02.03.2007 - 02.03.2007
Hello eager fans,
Today I'm just gonna cover what has happened today (March 2nd).
So the day started on a bus, exactly at 12:00 am (midnight). We had already been on the bus for 2 hours at this point. I'm pretty sure ryan was asleep by that point, but leigh was wired and wide awake, shoved into his small small seat, and I was crushed into the seat behind him. This was our bus ride from Santa Elena to Guatemala City. We arrived in Guatemala city around 5:30am (which was crazy fast for that bus ride (probably cause the bus was passing trucks in a traffic jam on the shoulder of the opposite lane)). Once in Guatemala City, we were in a bus station with no clue where we were. Luckily we were able to piece out (from the guide book and a taxi driver who spoke Spenglish) where we had to go. We also read in the book that the route we had to walk was dangerous in the dark (and yes, it was dark at 5:30 am) so we hired a cab. With my still blossoming haggling skills, I was able to get the taxi driver down to 2/3rds of his price.
When we arrived at our bus station (5 minute taxi ride) and it wasn't open, so we ended up sitting on the curb for about 10 minutes, till about 6:15, when some guy came and opened up the station for us. The station was safe (there was a shotgun-wielding guard at the front door), so we waited in there for our bus. Eventually our bus showed up, and we got on. It was an old bluebird schoolbus (easily more comfy than the coach bus from the night before). We spent about an hour and a half in Guatemala city, attempting to collect more passengers. It was pretty amusing, the guy who was attempting to get people on his bus was hanging out the door while the bus was going probably 80 km/h. He also would loading people's bags (on the roof of the bus) while we were moving, it was pretty neat. Eventually the bus got on the way. We were suppose to pay Q 60, but the guy, taking advantage of our lack of exact change, and our lack of knowledge in the Spanish language, took our Q 70 and gave us no change. We attempted to argue with him to get our money, but all attempts were futile. It was alright though because the extra Q 10 is just over $1 US. Eventually (I'm not sure how far into the bus ride it was.. I slept a whole bunch) we were in the mountains. The bus was passing every other vehicle on the road, with only 2 lanes (one for each direction) on uphill and downhill turns, he always passed, no matter the situation.
Anyways, we eventually arrived in Panajachel (the destination of the bus) on Lake Atitlan. The lake is beautiful, easily the most beautiful place on our trip so far (we'll take pictures eventually). In Pana (the short form for Panajachel) we walked around, trying to find a cheap lunch. Soon we ran into another Gringo named Bill. He showed us down the main street to a not-so-cheap restaurant. Lunch was great, possibly cause we were so damned hungry. Anyways, this "expensive" lunch only really cost us Q 108 (just over $14 USD). After collecting some extremely useful advice from Bill, we said our goodbyes and thanked him a lot. We headed back up the main street of Pana, searching for a bank, an ATM, and some hand sanitizer. With the advice from Bill, we found everything we needed within 1/2 hour. Then we were down to the dock to find a cheap boat ride to San Pedro. Even with our Canadian persistance, we were not able to get a cheaper fare. The cost was Q 20 flat, no bargaining. Oh well, we tried, we waited for about 3 boats, as I said, to no avail.
The boat ride was uneventful, the most exciting part was learning what kitchen is in Spanish. After about 30 minutes on the uncomfortable boat seat, we arrived at San Pedro. We are really adament about staying here very cheap, so we checked out almost every hotel/hostel/whatever you wanna call them in town. We even travelled to the 2 way across town (which happened to be up and down a huge hill) with our packs on. We decided on a place right on the lake, for Q 60 a night. We also snagged Spanish lessons for the week (5 days, 4 hours a day) for Q 375 for each of us (works out to about $48 US each).
Now here we are, in an internet cafe.
Taking it easy, probably hit a bar tonight (don't worry, its a safe town)
I'm missing home a little bit,
Keep in touch,