I departed from Antigua at 1pm Sunday afternoon. I paid $5 for a shuttle bus to take me to Panajachel. From there I was to take a ferry to San Pedro, one of the many towns located around Lake Atitlan.
I forgot to take my camera out of my back pack before the man put it in the back, so I have no pictures of my journey. What I can say the damage from the Tropical Storm Agatha was very much evident throughout my 2.5 hour journey. At many points the roads was blocked off due to the damage, we had to travel over many flooded roads.
The Western Highlands of Guatemala is very mountainous. I tried to sleep as much as possible to avoid getting car sick from the winding roads, pot holes and sudden stops, also to try and forget how bad I had to go the bathroom. When we arrived in Panajachel, it was beginning to rain. Soon as I got off the bus men begin asking me if I needed a boat. My primary concern was the bathroom, after taking care of business I asked the woman at the desk how to get to the docks. She gave me a map and told me it would be about 15Q ($2). As I left I was again approached about needing a ferry. I asked the man how much and he gave me the same price as the woman, 15Q. I said ok and allowed him to help carry my bags to the dock. As we walked, we spoke in our broken English/Spanish. He told me about speaking his indigenous Mayan language and asked about where I was from.
As we approached the dock he begins telling me about private boats. I said no I wanted to take the ferry, he responded by telling me that the ferry is very packed, isn’t covered, it also takes a long time because it stops at all the villages and it would not be there until 5:30. At this point it is 4pm, I am very concern about getting my stuff wet and I just want to get to my destination. He of course had a brother with a boat that just happen to be waiting at the dock, it would cost 250Q ($30) to take me to San Pedro. I was not feeling paying this much when the public ferry was $2, somehow rain changes one’s mind. I talked him down to 200Q ($25). We loaded my stuff on the boat and took off.
I don’t like boats. I will never go on a cruise ship. Titanic and Amistad scarred me for life. However, this does not mean I won’t go on a yacht…that’s different! This boat was very small and the water was very choppy. His engine kept stopping because of all the trash in the water from the landslide/tropical storm.
Times like these you just have to sit back and enjoy the ride (After wondering why I was in Guatemala alone). Eventually we arrived at San Pedro. He kept asking me what hotel I was at and I was trying to explain to him I was staying with a family. I needed a phone to call Javier, the director of the school I would be studying at to inform him of my arrival. We walked into town for about 5 minutes before we could find a place with a phone. I called Javier and tried to explain my location to him. Eventually he found me and we begin walking to the school to meet my new family. When we arrived at the school they were waiting for me in a tok tok. There were 7 people in this tiny tok tok. Somehow we manage to get my two bags and myself in the tok tok. The family lived up a very steep hill at some point some of the people had to get off the tok tok because it could not go up the hill with all that weight. I eventually arrived at the place I would call home for the next week.
More about my family later.