Friday, March 17, 2017

A Year Older In Lago de Atitlan

Today is my birthday and in following with my personal tradition here, I decided to spend my 37th birthday in Lago Atitlan which is a volcanic lake here in Guatemala, I had read from various sources that its considered one of the most beautiful lakes in the world so I figured there was no better way to celebrate my birthday than be at a beautiful place with gorgeous scenery.

I booked a tour with the help of the family I am staying with here in Antigua and I got picked up at 5:30 am so you can imagine how tired I was by the end of the day. I am not complaining though because I had a wonderful time. We were ten people within the tour group and I met some interesting characters that made the whole tour so much fun and hilarious.

To get to Atitlan we drove to a town called Panajachel which is a good entry point to the lake. Atitlan is surrounded by various small towns and each town has its own charm to it but the guide told us we were only going to visit three towns which are more well known and have more to offer in terms of what to see and experience. The towns were: San Juan, San Pedro and Santiago. We had to take a boat to visit each town and we got to see some really nice views thanks to the surrounding volcanic mountains.........none of which are active, thank goodness! 

I will go ahead and post the pictures I took and try to explain some of them, if I sound really rushed its because I am super tired and tomorrow I have to get up really early for another long day.

Panajachel, the town we first stopped at before getting on the boat to Atitlan. The town looks very vibrant with lost of commercial activities

Lake Atitlan

This was my tour group which had a mixture of Colombians, Costa Ricans, Panamanians and yours truly, J the Kenyan.

We stopped by one of the artisanal shops and saw some pretty cute paintings, I noticed that a lot of the paintings of women featured their backs a lot so I asked how come. Turns out that when the Spanish came along and enslaved the indigenous population they made each tribe wear a distinct color to identify them. Some of the tribes added their own traditional patterns to distinguish themselves and some added patterns that represented their gods and believed that by wearing those patterns they would get protection from their gods against the violation they endured during the Spanish conquest. Sad! so back to why the paintings only show their backs, its to identify the tribes as each tribe has its own pattern and colors and the best way to show this off is from the back. I have seen so many of these paintings around Antigua so I am glad that I got to learn some history behind them.

Colors and more colors, love it!

This was our guide Eduardo, such a sweet man and great painter too! he showed me some of his work  on his phone and I was impressed!

How cute is this Tuk Tuk? they are used as taxis within the towns around the lake and you will see a lot of them parked close to the docks waiting to pick up or drop off passengers. Some of the streets in the town were really narrow so I can see how convenient having one of these is.

This is what happens when the sun is out in full force and there is just too much light and you can't have a re-do because by the time you viewed the pictures it was already too late. Ooh! well, perfection is overrated anyway.

We went to another store to be shown how the indigenous people make their textile, it reminded me so much of Peru by how similar their traditions are. Trust me spinning that cotton into slender thread was not easy, it sure did look easy when the lady was doing it and when she asked for volunteers I decided to give it a try.............yeah! total fail! but on a positive note, look how full my afro puff is. Cute isn't it?

Enjoying the panoramic view of the city below, pictures really don't do it justice. I guess some things really do need to be seen in person to appreciate their beauty.

Thats it folks! my 37th birthday went very well and I am glad I had the opportunity to spend it at Lake Atitlan. I can't believe I have 3 more years until my 40th birthday! I actually know exactly where I want to go for my 40th and I can't wait, I just hope my plans work out as I wish because you never know.........even the best laid plans do sometimes fail. Ooh! well, why am I even thinking about my 40th now? I still have a couple of years until then so I better just chill out.

Happy 37th birthday to me!! and on that note, peace out!

Random Thoughts of The Day:

Who am I kidding? I am too tired to formulate any more thoughts. Time to call it a night! 

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