Ten ThousandVisions




Lagos, verandas y monstruos del mar de Guatemala

By Michael Divine on July 15th, 2006

Little boy rides past, determination on his face, needing to get somewhere in the hot sun, he wants to get there, whizzing through traffic and vendors and little old women bedecked in patterns offering them to all the passerby- un buen precio solamente para tu. Of course. Always a good price just for me.

Walking through the narrow alley way on way to quiet hotel we interrupt two boys shooting marbles, a dog scoots out of our way and our friendly volunteer guide leads us to a clean room, quiet and off the street. I leave violet there to sleep while I go and arrange for the shuttle to san cristobal. We took brightly painted veering off the edge of the road mad chicken buses from Antigua, after a lovely breakfast and espresso in a sweet little hacienda, surrounded by flowers to Panajachel but now Violet is not feeling so well, having come under the influence of one of those viciously tiny Guatemalan Lake Monsters. It left her flattened out last night.

We’d found ourselves at such the sweetest little dreamy spot to stay. Not wanting to get too into the tourist party scene of San Pedro and finding the other little towns rather sleepy and dark we ended up on the edge of the lake at the Casa Del Mundo, a sprawling arrangement of stone verandas, steep stone staircases and little cabanas and rooms situated here and there in amongst the lovingly tended gardens, birds, etc. The cliffs climb steeply up from the side of the lake and this place was built right upon the edge of the deep turquoise blue waters shining in the sun. It’s decks invited us in. We decided that we deserved a retreat away from the chaos of noisy little cities and questionable hotels.

We happened to get the last boat there, after stopping in San Marcos for lunch and, lucky for us, there had been a cancellation. Who makes reservations? People do… anyhow: luck has been on our side around one corner after the other and this time- we are shown to a little cabana separated off from everything else, decorated with local folk art, windows 180 degrees around, overlooking the lake, views of the volcano, so beautiful. We eat dinner and then collapse into bed, lulled to sleep by the rhythmic waves outside.

The next day, after an attempted hike, realizing we didn’t want to really go anywhere at all, and having to change rooms because we had no reservations and had agreed to swap rooms, taking a room high up the cliffs, we spent the day on the verandas, sitting in the sun and marveling at the clouds rolling by, sparkles over the lakes and waves and occasionally jumping in for a brief change of pace only to recline once again.

We drew and wrote and read and talked and breathed and relaxed. I could do this tomorrow, I said and Violet agreed.

That night, we made a reservation for the following night, got a bottle of wine with dinner and, afterwards, found ourselves dancing to the silent music of the night on the upper veranda we had all to ourselves. The stars twinkled in and out of rolling clouds while bugs whistled and chirruped.

The next day went much the same. I awoke to the full moon setting in open blue skies, the sun rising over distant ridgelines and clouds drifting past the peaks of volcanoes on the opposite shores. Peaceful breezes wafted past til greyer skies and choppy waters drove us indoors back to the little cabana we’d had the first night (we had to change rooms again and got the quiet little cabana). A lovely afternoon brought dinner time but violet was not looking so well. It has happened before where she doesn’t eat enough and we tax our bodies staying out in the sun all day, amongst other things. So I said we should go have dinner at the big dining room area up the several flights of stone steps. I left and joined the many others. It is a chaotic scene and one I should have avoided. A tour group had shown up, and an old woman who couldn’t hear very well wanted to tell me about Costa Rica and was duissapointed when she found that i was only from LA and not somewhere more intereasting. I was written off at that point. Violet showed up, sat down next to me, attempted to eat some soup and had to leave.

We took our dinner down by the lake with me eating outside while going into the cabana now and again trying to coax bits of water into her while she moaned of stomach pains, perhaps had swallowed a gulp of water while swimming. We tried a little tea. Some cola.

It was a long night.

The next morning, I pack our bags, arrange things for payment and get us out on a boat back to Panajachel. The lake gave us some beautiful days, some beautiful memories. And a hell of a stomach nastiness for violet. So now we wait for tomorrow morning when we will ride a shuttle- because it is gentler than the chicken buses and Violet needs some chillness – and we will make our way north, to San Christobal and then Palenque.

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