Saturday, October 15, 2011

Back to San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala 24 Sep - 9 Oct 2011

What? Why? Many reasons brought me back to Guatemala but the main reason is Love. Second is to spend my birthday at a special place. Third is to make full use of the money I spent to get to South America. The good thing about this trip is nothing is plan besides the countries that I wanted to visit, so everything is flexible within my spending limit. Finding love is also not part of the deal...J

Arriving at Guatemala City airport, I was surprised to see Santiago waiting with a bunch of roses. J He told me he will be late due to work but at the end he rescheduled his work to another day. He and his friend pick me up from the airport and we spent one night at his friend’s house at Guatemala City, I have the opportunity to meet some of his friends and they are all wonderful people.

The next day, we had to leave early to go to his hometown-San Lucas, a small village next to Lake Atitlan. We took a 3 hours chicken bus that passes by 4 or 5 small villages. It was his grandfather’s birthday, they are having a lunch gathering to celebrate his birthday. I was very nervous to be there because there will be his family, his uncles, aunties and cousins, whole loads of people will be there to meet. I was first introduced to his grandfather, I bought him 2 bottle of old RUM from Costa Rica, he was happy to received the birthday gift. He doesn’t look 79 at all. J Then I met his mother…..we said hi and exchanged a few words. She was reserved! I guess it’s tough for her to find his son’s girlfriend a Chinese from the other end of the world. She seems to be a fantastic woman. His father always looks serious but he was happy to receive 2 bottle of RUM as well. I met all his aunties, uncles and cousins…. They were all very friendly and everyone was smiling. One of them, David speaks English and very friendly, we chatted for a while and he help me with taking photographers of the family, that make me feel much better to be able to talk to someone, but Santiago was always at my side. I met Santiago’s niece as well, she is 3 but she doesn’t want to speak to me nor Santiago because she was very jealous. I didn’t expect that from a 3 years old kid. L That is a tough one…

The lunch was home cook chicken, vegetables and fragrance rice cooked by Santiago’s mom, it was very delicious! The family was warm and friendly. It was not so bad afterall.

We left after lunch to San Pedro La Laguna. I felt good to be back, familiar people, streets, restaurants and shops. For the next 2 weeks I am back for more Spanish class with Cooperativa Spanish School and I was happy that my teacher Mynor is available to teach me.
Feel good to be back in routine again. I learnt more Spanish, visited Felipe and his family, have coffee at my favorite coffee place and ate at Mila’s, La Piscina, Jarachic and Vantana Blue Restaurant. Santiago and I got to know each other more and discover the hidden side of each other. Even though he lives in San Pedro, he works in Panajachel, another town by Lake Atitlan. He leaves to work every morning by boat and return in the evening.
One day I went with him to Panajachel to see how is his work place. He works in a Mobile Clinic run by the Ministry of Health, it provides free medical service for the locals. He has his own clinic in San Pedro but he opens his clinic only in the evening and weekends, not many people know him as his schedule is not fixed.

The weather has not been good, a lot of rain in the evening and night. That makes it colder at night. Temperature can be down to 10°c. L Once it starts to rain, there is nothing much to do other then hiding under the blanket. Due to the continuous rain, the water level in the lake has risen to more than a meter since 2 months ago. Some houses along the lake had been badly affected. The Jetty will be under water in no time….and there is nothing they can do about it. Just hope for the raining season to be over soon.
On my birthday, early in the morning Santiago set off some fireworks, this is common local practice here to set fireworks for any kind of celebration, something new and special for me. Mynor my teacher invited me for breakfast, kind of surprised me. J I received tons of wishes on Facebook, which makes me smile from ear to ear. I felt that even thought I am far away, I am still being remembered. I felt warm in my heart! J I visited the Post Office to check the status of my postage from Malaysia, and it was there!! Even thought the expected “Mooncake” didn’t make it, I still get my “minyak angin” and my foot sole that I forgot. Thanks so much to Adelyn. In the evening, it started to rain cats and dogs, we couldn’t go out or do anything. I have to satisfy with only Pizza for my birthday.

The Sunday, 2 October, I have a rendezvous with my best friends in Singapore. Finally after 4 and half months, I see everyone on SKYPE. We had a lot to talk… Koen being Koen started with his nonsense, Christine was as cool as ever, both got a new job and happy with the change. Amy still looking good even after putting on a few kilos from Italy. Winnie looks more tone up after losing a few kilos from her workout. It was so great to catch up with all the updates!

On the 4 October, there is a fiesta in Panajachel. The name of the fiesta is Fiesta San Francisco de Asís. Basically every town here is named after a Saint and each Saint has a special day for the celebration. During this week of celebration, many make shift stalls opened on the street selling food, drinks, cloths, games etc. A few mobile Ferries’ wheel, Viking and other rides were setup. Young and old enjoy the ride and the celebration. In front of the church, a big stage was setup for music and performance. On the actual night of celebration, locals gathered in to dance, they wear mask, wigs and local costume and dance in line. This cultural dance is almost like a slow version of cumbia. The place is packed with people even with the rain, many were drunk by 9pm. Fireworks blasted just above our head, we can see the rain of fire falling from the sky, we had to run for cover. There is really no such thing as safety here. J If you are not careful, you might get hit by one of the ferry’s wheel carriage! The celebration ends with fireworks set out on a stage decorated with picture of the Saint and his name. Interesting!

Santiago has a dog, she is a 6 months old Akita. Her name is Wila. If you have watch Hachiko, you will know which species is she. Even though 6 months old, she is big. At home she destroyed anything that she can get hold of, one day she managed to tear down my laundry, my favorite white blouse and my long sleeve sweater both are gifts from friends. I was mad with her. Later I found out that Akita demand a lot of attentions, if she doesn’t get it she will start to destroy things to get attention, just like kids.

 2 weeks went pass, it is time for me to move to the south. I've bought tickets to Bogota, Colombia. SpiritAir a low cost American Airline offer cheaper flight to Colombia than TACA or COPA Airline but I need to fly thru Miami. Santiago's friend Nestor put us up for one night in Guatemala City, we went for dinner and have a drink at the bar. While at the bar, 2 gun shots blasted outside the bar, Santiago pull me down immediately. It was the security guard who sent his warning to some guys who are starting a fight. Guatemala City is known to be dangerous, I would not have been out if I was not with Santiago and his friends. We left after the situation has settled down.
During these 2 weeks, I felt calm, good and happy while with Santiago but I know this is not the right time yet, what I want now is to continue with my travel. We know we will be together eventually if we are meant to be. He gave me his support and that was what I most appreciated. It meant a lot to me and I know I will be be back for him. :-) 


NA – stay with friends


Bus from Guatemala City to San Lucas – Q30
Bus from San Lucas to Santiago – Q5
Boat from Santiago to San Pedro La Laguna –Q20
Boat from San Pedro to Panajachel – Q25

Bus from San Pedro to Guatemala City – Q30

SpiritAir Guatemala City to Fort Lauderdale, FL / Miami with 1 checked in and 1 carry on luggage - US$211

Security fees at Guatemala City airport - Q20
Spanish Class at Cooperative Spanish School  - US$90 for 4hrs x 5 days

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