plenty of time to shop and spend the last of our quetzals.
Even Miami wasn't as bad as I've seen it and I had plenty of time to wait for my flight there as well. We boarded the flight to Toronto and I was just thinking "wow, for once my flights are working out as planned!" Silly me. The pilot announced they had trouble with a windshield defroster so would be delayed. An hour later the problem still hadn't been solved and we had to get off. Next was a gate change as they found us another plane. Of course that was about a 2 mile walk away. I joked with my seat mate that it would wear us out so we'd be less inclined to complain.
We landed in Toronto at 2 am rather than midnight. I went outside and walked almost the whole way down thinking Mike had given up and left but there he was. Phew. Home shortly after 4 am we fell into bed. After 3 hours of sleep I got up to find a bathroom and kitchen badly in need of cleaning and two weeks worth of laundry awaiting me. And they wonder why I'd rather keep traveling???? LOL
There's only a sample of my photos here as they have to be downsized to upload and that's a pain. If you want to see more, go to my facebook page. Jodi Vos DeJong
Happy travels till the next time. Ecuador in February. WOOHOO!