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Published: August 15th 2002
Two and half hours chicken bus ride from Xela is one of the most beautiful spots in all Guatemala. Lago Atitlan, a huge lake surrounded by three huge volcanoes. Panajachel is small town on the shore of the lake. We arrived mid afternoon found a hotel and went to eat. Since I left England 6 weeks ago I haven't been to a place quite as set up for tourists as this, the town even had a multi-storey hotel. Throw in a large number of travellers, staying in the cheap hotels - as low as £3 per night, and there is a vibrant mix of people.
Lots of small cafes and restaurants have appeared to cater for the demand of the tourists. After wandering the streets for a while we found a gallery slash café, the Café Arte that had really great prices advertised on the board outside. £1.80 for a lasagne, and £2 for a typical plate of Guatemalan food. So we stopped and ate - great food, in fact the best I've had since leaving Las Vegas. Spent the rest of the day wandering and chatting with Reena.
In the evening we had ice cream and met up
with Joanne, a French girl whom Reena planned to travel on into Guatemala with. Joanne was travelling with two French guys, Olivier and Laurence. We had drinks into the evening and chatted about all manner of things from travelling to Jimi Hendrix.
In the morning Reena and I sat on the banks of the lake and watched the world go by, visited some of the tourist shops, a few small markets and said goodbye. Later she would meet with Joanne and I would travel back to Xela to meet the family I would stay with whilst I study Spanish. I've become really comfortable with Reena's company and will miss her a lot, her easy going nature and good humour have meant that travelling with her has been easy. I've promised to visit her in Manchester when I return to England, though I'm not sure when that will be. On the bus back to Quezaltenango was the most alone I've felt throughout my trip so far. I spoke very little to anyone, just enough to get out at the right stop. I just watched the world go by, and tried to avoid hurting my legs too much on the seat
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