The Road to San Marcos La Laguna...


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Published: January 19th 2009
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Monday, January 12, 2009

I was picked up by my driver, Freddy Luna, which I arranged thru Pierre, the Parisian man whom I am renting my apt from on Lake Atitlan.... at about 9:45 this morning. We headed to Guatemala City to a large inexpensive grocery store to stock up with provisions for my month stay. I bought more groceries than I probably needed, but all the fruits and veggies looked soooo delicious! We got back in the car at exactly noon, and headed for the lake. I had heard that the lake was a two and a half to three hour drive from GC, but that depends where you are going on the lake! It took us five hours exactly to my door.

The drive was spectacular. Breathtaking and Heartbreaking, all at once. Freddy took the secondary road as the new highway was under construction and he knew there would be several stop points along the way that would add more time to the trip, even though we were taking the longer way in distance. He also said the secondary road would be more panoramic...more interesting...more cultural. It was.

We drove thru remote village after remote village,
Mountain vistasMountain vistasMountain vistas

take from the car...my camera can not capture adequately....the beauty
passing only Mayan woman dressed in their traditional traje of hand embroidered huipeles (blouses) and handwoven skirts...the men all dressed like cowboys out of an old Clint Eastwood flick. One village we passed thru was where tiles were made, red roof tiles...floor tiles...boveda ceiling tiles. Then another village we passed thru, on both sides of the street, shop after shop were car repair shops. That's all. Nothing else. So if you need your truck repaired, you must go to that village, and then choose your repair person. We passed thru miles and miles of farms...corn fields, and carrots and potatoes... all being worked by men, woman and children. We approached two young girls walking alond the road and Freddy asked them if I could take a picture of them...one of the girls shyly walked away, the other one proudly posed!

We passed caves being dug into the mountainside....by hand... for stone dust... for the tile and brick making. There were no machines used at all. All picks and shovels. We passed men climbing these steep mountainous roads with huge bundles of sticks on their backs. Freddy said they use corn stalks after the corn is picked for use in building their huts...their homes. We approached a huge roadblock. On both sides of the road where men and womanwere sititng with huge sacks of vegetables...lining the road. So at the end of each day, they must bring their supply that has been picked and haul it up the mountain to this particular stop point, and then they wait for the buyers to come and pay them for it! These people are sooo poor and they work so incredibly hard! It is so hard for me to reconcile this level of poverty against this backdrop of such staggering beauty. It's landscape could not be richer. The people could not be poorer. I just kept putting my hand to my heart, and thanking God for all my blessings!

Finally, Lake Atitlan came into view!! Freddy kept warning me that I had not seen winding roads yet!! The only way to make the turns in the mountains was to be on the wrong side of the road to make it around the bend! The driver gives a little 'toot toot' as he approoaches the curve. You can only hope and pray that an approaching vehicle hears the beep! The road was so narrow and yet they would pass another driver...again with a toot on the approach...and then they would wave to each other...like a thank you! There is no hostility involved. I was taken many times by the apparent respect they have for others Everyone acknowledges each other with a "Bueno!" when passing...on the street, in the grocery store, on the roads..everywhere. There is a sincere graciousness about these people, that I just love. There smiles tell you so much. I am drawn toward their spirits. It is in their eyes. There is an inner peace...that does not come from having bigger or better or more of. I want what THEY have...and I am here to try and get some of it for myself!


Additional photos below
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remote village 1remote village 1
remote village 1

On our way to San Marcos...
The drive to San MarcosThe drive to San Marcos
The drive to San Marcos

Finally...the Lake is in view...covered in mist.
Waterfall - Lake RegionWaterfall - Lake Region
Waterfall - Lake Region

The road to San Marcos..


19th January 2009

awesome bolgs!!
Thanks for sharing your link to these incredible blogs! I too traveled this road to the lake and since I was in a public shuttle with no tour guide, I did not understand the mining of the numerous caves we passed or the people we saw sitting along the road with their heavy burdens. Now it all came back to me and makes sense. Thanks for sharing this knowledge and reminding me. I had completely forgotten about those caves and the men we saw coated in white dust from head to toe, picking away at them with crow bars and shovels... Such a difficult life these precious people lead.
19th January 2009

Not jealous but VERY envious
Dolores, you have found your calling as a story teller. The pictures and words are absolutely amazing and I couldn't be happier for you. I just wish I was there celebrating life the way you are. I look forward to your emails and the sunny pictures are wonderful, especially during these gray days on Ol' Cape Cod.
22nd January 2009

Dolores, It is such a treat to take this trip vicariously through you. What an amazing adventure! YOU ARE DOING IT!!! YEAH!!! Together your words and pictures bring it all to life¬óbeautiful. Laurel
24th January 2009

hey ms burke. this is good stuff. keep the blog coming and the pictures. how about some pics with you in them? scenery is beautiful but we also want you in the mix.

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