After a week of Spanish classes in Xela, we get back on our motorcycles and explore Guatemala a bit more. Pananjachel is about an hour and a half outside of Xela, on a very entertaining twisty road up and through the mountains of the highlands.
Misty mountainside - temperatures got quite cold, dipping to single digits!
Passing by many fields covering the landscape of the Guatemalan Highlands
Cheers for the bling on this Chicken Bus!
Winner, Winner, Chicken (bus) Dinner!
We got a bit lost in Pana, looking for the hostel that the the folks in Xela recommended. It was quite a claustrophic adventure navigating the many tiny alleyways off the main Calle Santander, some of them small enough to only fit a Tuk Tuk or motorcycle - traffic has to wait at either end of the street until one vehicle has made it through!
Looking for our hostel
Uh oh, dead end. Believe or not, my 12GS did a 3-point turn to get out! No, actually, it was a 12-point turn...
Neda gets some helpful directions
Finally, we found our hostel and the parking lot is narrower than the streets!
The hostel employs a colourful security guard that yells out "Hola!" whenever anyone gets close to our bikes
Vendors selling clothing off Calle Santander, Panajachel's main street
Panajachel is mainly known for its street vendors and markets, and is a popular place to launch trips across Lake Atitlan to other locations, like San Pedro. We are only here for four days, so we just hang around town, walking around the stalls and sampling some of the delicious food.
Hanging out with Ling, the owner of Chinitas
While we were in Panajachel, Guatemala, we ate dinner at a fantastic Malaysian restaurant. The owner came out to greet us and was surprised and delighted to find out I was Malaysian as well. Free dessert for the Malaysian Customer of the Day -- cause there are so many that come in every single day... :)
Surrounded by volcanoes, Lake Atitlan is the deepest lake in Central America
The people walking around here are a curious mix of indigenous Maya vendors, typical gringo tourists and hippie residents that migrated here in the 60s. They left in droves after war broke out, but repopulated again in the mid-90s. In Xela, we talked with our teachers and they remembered the civil war vividly, about how families were torn apart, sons of the villagers drafted by the military to kill their own townspeople or be killed themselves. It was such a sad history that is still remembered by anyone over the age of 30.
Tuk Tuks drafting through the streets of Panajachel
Hey, it's the same Chicken Bus we saw on the road to Pana!
Trying to find a nice wrap to go with his shoes
Getting my finger chewed on by a cute puppy
Neda does some chain maintenance with a little help from Ashley Heins---
Our hostel has a kitchen, so Neda whipped us up a great salad and we ate with our bikes