The Road to Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan and San Paulo volcanoWent up to Lake Atitlan, Guatemala (north of Antigua a few hours) to check out the area and do a couple of high-altitude dives in a volcanic lake. It didn’t start off well. I had just ordered a sandwich for the road from my hostel when the shuttle driver showed up, 15 minutes early. Things happen in their own good time down here and the glares the driver was shooting my way were doing absolutely nothing to speed up the sandwich preparation. Finally, ten looooong minutes later, we were on our way.

I naively thought that was the end of it, but no, not quite. About an hour later, I was settled into my seat in the back of the shuttle, listening to music on my phone and had just started munching happily away when I was signaled by the nice couple sitting next to me to take out my ear buds. Apparently, the bus driver had been trying to penetrate my wall of sound to tell me that there was no eating on his shuttle. Oh, for the love of… Seriously? It’s Guatemala! The bugs here eat small game, not sandwich crumbs. It was gonna be a long ride.

I put the sandwich back in my pack and stared out the window, stewing over the injustice of it all until the bus came to a standstill in the mountains. They were doing roadwork and all traffic had been stopped about 5 minutes ahead. At this point, I’m sure the driver and I had reached the same conclusion – if I had just gotten in the damn shuttle when he came to pick me up, we wouldn’t be stuck in this mess. OK, that was my bad. But on the bright side, now I had plenty of time to get out, cop a squat on the shoulder of the road and eat my sandwich.

Half an hour later, traffic started moving again. Got back on the bus and managed to get through the rest of the trip without further annoying the driver, at least as far as I know. I think he still got in one last shot, though. When we arrived in Panajachel, I climbed out, grabbed my bags and asked the nice couple next to me for directions to the pier. They told me it was 10 minutes back the way we had come. Well played, sir, well played.

Fortunately, the pier wasn’t hard to find. Just walk downhill and stop when your feet get wet. There are several communities that ring Lake Atitlan, including Santa Cruz where I was going to dive, and the only way to reach them is via ferry. This was mine.
TitanicTaking a cue from history, I elected to ride topside rather than with the huddled masses yearning to breath free in steerage. I forgot to take a selfie, but I imagine I looked a lot like this as we pulled into Santa Cruz…

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