Published: February 20th 2009February 19th 2009
The last half of my week was spent at Tzununa at Lomas de Tzununa...and Villa Sumaya in Santa Cruz..two nights each.
Once I was done climbing those 500 steps TWICE...I decided that I was going to stay still for my two days at LdT and just read and relax. The rooms were all little wooden cabins built into the side of a cliff. As you can see from my photos, just how high up from the water I was! (On a previous week, I had hiked up to Lomas de Tzununa to make the reservation and I have included some pics from that hike as well.) The rooms themselves were very simple and lacked the warmth and charm of both La Casa del Mundo and Posada de Santiago, but made up for it in the amazing views and the food was very good too. The owners of LdT, Thierry and Maria are lovely and very attentive hosts. Thierry waited on me and remembered me from the day I hiked up there, and treated me very well, being a woman dining alone at her own little table for two. I ordered myself a bottle of wine, which he agreed to cork for
me for the following night. After I was through eating, Thierry asked if I would like to join him outside on the veranda to watch the moon come over the mountains. He offered me a drink. I had a shot of Triple Sec as a digestif. We chatted (I did most of the chatting...surprised??! HA!)..but it was a very nice ending to my day.
As a little side note....
The day I hiked up to this hotel, I happened to have passed a sign not far from my current apartment, reading "COTTAGE FOR RENT". I contacted the owner and went to see it the next day. A lovely couple with two young children. I had just the day before secured another five months at Pasajacap rental, but after seeing this little cottage, I quickly changed my mind. I got my deposit back. I move in March 4th.
The owner of the cottage, Eric from France and his wife Carolina, Guatemalan, met 15 years ago when Eric was working in Guatelemala City for the U.N.
Well, it turns out that Thierry also worked for the U.N. as did his beautiful wife from Uruguay. He is Belgian. Small world that it is,
I asked Thierry, if he happened to know a man in San Marcos by the name of Eric P. and he said...Yes, he iis my best friend!)
The next night at dinner, I stopped to chat with a young couple who I had given a few ideas for where to go that morning...(hike to Santa Cruz and stop for lunch at La Casa del Mundo). They shared their day with me, and then asked me to please join them for dinner. I did. I shared the rest of my wine.
It was a lovely night.
The next morning at breakfast, I had Thierry's wonderful homemade granola and yogurt, and I was sitting at a table alone between Maria and Troy from the night before and a couple with their married daughter and son in law at the table on the other side of me...Marco and Mercedes from Potomac, Maryland. A very nice group of people.
As I was leaving, Thierry stopped me, and said..."Dolores, you know you remind me of an american actress....I can;t remember her name". I said, well I have been told I remind people of four different actresses over the years, although the older I get, I
am not sure how much this would hold up today! He asked me to name them. Stephanie Powers, Segourney Weaver, Melanie griffiths ...
and as soon as I said Melanie griffiths, he said...YES! That's it! You even sound like her! (Omg...I would shoot myself if I had to listen to that voice all day!) I do not see that at all, but the gambler guy told me the same thing the first night I met him!!
That afternoon, I headed to Villa Sumaya, which is a retreat center for the Yoga and Healing Arts crowd. I loved my room and the setting. It was on the lake, but did not have a view from the room, but was set in a nice quiet little garden area, with my own little table and chairs outside. The food was very health conscious...and very good.
On Saturday morning, I decided to go explore more of Santa Cruz, as I had heard there was another 'side' to it than what I have previously shared with you in an earlier blog. I set out to see it.
I will share several pics of the hike in this directiion, which was wonderful, but again,
a rocky tricky path in parts....manmade footbridges, that were two boards about 10 ft by 2 ft each, and on unstable turf....
(side note: I arrived on Thurs afternoon with carry on bag...and a plastic bag from textile shopping in Santiago, as well as my knapsack. I was not aware that the hotel had it's own dock and that I was quite a distance from it...about 1 and a half miles. I had young boys coming to offer help for 20 Q, (no tuk-tuk could get me there...I was told...it had to be on foot). One boy said he would do it for 10Q. I accepted. He was about 9 years old. He put my carryon strap across his forhead and piled my textile bag on top of that. He lead the way. At one point we had to go up a steep hill of soft dirt...and then down the slope on the other side. He turned to grab my hand on both occassions as well as a few others. I thought this was soo charming and so gallant....that he should actually be considering if I was okay as he trudged with this heavy load! About midway he stops and
in spanish tells me to sit and rest a minute. He says..."Quinse" (15Q). I said, 'sure'. A little farther up he says, "Vente?" I said ... Sure. When we finally arrived at the hotel, I got him a water, and a granola bar and gave him 25Q. It was quite a hike. These kids are amazing!)
Back to my hike...
so along I go, watching my step...stopping at a nice little bistro/bar/cafe, called The Jacaranda...for an iced tea. Onward I go, and come upon a couple on the path who stopped to talk to another local gringo, and I ask how I get to the galleries...."Ohh and the cappacino bars?", he says. I said, YES! He said, "there arn't any"... this is it! Thru conversation with the couple, Ischi and Wilfried, from Germany, I find out that they have a little stone cottage for rent. They take me back to their house to see it. It was adorable. Small but great. I sit with them and have some lemonade and talk for a while, when all of a sudden at the gate are four local boys from the village. Ishi lets them in, and they sit at her long table
outside, and soon she returns with hot cocoa and cookies for them. It was another special moment for me.
We hugged goodbye and I told them I would let them know in a few days as to my decision on the cottage. (It was bigger than Eric's and 75usd less a month...set in a magnificent garden and stone paths...it had it's own dock, but no lake view. I will consider it.)
The next day,
I met a woman at the hotel, who was living at another hotel close to the main boat dock... who offered to show me a few properties she was aware of.
One was a room for 100 dollars a month that I would not ever be able to live in. The other was her treehouse room for backpackers at the Iguana Hotel, and lastly a hike and a half up the mountain to this really incredible casita that I would have taken in a heartbeat if it was not for the hike up the mountain, and the fact that Santa Cruz does not offer me the provisional shopping that San Marcos does. I think I will stick with my little cottage at Eric and Carolina's.
It was a nice week, but I was exhausted when I got back to my apartment.
I began my Spanish classes on Monday. My teacher is very good, although we have talked more about cultural differences than teaching, but this is valuable to me also. He is now coming to my apartment to give me lessons. It's a quieter and better environment, then the location in San Marcos. I am looking foward to learning this language, so I can engage more with the local people.
There are opportunities everyday to do something...to contribute something...and I like that.
I carry two bottles of water with me, when I leave each day, because there is always someone who needs one. Nico, my spanish teacher, told me ...they covet the bottle! He said, most of the local people get their water out of the lake. The bottle you give them, gives them a sense of stature...or ownership, or pride. Imagine this. Imagine it. My heart gets bigger and warmer with each passing day. I never pass a person who does not greet me, or return my greeting to them. There is a respect for others that is really so heartwarming to witness
and be a part of. I love these people.
There are more photos below