Santiago Lake Atitlan Guatemala – culture and tradition
We woke in the serenity of the beautiful gardens of Bambu Hotel, on the shore of Lake Atitlan. Surrounded by volcanoes, and green rolling hills with the mirror stillness of the lake in front. As I sat out with my morning coffee, I felt the peace of God all around me. I watched several locals paddle their way across the lake, probably off to work. I sit and enjoy the serenity, while my son runs around and takes a few photos in the awesome grounds.
Here in Santiago you will find in many ways time has stood still.
She tells me it is a fruit, and it is spiky like a kiwi fruit. As I try it, it tastes like a warm – yes warm, squishy watery potato, and not a fruit. Turns out it is vegetable. They love it as I pull faces and think it is strange, especially as I was expecting something sweet.
I give them some money for the experience and we head up to a vantage point that looks out across the central square and the streets filled with sellers and buyers.
If you go to Antigua, try to head upstairs and not just stick to the street. Here you will find little local sellers with hardware, clothing, toiletries and other traditional items for sale at a fraction of the cost.
We head downstairs again and wander over toward the church. On the way we see a group if ladies grabbing some bargain fruit.
I love the spices and dried peppers they sell – wonderful colours and aromas.
We end up getting side-tracked in the “Central Park” or town square.
Locals sell second-hand clothes spread out on cloth. Men in traditional clothing including the hat and shorts with the belt sashed around their waist sit and talk and pass the day.
Kids play basketball amongst the avocado sellers. Oh so many avocados! Guacamole heaven 🙂
As we leave the square there is a few steps leading to the courtyard of the church.
In the courtyard locals start to sell there locally made handicrafts and several stop us.
We enter via the courtyard and discover they are making floral carpets.
Inside the church the statues are catholic, but they wear the scarves of the Mayan faith.
At the door of the church were beggars.
Explorason was drawn to a blind man and wanted to photograph his sign.
My son became upset when the blind man thought he was a different person, as he took so long to take a photo. We donated to a few of the beggars, as a big part of our trip is helping the needy, but then we noticed many more beggars arriving and we had to stop.
We then needed a bathroom, and we found the best way is to use a restaurant. They are usually cleaner than public baños, and there is no charge. So we sat down and enjoyed the best nachos made with local warm crunchy corn chips – for $1.50. Fresh guacamole is always served, as avocados are sold by the bag full here, and are a main produce.
Now we have filled our bellies, it is time for me to fabric shop.
I’m buying a few of the poncho style blouses to make into large cushions like this.
If you look closely, the stitching is amazing.
We bought this bird stitched wall hanging.
I was going to turn it into a cushion – I have no idea now.
It is so nicely made and was about $20 and I wash I had bought more.
I love the photo of Explorason just hanging out on the corner.
Life is relaxed here.
As I wander around the streets after this, we find our ‘positive ladies’ from our hotel all buying in the street.
We find a great store selling art, and I buy a bright painting. I have her remove it from the wood frame and roll it in a tube for transport.
We join them for a tea break and all laugh and show our purchases.
We stay on and buy many of the beaded ornaments the kids sell. I love how he sells his wares. His hat is covered. His family make these and they sell from $1. Hours of work.
We buy a lovely stitched cloth / top from one lady and I find the ladies in town are cheaper than ChiChi market.
Soon I had about 1 dozen to purchase. One lady dashes off to fix a neckline. I want to make these into cushions eventually and 50 Quetzales in little more than $6 AU. Soon the bags are bursting.
When we get back to Bambu Hotel I lie them all out on the floor. Wow – I have so many! I’m thrilled.
The sun sets over the lake and we have the most amazing dinner – we start out with black taco chips and a great dip. It is awesome, and made fresh by the locals.
We sit outside overlooking the lake – we really have enjoyed our time here.