Our new Family on the Shores of Lake Atitlan
San Pedro, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Today we begin Spanish school, and Rose has a much better handle of Spanish than me. Like everything in our relationship, this will be a big competition, so we will see if I'm able to keep up to her... The anxiety is already building!
Our homestay has meals at 7:30am, 12:30pm, and 7:00pm, and our Spanish classes are from 2:00-5:00pm, so we have to work around those hours for exploring the area. We had banana pancakes, with honey, for breakfast - not sure how traditional of meal this is, but delicious non the less - and then headed off to explore San Pedro. Walking near the lake is miserable due to the smell, which is apparently an anomaly. We walked throughout the town, which is somewhat complicated to get around because of the meandering streets and little pathways. Bright red, decked out, three wheeled tuc-tucs race around the streets looking for a fare, and the streets seem impossibly small for two tuc-tucs to pass each other, but somehow they do. San Pedro is perched on the side of a steep hill, which make the hills of San Francisco seem like flat lands in comparison. After wandering around, we went to an Israeli food place called Shanti Shanti, and had falafel. Weirdly, Israeli food is plentiful here and in Antigua. There is apparently a relatively large contingency of Jewish people who now live in Guatemala, after emigrating from Europe, post World War Two. The Falafel was very good, maybe even the best I've ever had... Definitely unexpected.
Following our mid morning snack, we hailed a tuc-tuc and negotiated a twenty minute tour of San Pedro. We went up to a lookout point, above the soccer pitch, and took in the scenery. Unfortunately it was very cloudy, so much of the beauty of the area is not visible. Lake Atitlan is very, very hyped up in travel blogs and the Lonely Planet book, so we had extremely high expectations. Both Rose and I have felt somewhat disappointed with scenery, which may be a result of the inclement weather (apparently a result of Hurricane Michael) and the algae bloom, or it might be because we have such profoundly beautiful lakes in Canada. However, San Pedro seems to have enough to offer to keep us captivated for a couple days; not sure how we are going to spend three weeks here…
We arrived at our first Spanish class excited. We were taken by our tutors to different areas, which was a bit of a surprise, as we had thought we would be doing the classes together. It was great to sit down with someone, with the intention of learning the language. It is something that I really want to do. That being said, it was a little embarrassing to be so un-knowledgeable about something. It turns out our Spanish tutors are following the same curriculum, so Rose and I are able to discuss the topics that we learn, as we go along, but more importantly, we are able to compete to see who can get the furthest through the curriculum in three weeks!!