We spent a few hours there soaking our sore bodies and stretching our muscles over a bottle of red wine curtesy of Aviad.
The hot springs were high up in the mountains, in the middle of the cloud forest. There were three pools of different sizes but all equally divine.
Later we went back to town and got ready f0r a charity party organised by local volunteers.
The guys started drinking well in advance while I was resting and watching TED Talks. A bit later I got dragged downstairs by Aviad who assured me we were leaving. I joined the guys who were pretty drunk after a bottle of tequilla and lots of beer. They wouldn’t let me go without a drink (or two) and I was forced a tequilla shot and some beer.
Eventually we made it out of the hostel but on the way to the party the guys saw a bar and really liked the checked dance floor. I just wanted to go to the party but they had to have one drink at the bar. No point in arguing – did you see the size of them?! Elad grabbed me and 5min later we were having drinks and dancing salsa. We also got treated to free tequilla shots. At first I didn’t want any but then I was told I’d offend the owner. What would you do in my place?!
We finally made it to the party – lots of people (mainly foreigners), belly dancers, fire jugglers and a very long queue for the single toilet available. We had to improvize later that night 😉
We danced, laughed, drank, drank more, all of us in our best charity mood. So GOOD the guys were!
That’s where I got a sore throat. Too much shouting, too much fun! What a great night.
The guys left the next day and I was left missing them. I spent the day running errands, catching up on e-mail, blogs and photos. That’s when Jose Roberto suggested we should go down to Lake Atitlan and spend the weekend there. The idea was fantastic and I didn’t need much convincing.
He came to pick me up the next morning and we joined the guys in San Pedro la Laguna – a laid-back palce on the lake. We found the gang drinking and smoking at a very cool hostel called Zoola (an Israeli run place). Note: Lonely Planet Guide to include it in their books.
You see how the Israeli theme keeps coming up. That’s because most Israelis (18-25) go travelling throughout Lating America (South America in particular) after their 3-year army service. I have met tons by now.
Back to the original story. The guys couldn’t be moved and after me and Jose Roberto had lunch we went kayaking. The lake looks beautiful as long as you don’t go in. It is full of what I heard was toxic algae. The town’s dirty waters go in there and it is full of thick, green crap. We made it quite far in where the water was perfectly clear though.
We had fun, got all wet and dirty. We were looking forward to going back to the hotel and taking a hot shower . No such luck though! I later figured out the hot water trick but it was too late.
We got ready and joined the rest of the gang at Zoola. We ate, drank, played games, laughed, joked, drank more. We later went to a bar but didn’t stay too long as it was full of stoned hippies and their music. We went to another bar across town but there music there wasn’t great either. The guys played pool and I left.
The next morning me and Jose Roberto drove to Chichicastenango for the biggest market in Latin America. It was packed with people, vendors and food stalls. It was noisy, dirty, colorful, full of aromas, wonderful! They sold hand-woven fabrics, jewelery, toys, foodm fruit/veg, clothes, shoes, you name it. We walked around for hoursand couldn’t cover it all. We sat down on the church’s staircase where I took photos and enjoyed the buzz. I have 80 photos which is not nearly enough to satisfy mu facsination with the indigenous people.
A funny story happened. We were trying to make our way through the crown on a narrow passage. At some point I felt someone touching my ass. I turned around and there was this old lady poking me insistently, trying to make her way through.
At around 2pm Jose Roberto had to leave and I got my first chicken bus – an experience I was looking forward to! I got a 30min ride to Santa Cruz where I was told I could get a direct bus to Coban.
I was amazed by how fast the bus drove down the narrow, winding roads. They didn’t wait for people to get on/off. It’s all done in motion. The seats are small but at busy times you have to squeeze 3 people on them. And you have to hold on tight at ALL times!
I got to Santa Cruz and asked where I could get the bus to Coban. A lady told me there wasn’t a direct bus and I had to change. I didn’t believe her as I was told I could. I asked another person and he pointed where the bus was.
I got onto the 2nd chicken bus for the day, paid my ticket, clearly stating my destination. 2.5h later I got dropped off in the middle of nowhere, far from Coban. Upon asking what happend, the same guys who told me the bus went to Coban said it didn’t go there and I’d have to get a minibus in the morning after spending the night in this small town. That’s Guatemalan public transport for you. No point in getting mad.
So, I checked in at one of the two hotels in Chicaman. I got a room to myself, cable TV and hot showers. The shirtless men walking around were a bit weird though. I got a big dinner – a steak, pizza, and churros (deep fried pastry) for desert and watched Legally Blond! The perfect chick’s night!
Photos from Chichi: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=341940&id=752200606&l=b5ef0680a0