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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Interlude III: Send Liquor, Guns and Germans

PANAJACHEL–Years ago I was staying at a small hotel surrounded by jungle on a tributary of the Rio Dulce in Guatemala. The night was heavy with humidity, isolation and the smell of decaying vegetation. We sat in a small electric island surrounded by wet forest. There was an older German man who was very drunk. […]

F.A. Mitchell-Hedges describes Lake Atitlan

From “Land of Wonder and Fear”   by F.A. Mitchell-Hedges, The Century Company, 1931. Page 113-114. “I shall never forget the next morning. Five thousand one hundred and fifty feet above sea-level lay Lake Atitlan, seventeen miles long, without a ripple, green-blue in colour, and completely surrounded by gigantic mountains. Rising sheer from the edge […]

Up on the Mountain, Looking for gods

2 March 2011 SAN JORGE, LAKE ATITLAN, GUATEMALA—As you travel the steep road between Solola on the rim of Atilan’s caldera to Panajachel on its shore, you pass above the town of San Jorge. You look down, a thousand feet or so, into the center of the pueblo, over its houses and into the square […]

Interlude II: Balto the Wonder Dog

SANTA CRUZ LA LAGUNA–The trail between Santa Cruz, Jaibalito, Tzununa and San Marcos is a fairly hard and spectacular trek. It is also the site of numerous robberies. The owners of La Iguana Perdida hostal have always had dogs, and good dogs at that, protective of guests, regulars and staff, unwelcoming to everyone else. But […]

Atitlan Blues: Part II

PANAJACHEL, LAKE ATITLAN, GUATEMALA—I have never much cared for Panajachel, or “Pana” as it is called for simplicity and a cool, in-the-know factor. It is growing on me, however. For one thing it is far larger than I had thought and has tranquil areas removed from the swirl and dance of its downtown. Pana is […]

Atitlan Blues

SANTA CRUZ LA LAGUNA, GUATEMALA—The water has risen by three meters. The docks around Lake Atitlan, in the Guatemalan Highlands, are awash. Patios and staircases and beaches are underwater. They say the average rainfall is around 50 inches and last year saw 75 inches. The lake has no outlet.  There are slippery boardwalks where once […]