Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Lago Atitlan

Yesterday, I made my way by a series of buses to Panajachel on the shores of Lago Atitlan, which is famous for its beauty. Finding the bus was a challenge at first due to the local habit of speaking fast, missing the odd sylable and occasionally giving places a different name but eventually I got on a bright coloured bus to Cimaltenango, where after a life threatening dash across the traffic I got another bus for Solola above the lake. From there it seemed to be dead end so I settled for a taxi for the final 8km. My hotel was a little odd as apparently it had been a shopping precinct in another life and all the rooms had plate glass windows on the other hand an ensuite for 11 quid was fairly good.  Panajachel was basically all a big souvenier market though in the morning I did find a museum hidden inside a more expensive hotel.

I then caught a boat across the lake to Santiago Atitlan where I was offered another ensuite for the equivalent of 4.05 and persuaded to visit the Mayan idol Maximon.

Maximon seems to be made of wood, wears several scarves and hats and is continually smoking, on the floor were several candles, one labelled San Simon, which is apparently another name for Maximon although it had a picture that looked more like Charlie Chaplin. Somehow it seems my tour price included drinks for everyone including Maximon, although he had three bottles of white rum poured in while the rest of us had beer. After that I was surrounded by incense and they put one of Maximons hats on me while chanting in Mayan. I don´t quite know what happened but apparently my money is protected as long as I stay in Mayan lands.

Apparently there is a fiesta in Solola tommorow so I plan to go back across the lake to find out.

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