A retreat into Never Neverland. A place that is both majestic and in constant weather flux, Lake Atitlan made for a cool getaway into the steep mountain sides. We didn't need a stair master at our place since it was already naturally built into our hostel. We climbed hundreds of stairs everyday.
The lake waters continue to rise submerging older structures beneath her depths. It was very bizarre to witness. Along the shores, it had the appearance of guarding lost ancient civilizations.
We visited several areas around Lake Atitlan and searched for wildlife. Every morning a boat would come to pick us up from our pier and take us to the various spots around the lake.
|Taken at the Lake Atitlan Wildlife Refuge|
Storms would roll in and there were times it was dangerous to be out on that lake. Atitlan would appear calm and smooth until monsoon storms came crashing down all around us at various times of the day. The mists covered the lakes and everything changed quickly. One evening I was trapped out in the storm without a life vest. I clung to the rope as rain poured down on me. We watched as lightning struck the lake. There is nothing like this type of experience to make you realize how small and unimportant you are in the whole scheme of things.
And yet, life can be quite thrilling at times. This over packed boat of passengers was the last launch for the evening. Had we missed it, we would have waited until morning to head back to our hostel.
|Orange-billed Nightingale Thrush|
There are always unexpected twists while traveling around Mexico and Central America. Patience is the key word and remember that nothing is ever on time. They may say seven, but what they really mean to say is nine:) As a birder, I had to be okay giving up that control a bit while we explored on our own.
|Lake Atitlan at sunset|
Our searches were fun and we did find new birds almost everyday. Several birds had become common for me and I was able to label them on the spot.
Yet with these views, who cares!
I don't often enjoy drinking, but we had such amazing drinks in Guatemala! I hate the taste of beer and yet if you put a dark ale with spicy tomato juice, I'm happy! Micheladas. I missed them so much that when I got home, I made a few while writing several of these posts! So good....
There is a waterfall behind me and I was playing around with my cell phone. We were the only ones walking around the canopy of the rain forest. It was actually a fun walk around Reserva Atitlan.
And of course by our hostel, we had narrow paths that went around the lake. Some cities were safe to visit while others were out of the question. If you visit, ask your hotel, etc where it's safe to go. There are still people who are robbed on parts of these paths.
Deforestation continues around this area. It was my final trip here as I will never be returning back in this lifetime again. I hope the Mayans and others understand the need for conservation. It's what has brought millions of people here over the years. But the forests are diminishing by farmers cutting further and further into the mountain sides. I remember what I saw in 2006. So much has changed in 7 years.
Humans will paint their colorful birds on sides of building. But if they aren't careful, those images will be a faded memory of what was.
And I am reminded that I am getting older. All those straps around my body never used to be there. They are life support to help me exist in this type of climate. They contain water, anti-bug weaponry, money packs, a camera.......and yes, it did take its toll on me.
My final thoughts are below. As your host and Spanish instructor, here is a lesson I learned while on this trip;)
All my best. Until next time.......