Quick update today readers.
After the gruelling voyage from Belize, it was most certainly all worth it. I arrived in Guatemala City and immediately got a shuttle to Antigua. It was late at night and I had no place to stay but met an Australian who was originally from Melbourne and his son on the shuttle. Since I lived in Melbourne for a time in the ’90’s, we struck up a conversation and long story short, he recommended the posada (i.e. guest house) where he was staying.
Great place. It was a beautiful old Spanish colonial building with a central courtyard. All the amenities I needed including wifi so all was good. In the morning I walked around Antigua a bit. Wow! I knew from my research that the place was beautiful but words really can’t do it justice. It’s a stunning town.
Back at the posada, I met a guy from Canada. From Halifax to be exact… go figure… small world. He’s been living down here 9 months a year for the last several years, working primarily in web design. Anyway, it was a fortuitous meeting because he gave me the inside scoop on the area; the do’s and don’ts; the scams to beware of, etc. He also helped me buy my own cell phone down here so I have a local Guatemalan number. Total price… $30CAD and that comes with a $25 airtime credit. yes… $5 for the phone basically. We are SO getting screwed in Canada on cellular!
I still had to make it to my rental house on Lago de Atitlan, so I got a shuttle to Panajachel around midday. This was like the dreaded shuttle from Belize but was only just full, and not stuffed like a clown car this time. Plus the climate here in the highlands is nothing like the sweltering jungle of the Peten area around Flores. So, not the most comfortable ride ever, but certainly not that big a deal.
The drive was through the mountains, higher up into the highlands. Lots of switchback and hairpin turns but beautiful landscape. Oh yes, and the cost for the 3 hour shuttle ride: $10.
On board I met an American, who lives in London and was traveling. When I asked what he did for a living, he said he worked on app development and was a writer. Small world indeed.
Jaibalito is a small village of about 850 indigenous subsistence Mayans and a handful of ex-pats. I met Pedro and Maria, the caretakers of my rental house and got settled in.
More later. In short, this place is heaven.