San Jorge homestay
After Chichi markets we went to Panajachel for a really tasty lunch and left some sick people from the tour behind in a hotel there.. then went off to our homestay in the little Village of San Jorge. This is all at Lake Atitlan, one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, it´s very impressive and surrounded by volcanoes.
Our little town was very basic but cute. The locals still get around in their traditional colourful clothing and love to set off fire crackers at all hours and sing and make music. They speak their own local dialect but some speak a bit of Spanish. And since we don´t speak much Spanish at all... communicating with our hosting family was pretty fun... and we usually failed.
The family was soooo sweet and cute. They were really happy to have us and were just constantly smiling and nodding and giggling and making us feel welcome and trying to explain that there was no electricity etc. etc. They think we´re hillarious. Every time we try to communicate and fail everyone laughs ALOT and if we even walk in the door they usually start giggling. But not in a nasty way.
The family was about 10 people but the house/shop usually had up to 20 inside and they all vacated at night and left us alone.. I have no idea where they went. But they cooked us dinner and breakfast with endless tortias and tomato sauce. I ate chicken on the first night because it would have been too rude to reject the meal they gave me, one of the other vegetarians in the group tried to explain their diet to the family but they just couldn´t comprehend the idea of a meal without meat. The second night I stealthily got my steak onto Madi´s plate. Ninja!! And we did the dishes while one of the girls watched and smiled and giggled because we were so confused about how to do dishes with no hot water, no soap and no plug. But we got it done !!
The first night we saw the beautiful sunset, checked out the local church and learnt all about San Simon and Mashimon (Which is a bit cult like and very strange) Saw all the sculptures and shrines and artworks etc, I´ve got some photos but they´re pretty scary. Then we went to a bar that was just an old tin shed where we lit candles and drank warm beer and had shots of the local liquor which is less than $1AU per flask.
The next day we all got on the back of a truck tray and drove through winding mountains up and up and up where we got dropped off for our hike to another local town, San Katarina. It was all downhill and we found lots of fun things on the way down like farms, puppies, chickens, strange fruits, cool views, forests, little kids and stuff. The downhill hike did horrible things to my feet, knees, ankles and hips which still hurts but that´ll heal. Then we got on another truck to Panajachel where we had lunch, coffee, pie. . PIE!! I bought Beirut tickets for Melbourne on the 11th March so I´ve just committed myself to staying there for that long at least. That´ll be interesting to work out.
Then we got on a chicken bus to go back up the mountain to our village but 1/3 the way up the mountain it broke down and we had to walk up a REALLY steep mountain on the side of the road. But we did catch a really nice sunset from the top of the mountain. Our chicken bus was still in the middle of the road the next day.
That night our little village held a festival for the annual changing of mayors in the town and there was a procession with sculptures being carried, music played, fire crackers and stuff. Apparently more interesting things happened after I ran away because I was scared of 5 year old kids setting off random fire crackers. There was a small earthquake that night too, as we found out later.
Later on we celebrated Andrew´s birthday in the tin shed bar with more candles, cake, cards, booze and a mushy speech from Andrew.
Then in the morning we had our last breakfast with the family, had some more confused communication, got photos with them, gave them their card (on which we drew a picture of us walking up the mountain when our chicken bus died) and then left the town. Picked up the sickies from Pana and went back to Antigua hoping for hot showers and electricity.
In Antigua there was no water in the city at all and no electricity in the country. And when we went out for dinner I forgot to wear shoes so Jacob gave me a piggyback ride and I arrive for dinner in style. That´s probably the only exciting part about that day. And we played lots of shithead as usual. Bzzzzzzzz