Lake Atitlan - Day One

We visited my friend Fiddlin' Jack in Guatemala City after meeting at the airport and picking up the rental car. Played a few uke tunes and Jack accompanied on fiddle (of course) and on mandolin. Our jam went on for an hour and a half then we headed to a restaurant, Tre Fratelli, at a posh shopping mall near Jack's house. The food was good and we ate early enough to beat the Valentine's Day dinner rush.

I was tired from a long day of travel so we hit the sack early. My friends Bill and Merrie had a separate suite and bathroom. My room had a giant picture window looking out on the jungle surrounding Jack's place but it was dark and I was headed for the sack.

In the morning we got up early and headed out for the Lake. Bill had traveled the CA1, the road to El Salvador. A short way from downtown we stopped at an upscale shopping mall to eat breakfast and to hit the supermercado to buy a few things that aren't readily available in the village of Santa Catarina where Bill's house is. Food and coffee was great at the San Martin restaurant. The grocery store, Pais, is a WalMart subsidiary and was well-stocked with goodies you'd expect to buy at the market in the States. Here's a shot of the restaurant.

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Just so you know we're in Guatemala here's a shot of the parking lot with volcano in the background. Bill, Merrie, and our groceries are in the foreground.

The continuation of our 1.5 hour trip was eventful. Passing a construction zone on the 4-lane Interamerican Highway I felt the thump thump thump of a flat tire on the rental car. I pulled over just past the construction, well onto the shoulder. We emptied the trunk and Bill dug out the spare. Fortunately the spare was inflated and full size. Bill jumped in and started loosening the lug nuts while I placed the jack and started to crank it up. I won't belabor the details--we changed the flat, re-packed the trunk and were on our way again.

 Bill and Ivan at work changing the flat

Bill and Ivan at work changing the flat

We pressed on and made two more stops before reaching Santa Catarina. One, a roadside shop with a large inventory of clay pots. Bill drove a hard bargain and picked up three nice flower pots.

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The other stop was at an overlook (mirador) that's the first really good look at the Lake.

The rest of the day was unpacking the car, napping, visiting for a while with the neighbors Barry and Nanette, working on a few ukulele tunes, and relaxing with a sundowner margarita.

Bill has a number of ideas for sightseeing and cultural experiences. The trip is looking to be an epic one!