Text for Shangri La

At long last I have found Shangri La, an exquisitely beautiful paradise. We made it to Lake Atitlan Guatemala. There are twelve towns around this lake in the mountains,named after the 12 Apostles in this very Catholic country. The weather is absolutely perfect here,sunny dry and not too hot. A number of hopefully dormant volcanoes surround the lake. Ten years ago a hurricane added many feet to the lake and submerged a number of houses that were built too close to the water.
John and I talked about turning back and not coming this far because of his swollen leg with cellulitis but he was going to go without me anyway so we came. His leg is still a little swollen and his other foot has what appears to me to be an infection in the big toe due to an ingrown toenail but since he is on antibiotics and some cream I bought, it is not getting worse.
It took many days of bus rides to get here from Puerto Viejo. We had to go through San Jose CR, then Managua Nicaragua,through Honduras and to San Salvador, El Salvador then onto Antigua, Guatemala And Guatemala city then finally here. The cities of Managua, San Salvador and Gautemala city are dangerous. We rode on a TICA bus which was very safe with AC, movies playing and a bathroom on the bus. In Managua the cabs are unsafe and in Guatemala city the public busses are dangerous because they are controlled by local gangs who will come on board and announce that they are not armed but are robbing you nonetheless. If you resist you will suffer greatly and still be robbed. So in Guatemala city a number of us TICA bus travelers hired our own minvan to take us here to Lake Atitlan which is a very safe area.
The local population are descendants of Mayans and wear very colorful clothing.They sell crafts of every kind and high quality hand made clothing.They are very aggressive and expert sales people, so much so that it can be annoying at times.That is one of the two things that bother me.The other thing is all the women over 25 are fat and you can’t see their legs because they wear long skirts.
The prices here are absolutely excellent for example a full breakfast with coffee is $2.50 and decent hotel rooms are $10 for single. To rent an apartment is Less then $150 a month. I am currently in the town of San Pedro a hippie town with a bunch of language schools and I got a room for myself with two double beds,tv, wifi,hot shower with a fantastic view and a balcony with my own hammock for 100 q’s which is about 13 bucks a night. See pics.I also found my own private Spanish tutor who comes to visit me daily.She is very beautiful and an excellent teacher. She is picturesd in dress on balcony.When she hears me massacre the Spanish language she says….An observation, you said blah blah blah, Esto es incorrecto. Then she corrects me.I am straining my brain at learning Spanish but I’m doing it.
Two nights ago I was in Panachel,the other cool town around here and I found a gringo establishment and played triva with young women volunteers. I had to declare it a party and break my four drink limit as our team won a round of shots and the whole event.
In a nutshell I love Lake Atitlan and could easily live here if I wasn’t already established in Puerto Viejo. Also Motepe Nicaragua the island we were on, is a great place to live. I would also consider Antigua Guatemala even tho it is a city. Later this week I am planning on climbing up a volcano and then we make our way back to Costa Rica.


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