We met our tour guide Jeff at the Guatemalan MTC in the morning. After some short introductions Jeremy, Bryan, Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa and I climbed into the van along with Jeff and the driver. Jeff had a mic, as well as some headsets for all of us. It made it a lot easier to hear what he was saying as we drove along. Jeremy and I were in the back of the Van, and man alive was it bumpy at times.
Our first stop was at some ruins called Iximché in Chimaltenango. They were really neat, until at the end of our tour there we came across some Mayans setting up a religious ceremony. The Mayan priest (who had gotten himself quite tipsy) came dancing up to me and started to talk a lot and point to me. I was getting a bit worried and proceeded to hide behind Jeremy while Jeff talked to him. Apparently he wanted me to help him and dance with him. I DON’T think so. Well when Jeff said no the Priest told him that he would have to pay if we wanted to stay there, or we could all start to dance. Grandpa was ready to dance but the rest of us decided it was our sign to head back to the van. Jeff was great to describe many things to us. He would even mention some Book of Mormon stories every once in a while, talk about bringing the scriptures to life.
The rest of the ride to Lake Atitlan was quite the adventure. It was on these mountain roads that were lined with ‘farms’. The people in the highlands of Guatemala practice terrace gardening, however many of the terraces aren’t level, just plant it in the side of the mountain. I’m not sure how they got to some of the crops we saw as we were driving. It was surely a sight.
No I didn’t take this shot, but this is taken in Guatemala and gives you an idea.
We also passed a Waffle House of all things! We don’t even have them in Utah (that I know of) and yet there it was in Guatemala!
At the lake we stayed in Panajachel at a truly beautiful place called the Rancho Grande Inn. The rooms were amazing, and the grounds so perfectly kept. I would tell anyone who is going to the lake to look into this Inn. Jeff took great care of us! That evening we spent time just walking around Panajachel close to our Inn. The streets around the corner from the Inn were filled with vendors and we all took time to do more shopping. I found a green ‘Jade’ ring that was only 5 Quetzal’s (about the equivalent of $0.65, first sign it wasn’t really Jade). It was the first ring I found that fit my ring finger so we got it and I wore it happily in place of my wedding band. Panajachel had some of the better shopping we found on our trip, yet we didn’t spend a lot of time shopping while we were there. It was funny when Jeremy went off to get a drink and found a vendor that gave him a Pepsi for 5 Quetzal’s. When dad went to the same vendor he was charged 10 each! We learned that we should always send Jeremy or Bryan, never dad. They saw Jer and just assumed he didn’t have any money, that he was a traveling student (good assumption) but when they saw dad and his large camera they knew they could milk him for his money.
We all got some Ice Cream (Helado) and made our way back to our rooms. Jeremy, Bryan and I sat up for a while and talked before Bryan decided to call it a night and retreat to his own room. After a long day in the car I decided to take a shower before bed… and the adventure began…
Guatemalan’s are a short people. Well the majority of the one’s we saw. Anyone that knows my husband and myself know that we are tall. Jeremy especially, standing at 6’4″ barefoot. Our bathroom was a bit small, and the window (covered by only a sheer curtain) was pretty low. Feeling very modest I decided to undress in the small shower and then turn it on, to avoid being seen by anyone that might be outside. The fatal flaw was not testing the water first. I quickly found out that we had two temperatures of water: Freezing and extremely Cold. I could NOT get any hot water so I would lather up, jump in the cold water and then jump out as soon as I could, making a face I like to call the ‘silent scream’. We laughed about it a lot once I got out of the bathroom. It ended up being a great way to stay cool after a hot day, I wouldn’t have chosen it however.
This night I had my first dream ever in Spanish… and no I didn’t understand a word of it.