A Travellerspoint blog

Don't fall

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Luke, his sister and I decided to go to Santa Cruz on the lake right after my last class. We got in the lancha (small boat) and headed on a 30-minute ride across the lake to Santa Cruz. This time we weren't close to the brown stuff we were on top of it. In some parts it was so thick it fell like you could walk on it. It was absolutely horrifying! How did it get this bad?!


We arrived in Santa Cruz and they were two hostel choices. One of them looked like it wasn't open and the other one was pretty empty. We stayed at the empty one, La Iguana Perdida. It's a really nice place but the lake situation hit them hard. In total there was 7 of us in the entire town. I stayed in the dorm-style room but Marc, a traveler from London, was the only one in that room so it felt like a private room. Not bad for $4 a night.


The next day Marc, Luke, his sister and I went on a hike. The hike was supposed to take us to the top of the mountain where we can see the entire lake. The hike started out ok then it got more steep and difficult. On top of that my allergies weren't helping at all. It was hard to breathe. For some reason I was allergic to something in the lake. The whole time I was there my allergies were bothering me. Well at some point they let me lead the way so I can manage the pace of the hike. We were walking on the side of the mountain where on one side if you fell off you would tumble hundreds of meters down. Well at one point I looked up to see where the trail was leading and did not notice that the trail narrowed to the point where you had to put one foot in front of the other. I didn't and I put my left foot of the trail and I was lucky enough to catch myself with the other leg. That was a close call. We kept walking and walking and guessing at forks. Until we got to a point where we can see the top but there was no trail leading up to it. It was a bummer that we couldn't make it. Luckily there were so many points where the view was great.


We turned around an made our way back. The walk down was just as hard since it was very steep. Closer to the base of the mountain we were faced with another fork. we picked the left side and Luke started walking down that path. A few meters in we were all running our hearts back as 4 dogs were chasing us. We managed to outrun them and we decided to take the other path instead. We were pretty exhausted by the time we made it back to the hotel. A shower then a hammock was all I needed.


Posted by nawaf 16:51 Archived in Guatemala Comments (0)

Not a Zoola!

semi-overcast 65 °F
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Hadrien came from Antigua to spend the weekend in San Pedro. Many people like Hostel Zoola so I waited for Hadrien's shuttle to arrive and I took him straight to Zoola. The place turned out to be awesome. The dorm room wasn't well-ventilated but the hostel had a great lounge area and free internet and movies. Somehow we found ourselves hanging out at Zoola the entire weekend. The chill out area was great and the food was just fantastic. Marijuana was everywhere at Zoola. Every table was rolling joints! The lounge feels like an oasis in the desert. We definitely enjoyed spending the weekend there.

Luke arrived on Sunday with his sister who was visiting for a week. They also stayed at Zoola. Luke tried asking the owner about things to do around the lake and was brushed off claimed he was busy with the kitchen when in fact he just turned around and started chatting with some of the girls that were staying there. That was a bit disappointing. Later on we met Marc, a traveler from London who was staying there. Marc left Zoola abruptly after an incident at Zoola. Apparently one night he was in the internet & movie room using the internet. A couple of girls walked in and started browsing for a movie to watch. When they couldn't find anything interesting they decided to run to their room and grab a movie that they had. They asked Marc to make sure to tell whoever walks in that they will be right back with a movie. While they were getting a movie a couple of people walked in. Marc told them about the girls and they said the owner told them they can sleep in that room since the hostel was full. Marc wtold them that this room is for public use but they told him that they're friends with the owner and he's ok with it. They also told him that they're going to bed now. The girls return and they were pretty much told to beat it. As Marc was logging off he noticed that the "friends" of the owner were flipping through the movie collection and were actually going to watch a movie. That's when Marc had enough and checked out on the spot. Good for him! Zoola is a great spot but the owner's actions were very disappointing unfortunately! I would love to recommend this place to others but I am very unsatisfied with the management of that place so be aware.


Posted by nawaf 15:55 Archived in Guatemala Tagged lodging Comments (0)

Naughty San Pedro Kids

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One great thing about San Pedro is that there many restaurants, some of them were right by the water, lounges, bars, cafes and you're guaranteed to find a movie playing at one of these places every night. I even got to watch the World Series with two British guys. It was surprising to see British guys rooting for the Phillies. Go Phillies!


