June 8, 2006

Pondering in Panajachel
Panajachel, Guatemala

There's nothing of any cultural significance in Panajachel—I wonder if there ever was.

I think Pana is good for about three things: shopping, changing buses, and catching the (overpriced) ferry to one of Lake Atitlán's hillside towns. About all you can do with your days here is shop for trinkets or souvenirs—some of which are actually quite exquisite.

I read that this town sports one of Guatemala's most extensive handicraft markets (it's full of traditional clothing, jade, leather items, and wood carvings). Sigh… After over six months of traveling without buying a single trinket, I finally broke down and bought a little necklace.

I'm staying at this nice little guesthouse called Villa Lupita. The room here is honestly one of the most warm and cozy spots I've stayed in. Even though I'm in the middle of the city, it feels like I'm in a little Latin cabin in the woods. Sadly, it's about Q$10 (US$1.30) more than I want to spend right now, and will probably relocate to a less romantic spot that I sniffed out (Hospedaje Elí) tomorrow.

I get the greatest reactions when locals ask for my name, and are given something they can pronounce. "Craig" is much too hard for the Spanish tongue, so I've been using the rough Latin equivalent—Sergio (sehr-he-ohh). I like it.

I'm interested in continuing west to the commercial center of southwestern Guatemala, Quetzaltenango—simply called Xela (shay-lah) by most. Xela is Guatemala's second-largest city, and should provide a good base for a trip to a natural hot spring somewhere in the nearby mountains. After, I'll briskly move to back to the eastern side of the country and begin my 25-day descent through Honduras and Nicaragua. Yee-haw.



Craig | travelvice.com

June 9th, 2006


Deutschland rocked Costa Rica in round one, 4-2 — I'm excited.

It was crazy watching and listening to the World Cup broadcast here. The Spanish was dubbed over the German simultaneously… What I didn't understand in German I was kinda getting in Spanish (but the German was much easier for me to translate).

The bar I was in had plenty of people cheering for both teams, and I had a great time watching the match with a girl from Stuttgart. That was a pretty neat opening ceremony, too. I need to learn how to do that traditional German dance. I know my good friend Matt will arrange the lederhosen.


June 9th, 2006

"I know my good friend Matt will arrange the lederhosen…"

You just tell me when and where… =)

Time (Delta Force)

June 11th, 2006

The show's over my friend, be sure to tip your waitress.

Flew out of San Jose yesterday (wouldn't voice your German victory appreciation to loudly there) Arrived in Vancouver last night at 4 in the morning. Currently existing in that limbo state of wondering if it was all a dream.

Thank you for being a large part of what has been a life long memorable experience.

If ever there is anything you need out there, just let me know, like my own personal mass emails to others, that you may want to excerpt from.

Glad to see the words and pictures are still coming, and reassuring to hear that despite traveling woes, you're spirit is still intact.

Until the next big step out the door…

Time (Delta Force) Back In Vancouver, Canada.

Andy HoboTraveler.com

June 14th, 2006

Culturally Significant?

This is a place where many Vietnman draft dodgers went..?

Volcanoes, not culture.

What is culturally Guatemala significant is this, you can see many local Pueblos that come to Pana, you can tell them apart from their clothing or skirts and shirts. Most villages only have their own, however Pana has many coming to visit.

After that, just a great place to party, however Antigua is the biggest. Both totally suck for learning Spanish. Guatemala speaks a different language.


Craig | travelvice.com

June 14th, 2006

Very true Andy. I knew that Pana became a huge backpacker spot in the 60's, but didn't make the connection with the draft dodgers… interesting.

I also found it interesting that an indigenous dialect is still spoken (not Spanish) as the primary language in many of the villages around the lake.


June 21st, 2006

I have to disagree with Andy's statement that Guatemala is a bad place to learn spanish. In fact, it is probably the best place in the world, because the spanish is the most international of all the world's variations. In particular, they don't slur or drop the endings of words like Andalucians and most of Latin America, they don't use vosotros like the argentinians, they don't pronounce z like th like the castillians, they don't use a lot of slang like the Mexicans. It is true that many of the indigenous people don't speak spanish as their first language, but the teachers at the language schools all DO speak spanish as their first language, and in my experience, their's is the simplest and easiest to understand spanish for a native english speaker. Guatemalan spanish is sort of like the Midwest version of american english, which is probably the best for a foreigner to learn (as opposed to the southern or new england pronunciations).

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