How are you, friends? Hopefully, you guys are well in the world. We’re doing alright over here. The weather is finally starting to become bearable. Marlowe is loving school (but you guys know that). Alex is working a lot– but sometimes is able to join us for dinner now. I’m slowly but surely detoxing and on the up and up the last few months. Things are good.
It’s sort of weird not being out in the world as much. But I am happy to be focusing on stillness at home too. It’s beneficial for a multitude of reasons. I don’t have a super big itch to travel right now. I mean, I always want to be in central America. But the reality is that I do not really want to travel there right now– I just want to be there full time. So until that can happen, I’m pretty content just focusing on the internal instead of external.
But one day, when the timing is right, I’m looking forward to trying this whole move down south thing again. We’re not exactly sure where. But somewhere south. Somewhere in the tropics or maybe in the land of the eternal spring. Somewhere to explore new places, fruits, and cultures we love.
I just love that so much about Guatemala (and Mexico too). That there is such a rich and deep culture. And each place you visit has a different story, a different tradition, a different art to experience. We’ve been to Guatemala numerous times now, and each time we still experience something new.
One of our mornings in Lake Atitlan, we decided we would take a boat over to Santiago. On our first trip to Lake Atitlan, we took the lanchas a few times. But this time we opted to have more chill time and avoid the lanchas. Not completely of course, but we just weren’t looking to fill our days as much as we had in the past. Which made Marlowe happy because she definitely does not love the boats. I know I’ve mentioned this in the past, but the morning boat rides are always fine— coming back in the evening though? It’s more of a rocky adventure. But still, we didn’t want to be completely land-bound and we wanted to experience a bit of newness on this trip too. So we opted for the direct lancha to Santiago.
And we waited at this dock for a very, very long time before we finally asked about the lanchas and realized we were at the wrong dock. This was one mainly used for larger tours, not for everyday commuters. Whoops. I want to blame Alex for this mishap. Because I had told him multiple times that I thought we were at the wrong dock— but the reality is that I didn’t ask anyone about the lancha situation either, when I very well could have, haha.
Our boat/lancha ride over was easy enough. It drops you at the main entrance of Santiago which is at the bottom of a hill. not a very big hill, but a hill nonetheless. So we made our way up, passed the tourist stalls, and more into the center of town where the weekly market was happening.
I have to tell you, the weekly market is pretty freaking amazing. I don’t really have photos to show for it because it’s literally a butt to butt, cheek to cheek experience. You’re getting up close and personal with everyone and their mom in the market. But it was awesome. So many vendors. Amazing produce everywhere (look at these tomatoes! So beautiful!) and culturally rich with hardly any tourists at all.
We stumbled upon the weekly thrift spot too. Well, maybe daily thrift spot? I’m really not sure. But on Fridays, there is definitely a thirft area.
We didn’t really have any plans in Santiago other than to explore the market. And we didn’t even need anything from the market. We had planned to do our food shopping once we got back into Panajachel because carrying arms full of pineapples back down the hill, to the boat, and back up our hill to our house seemed crazy when there was a market right in Panajachel, ya know? So we just explored.
We found this carnival being set up— or taken down– I’m not really sure.
It’s things like this that I really enjoy. Wandering the streets of a brand new place. Standing on the steps of a centuries-old church, looking out over a giant volcano and a random carnival being set up. Oh, and everyone in their traditional-typical wear. It’s the juxtaposition of all of it. New and old. Traditional and modern. It’s just surreal and magical.
I love them.
I also love how a twenty-minute boat ride can put you in a brand new town with an entirely different language and style of clothing. Everything feels so close, yet so far in Guatemala. Each community, while it does “advance” with technologies like cellphones and other things, keeps it’s own customs and languages and doesn’t feel the need to confirm. Santiago is home to the Tz’utujil people. Try pronouncing that one 😉 And the language that is spoken there is Tz’utujil as well. While some people can speak Spanish as well, it’s not as common. We just did our best 🙂
Guatemala and all it’s flowers. Another love of mine. even the scattered broken ones are always beautiful.
We had aimed to get back onto the lanch early enough to avoid the evening winds and waves. (These winds and waves are still a mystery to me). But somehow, we did not succeed.
The waves, while very small seeming, they always mighty. And for the first time during our time in Lake Atitlan, we were told to put on a life vest. Honestly, most boats don’t have enough life vests anyway. So many of the drivers never bother. But this driver was adamant about it.
And man, while I’m thankful no life vest was really needed, he was right to be wary– he overpacked his boat and it went up and down the whole ride back. And many of the people, while they live on a lake, can’t swim. So the life vest thing can be pretty important. Most people exited the boat very, very wet. We stayed towards the back (it’s less wavy back there) and we stayed relatively dry.
We made it back to land and made our way to the market, to icecream (icecream happens more than not while traveling), and to relax with a beautiful sunset.
Ps. Marlowe got this huipil in Santiago, but it’s not actually from there. A woman in another village brought it in to sell. I don’t remember the name of the style or the language she spoke. She was so sweet and we really didn’t want or need to buy anything, but we left with this. And I’m happy we did because it’s just so pretty.
I’m grateful every day (in life in general, but especially) when we travel. Our adventures are someone else’s commute and we never take our experiences for granted. Seeing the world someone else lives in is part of creating connections, learning empathy, and more. And while we’re more homebound these days, I’m so very grateful for any and all the experiences we’ve had out in the world together.
I hope you guys are well in the world today (and every day). I’m sure you’ve seen this by now, but I’m super looking forward to our next adventure in Costa Rica. I hope you guys can join that too 🙂 Have a wonderful day and rest of your week!