May 26, 2023 – Chisec
We are on the move for a few days to get to San Pedro La Laguna on Lake Atitlan, where we will attend Spanish school for two weeks. Guatemalan roads are slow so it will take us three days to cover a distance we could do in one day in Canada. I don’t think we have driven at a speed over 70km/hr since we entered Belize. Nonetheless, we are experiencing rural Guatemala and getting a real feel for the country. We like Guatemala much more than Belize and Mexico. We intended to camp on this night, for the first time since Galveston, but it was getting dark before we got to the campground, so we elected to stay in a roadside hotel. It was very cheap, the bedsheets were ripped, and there was no air conditioning, but everything was clean, we pressed our rechargeable camping fan into service, and we slept just fine.
May 27, 2023 – Chichicastenango
In Chichicastenango, we camped for the first time since Galveston in an official campsite right next to tiny Mayan ruins. We are doing so well on Airbnb pricing that we don’t need to camp, but we brought all the stuff so we feel like we should throw in the odd night. We did camp in a campsite that is very popular with pan-American overlanders and we met an American who is also on his way to Argentina in a Maltec. BTW it took a lot longer than 6h29m to drive the route in the first picture. We averaged 28 km/hr.
May 28, 2023 – San Pedro La Laguna
We are parked in San Pedro La Laguna for two weeks of Spanish School. Expect a lot fewer posts. We came down a pretty wild descent to the shores of Lake Atitlan which is surrounded by three volcanoes. It is a picturesque setting to spend a couple of weeks riding tuk-tuks and learning Spanish.
May 29, 2023 – Escuela Orbita
We took a tuk-tuk to school today. Sue and I were both tired by the end of the day. Our brains haven’t worked that hard in years, but we are learning. The classroom is outside, although protected from the rain. The view from our classroom is darn good making it hard to focus on the lesson. There are a ton of stairs for our aged bodies to climb to get up there each day. It is just Sue and I with one teacher so it is tailored to our learning abilities. Buenos nochas amigos.
June 2, 2023 – San Pedro La Laguna
It is the end of our first week of Spanish class. Sue and I have learned so much in just one week. It is already helping us a great deal. There is actually something that you get from in-person two-on-one teaching that you don’t get from online courses, although the online courses have their place. We have been tired every night because our brains have not worked this hard in years. Our confidence in Spanish is growing and we have another week to go. We get the weekend off to explore San Pedro.
June 3, 2023 – San Pedro Market
We visited the San Pedro market today and got some fresh vegetables, shrimp, and chicken. Eating dinner in a restaurant is so cheap here that we have been doing that after class when we are tired. But today Sue made a fantastic cucumber, tomato, and chickpea salad and we added some fresh shrimp. You have to give up on our Western standards for refrigeration as they wave the flies off the shrimp and chicken before you buy it unpackaged and unrefrigerated. These things don’t bother us as the food is fresh and not processed like we get at home.
June 4, 2023 – San Marcos La Laguna
Today we took a water taxi across Lake Atitlan to San Marcos. I took a short walk along the coast of the Lake. San Marcos is known as a hippie hangout. It was pretty wild because they seemed to be American permanent residents, mostly over 50, and you wonder how they ended up in Guatemala. Not sure exactly why but that is the impression I got. We had a couple of beers in a restaurant beside the water that had a live blues band. It was very laid back and we totally got into the vibe.
June 9, 2023 – Escuela Orbita Graduation
Today we graduated from Spanish school. We both think that the Spanish lessons were beneficial. We have enough tools to get by with our everyday interactions. We will see how well we do when we get to a border.