Posted by: janetwright2guatemala | 06/07/2011

Letting loose and making friends…

6 junio 2011- lunes

The arrival of new volunteers in country is siempre occasion for celebration! Por supuesto to draw them into the great variety that is our Guatemala Peace Corps family. One of our own, Sergio, is a true master at party planning. This past weekend, many of us flocked to the beautiful Lago Atitlan to enjoy a welcome party.

The intricate weavings (tejidos)

Although Panajachel is very much a tourist town, there’s a certain energy from all of its short-term and long-term guests from around the world. Yes, at times the street sellers of all ages can be rather pushy…and no, for the umpteenth time, I do not want a shoe shine! Love it when the shoe shine boys are so bothered by the state of my footwear, pointing out, “sucio…dirty”. My beloved black shoes do need a shine, but they return to their dirty state within seconds, so I’d rather save that money for a chocobanano (frozen banana covered in chocolate, yum!) A side note, while sitting at the park in Antigua, I was so harassed by the shoe shine boys that I put my sock feet on top of my shoes to hide the incriminating evidence…it did buy me some peace. Please understand that I truly am sympathetic to these young boys trying to make some money, sometimes they’re as young as 6yrs old….with their earnest faces and blackened hands, gaining only about 2-3 quetzales ($.30-.45) for their efforts. It’s just that my shoes just don’t need a daily pedicure.

Wild and wacky 80's

Anyway, onto the fiesta….the evening was a dance party with outfits from the 80’s. I actually called up a younger volunteer for a fashion consult, telling her, “You know, I lived through the 80’s but I don’t remember wearing particularly wacky clothes, so tell me what is your impression of this period.” Maternity was also part of my experience then but I sure wasn’t going to model those outfits! With a little web research, the general idea was bright colors, spandex, shoulder pads, big hair, and more…so I purchased my outfit for 6 quetzales or $.80 at the PACA (thrift shop). Silly fun for all, dancing and swaying to the tunes of that era. A Brazilian man danced with me and said he was in Guatemala with “Voluntarios sin Fronteras”…it seems that now everything is without borders! Never did quite understand his work, just snippets of “Bill Gates” and “$100 million”.

Best breakfast ever!

Late night dancing made it a struggle to get to breakfast, but when the spread includes: fresh pineapple and watermelon, bacon, scrambled eggs, AND banana pancakes, then it is incredibly worth it! Gracias again to Sergio! Some of us then loaded onto a boat for a lake tour to 2 villages: Santa Caterina and San Antonio. The villages around the lake include the names of the 12 disciples. As we chugged along, we spotted a range of modest to extravagant homes clinging to the hillsides, dreamily shopping for our own private vacation home. A brief time off the boat revealed a sleepy town eager for tourists. I absolutely love the headdresses of the Mayan women in this area! So regal.

Lago Atitlan= beautiful

Sunday bus service is more limited…and no, I did not want to be stranded on the Interamerican highway, so I jumped aboard the bus back to Solola and began my 3 ½ hr trek home which includes riding 4 separate camionetas (the beloved souped up American schoolbuses). Ahh…sweet memories and new Peace Corps friends were my reward.



  1. yes, beautiful lady. oh, you meant, beautiful lake, but I do see a beautiful lady. Janet, you take lovely photos. And particularly, you with those rosy cheeks from the 1980’s. I think, I’d prefer your look in the previous decade.

    Any older volunteers in the new group. Its always nice to find similarly aged compatriots.

    We’ve had 4 days of great weather, but its back to the rain tomorrow, so I think you found god’s acre there, a few miles south.

    compassionately twirling through life, Michael

  2. Gracias for the update, mamacita. Glad you’re having some fun! I’m working long days trying to wrap everything up, dreaming of sitting in a hammock on a beach somewhere. Te amo mucho and I found a Spanish class for this summer so I can talk to your Guatemalan friends when I get there!

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