Monday, January 28, 2013

A Day on Lake Atilan

Evangelical Sects have made large inroads into the supposedly
all Catholic population

"Lake Como, it seems to me, touches on the limit of permissibly picturesque, but Atilan is Como with additional embellishments of several immense volcanoes  It is too much of a good thing." Aldous Huxley
We don't agree (and probably neither did he). We hired a small tour boat and driver to take us around Lake Atilan for a day. We stayed in Panajachel for 3 nights at Hotel Regis but there are many villages and towns around the lake, each with it's own atmosphere and traditions. We visited 3 other towns; Santa Clara La Laguna, San Pedro and Santiago. The first two are local villages of course but have a heavy influx of "hippies" and those seeking a spiritual or otherwise alternate lifestyle. There were "Tin Tin" cafes, near east cuisine, signs for yoga, and such.
There is a lovely walk along the lake at Panajachel
We like Santiago the best. It is a lively local city with few tourists that we saw and only one larger local restaurant, Restaurante el Pesca D'Or, which was excellent.
At Santa Clara we visited a women's cooperative and had a demonstration of the process of creating textiles from scratch, which they do here. Their products were beautiful but probably appropriately pricey. Heather bought a traditional embroidered blouse and promptly put it on for the day.
At San Pedro we stopped for coffee and an enterprising and charming young woman sold Heather a long tie which they use to bind up their
Picture opportunity for many of the tourists or locals
hair. She arranged Heather's hair to match her's.
Our "docent" explained the process of
converting raw cotton into finished thread
In this cooperative they use natural dies.

After harvesting the cotton balls they beat them flat

Colorful display of their products, matched up already

We had an adorable onlooker

Heather couldn't resist this beautiful blouse

Down by the lake white herons preened

My friend arranged my hair to match

Curious kids everywhere

Tin Tin Cafe, always a favorite

We couldn't resist this photo opportunity
We wandered around each town enjoying the views and the local people. Of course vendors constantly attempted to entice us to buy - and in fact we often did. Both Jeanette and Heather bought blouses, scarfs and skirt material. We can both dress up native style from top to toe.
There were hedges of these orange flowers

The Lake is also a laundromat
Jeanette and Alan enjoying our private boat cruise

A group of kids wait for a bus -  notice the girls are in native
dress but none of the boys

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