Homestay Adventures

“How is your homestay?  Are you getting enough to eat?” asked Lynn, almost in a whisper.

We all answered at once, “Oh yeah, it’s almost too much.”

“I feel bad, I can’t eat everything they give me.”

“It’s so much food!”

One other voice chimed in, “I don’t know, I think a bit more food would be OK.  Last night’s dinner was so small.”

“As small as a single egg?” asked Lynn?

San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala

Lake Atitlán

Lake Atitlán

In the western highlands of Guatemala, hidden amongst volcanoes, fog, and jungle-covered peaks, sits Lake Atitlán.  Formed by the crater when an epic volcano imploded upon itself, the surrounding hills rise straight from its shores to impressive heights.  The valleys and shallows along the shores have become the sites of numerous small villages, largely populated by the indigenous peoples of Mayan descent.

One of these small villages, San Pedro La Laguna, with its special blend of Mayan, Spanish, and backpacker culture, has managed to capture the hearts and minds of many, including our own.  In the shadow of the San Pedro Volcano, the town rises up out of the lake onto a hillside. The winding dirt paths, alleys, and streets meander around the hills and the lakeshore with no apparent plan, and weeks after arriving we were still making new discoveries and finding new shortcuts.

A bit off the beaten path, we learned of San Pedro from a fellow traveler while in Mexico, and decided to visit for a week or two to study Spanish. 6 weeks later we left with a great deal of angst and trepidation. We managed to escape, while many international travelers that were on journeys similar to ours have remained for months or years (or longer.)


Sunrise Summit of Indian’s Nose

3:30 am.  At various times in the past I was still awake at 3:30 in the morning, and by staying up all night I’ve even managed to see a few sunrises.  Very few.  But in all my years I’ve not once set an alarm to awake at such a ridiculous hour.  I much prefer to stay snug in bed until the birds have caught their worms and there is an opportunity for a decent cup of coffee and perhaps a croissant

But sometimes in the course of life, no matter how old and crotchety we are or how set in our ways we might be, we must set aside our preferences and seize an opportunity that throws itself in our path.  And this is how I found myself flat on my back in a pile of mud, in the dark, a little cold, and now a little wet besides.  But I’ll get to that in due course


They Will Kill You For Your Shoes!

“You’re going to Guatemala?!  You need to be careful.  Don’t show anybody your iPhone.  Don’t carry much money.  It’s dangerous there, they will kill you for your shoes!”

My friend Jake was en route to Guatemala to visit us last weekend, and this bit of sensationalist drama was courtesy of the United Airlines employee that he was sitting next to on the first leg of his trip.  It is always nice when you can sit next to a knowledgeable person on your travels.  Clearly he wasn’t in the sales department.

During his layover, Jake texted me to get my view of things.  “Is it dangerous? How has your trip been so far? Should I still come?”

My reply?  “You’re damn right it’s dangerous!  Dangerously awesome!  See you in a few hours”