Every day I passed by the elementary school and they have a really funny school sign on the street. Somehow there's something that just doesn't look right about it!


The town has great potential for nightlife but it was pretty dead. Not many travelers made it to San Pedro which made it difficult to meet people. I believe the lake situation contributed to it. I had seen the lake up close from the dockside. It had a brown layer that was floating everywhere. It was very disgusting. Turns out Panajachel, another town on the lake, dumps all of its sewage in the lake. According to the family in the past the lake had some type of tiny fish that is native to the lake. That type of fish was capable of processing sewage (that's what they said don't look at me funny!). Fisherman got greedy and wanted more business so they decided to introduce bigger types of fish in the lake. Big fish ate little fish and little fish no more. The new fish could not process brown stuff so it started concentrating and eventually all surfaced. The lake is currently very contaminated so no one can swim and no one really wants to kayak either!

Posted by nawaf 15:07 Archived in Guatemala Comments (0)


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It seems that everywhere I go in Guatemala I run into Dutch people. In San Pedro I met the loveliest couple, Eddie & Jetti. They're traveling for seven months I believe and they are just so fun to hang out with. I am hoping we end up in Havana around the same time. That would be fantastic. Jetti is a world-class Korfbal player. You may wonder what Korfbal is! well I wondered the same too. She tried to explain it but all I got was it's a cross between basketball, ultimate frisbee and soccer. Actually it's none of them it's just a strange game! She claims there are other people that play it aside from her and her team. Sure Jetti!

I'll sick to futbol. One day my teacher came up to me after class and asked me if I was interested in playing soccer. I asked him to elaborate and it turned out that his team, the school's team, is playing the San Pedro team. A loss means they're out of the tournament so they needed all the help they can get. He's injured and another player is out of town so Eddie and I were more than happy to play with them. They gave us directions and told us the game starts at 9pm. Jetti came along to watch and we decided to leave early so we get there before the game starts. The path was very dark and we weren't sure we were headed in the right direction. Eventually we find the place. We got there just before 9pm and there was nobody there. We waited until 9:15pm and still no sign of people. around 9:20pm people started showing up. How can I forget Guatemalan Standard Time! Eddie and I take the field but the referee told Eddie he couldn't play in pants. Some kid took his shorts off and gave them to Eddie so he can play. Turns out the shorts were too small and Eddie couldn't button them up! He played with the shorts unbuttoned. What we didn't know is that the team we joined is not that good while the other team was quite better. So obviously we lost but everyone had fun at the game.

Posted by nawaf 14:26 Archived in Guatemala Comments (0)

Mas Español

semi-overcast 60 °F
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I signed up for a week of classes in San Pedro. The school seemed smaller in scale compared to La Union in Antigua. The setting was beautiful. Each student sits under a private hut in the garden by the lake. I was hoping I get to sit right by the lake but I quickly learned that it wasn't the greatest idea. The lake is seriously contaminated and it's not too pleasant to get too close to it which was very unfortunate. I chatted with my teacher about the situation and he just kept saying I hope it gets better soon because the lake is their source of life on the lake. Ojala!

My classes were very casual there. I pretty much had the opportunity to tell my teacher what I wanted to learn and he just went along. We talked a lot during class. One day he started telling me about his girlfriend and the problems he's running into with her. He asked me for advice and what I thought he should do. It felt a bit odd giving personal advice to someone I just met a few days before but he was very cool so the conversation wasn't as awkward as I thought it was going to be. Another time we were talking about languages and how his dream is to visit the US and speak English fluently. He remembered a couple of phrases from movies he'd seen and he did not know what they meant. One of the was "hang in there". It was so funny because he looked it up in a dictionary and it did not make sense at all to him. To add to his confusion in the same movie the phrase "hang up" was used. He gathered it meant to end a phone call but it was very confusing to him. He really wants to go to New York to see all the tall buildings. It's interesting how I'm trying to get away from that and loving Guatemala when he just wants to go see what I just left behind. I guess a cynic would say we always want what we can't have but I believe it's that some of us appreciate all that is foreign to us.


Posted by nawaf 14:13 Archived in Guatemala Tagged educational Comments (0)

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