Sunday, September 28, 2014

Last Day

 I think I mentioned before how amazing our driver was?

He could navigate that enormous bus 
through streets where I would hesitate to take a small car.

As we headed back to Guatamala City we passed a lot of crops grown on the sides of steep hills.

 We stopped for lunch at a place famous for it's meat products.
Chuck was particularly impressed as he has made a foray into sausage making himself.

 It was a pretty rustic setup, but the food was delicious.

 They tend to hang on to vehicles until they literally fall apart here.
We could learn a few things from them.
Last night view from our hotel.

 Chuck and I all gussied up for the fancy farewell dinner.
My necklace was from one of the billion vendors and recognize the shirt?

 Our amazing hostess Virginia- one of the most unique people I've ever met.

 Early morning view leaving hotel.

Airborne views .
 Guatamala is located where 3 tectonic plates meet.
 So they have a LOT of volcanos.

 From warm sunny Guatamala - to cold snowy Utah 
where we had to wait an extra half an hour for the plane to be de-iced.

Welcome back to snowy Idaho.
Reality check.

Lake Atitlan

To Get from Antigua to Lake Atitlan we traveled along the Pan American highway.
The Pan-American Highway is a network of roads measuring about 48,000 kilometres (30,000 mi) in total length, except for a rainforest break of approximately 100 km (60 mi), called the Darién Gap. The road links almost all of the mainland nations of the Americas in a connected highway system. According to Guinness World Records, the Pan-American Highway is the world's longest "motorable road". However, because of the Darién Gap, it is not possible to cross between South America and Central America by traditional motor vehicle. The Pan-American Highway passes through many diverse climates and ecological types, from dense jungles, to arid deserts, some of which are passable only during the dry season, and in many regions driving is occasionally hazardous.
Jake Silverstein, writing in 2006, described the Pan-American Highway as "a system so vast, so incomplete, and so incomprehensible it is not so much a road as it is the Pan-Americanism itself".

Some typical sights we saw along the way.
Get your muffler here.

 You don't need to wonder what the store sells because they have most things out front.

Lake Atitlan from our hotel.

Lake Atitlán (Spanish: Lago de Atitlán, [atiˈtlan]) is a lake in the Guatamala highlands. It is technically endorheic (lacking direct flow to the sea) but substantial seepage feeds two nearby rivers. Atitlan is recognized to be the deepest lake in Central America with maximum depth about 340 metres (1,120 ft). It is approximately 12 x 5 km, with around 20 cubic km of water. The lake is shaped by deep escarpments which surround it and by three volcanoes on its southern flank. Lake Atitlan is further characterized by towns and villages of the Maya people. The lake is about 31 miles northwest of Antigua.

 This was the most distinctive hotel we stayed in.

 Each room was decorated differently with artifacts made in Guatamala.
 The grounds were AMAZING!!!
I have over 150 photos of flowers and landscaping.
I won't begin to show those here.

 We got on a boat and headed across the lake to a Maya community-
 whose name I cannot now's been 6 months.
 Our driver was of typical height - short.
Note the space from his feet to the floor.
 There were quite a few fishermen out on the water in handmade boats.

 Once we landed our guide set up a little show for us.
 Three native women showed how quickly they could make their hat 
out of one long strip of woven fabric.
 The one in the middle was fastest.
 I thought this one had the nicest smile.

 This place was vendor city central.
This boy must have had over a hundred different beaded articles for sale on his head alone.

 Hand woven articles.
 Rustic wood carvings.
 A bit more refined carvings.
 These girls could make personalized pens with names on them in about 5 minutes .

 The children learn a craft and start selling at a very early age.

The tourist season is quite short and they need to make the money for the year during that time.
So they are VERY motivated. Here they were following us back onto the boat selling the entire time.
We came back and I spent the afternoon taking photos of the grounds, flowers and animals at the hotel.
There are TOO many to share.

 Next day before we left we went in to Pentechel which is the village near the hotel.

You guessed it.
Handmade items for sale.
 I really like these quilts.
 Chuck bought this shirt.

Handmade scarves for sale..

 All sorts of things for children.

I LOVED these ceramic items.

 Nifty transportation devices for people...
 and produce.

Guatamala has thousands of brightly painted private buses.
Some ancient and held together with string/wire and whatever is handy. 
Others a bit newer.
This is one of the nicest ones we saw.

Coffee Plantation - Musica Maya

After Antigua we went to a coffee plantation.

Which had I been a coffee drinker would probably have been more engrossing.

 Here are some of the machines used in coffee production.
 We learned WAY more about the planting, harvesting and preparation of coffee than I wanted.
So, I wandered off from the group for a bit.

These guys provided a bit of a break.

 And I found some flowers.

 Chuck stayed with the group and "learned stuff".

 But even he reached a saturation point.

 So as we were instructed in the ways of the coffee bean  I looked for photo ops.
Ancient phone.

 Old coffee set.
 After we finally got through the coffee presentation 
(about 2 hours worth- which seemed like 2 days).
We saw some displays representing typical activities and dress for Guatamala.

 Then we were served a typical Guatamalan meal.

 Which was very savory and welcome after the long morning.
 Before we got on the bus to head to Lake Atitlan we got to see these three brothers preform.
They played instruments they had personally made and it was music they had written.
A good way to finish the day.