Here’s where our guide, Carlos, is special. We were finished with the Solola market at lunch time and theoretically had the rest of the day on our own to lounge by the pool or the lake or to do more shopping. And Carlos could have gone off for a nap or an afternoon with his friends. Instead, he asked how many of us would like to chip in to hire a boat to see a real, working local village on the lake. All 12 raised their hands and we chipped in to hire a boat for another special adventure.
It was windy, so the lake gets a bit of of agita. I think it’s fortuitous since we can’t go straight across to the tourist-oriented town people usually go to for shopping. Instead we follow the shore for half an hour toward the much quieter San Antonio Palapo. The houses and boutique hotels along the way are pretty impressive.
A few of them are only reachable by helicopter and cost thousands of dollars a night.
We disembark at San Antonio and start walking this really picturesque town. We see a man in the local dress (almost a uniform) of a blouse and skirt. Take a look at the boy in front of him. He’s kicking a soccer ball right at the edge of a 20 foot drop to the lake. I’m worried about what happens if the ball goes over?
We’ll of course it does…and he just jumps down after it. He casually snatches it from the water and runs back up the rocky hill to start the process over. Do you let your kid kick a soccer ball next to a cliff that drops off to the sea?
We climb an uphill alley and discover the local pottery; San Antonio Ceramica. The studios are jam-packed with green-ware ready for glazing and firing. Marsha is impressed by the quality of the thrown and molded ware.
Yes, this is their retail shop. We have to be careful to not step on or fall over the work. It’s very beautiful and skillfully made stuff. We negotiate (but not much…it’s so inexpensive) for a few pieces to add to our collections. Everyone is happy.
On the way out we catch a glimpse of one of the artisans doing some glazing.
Around the next corner we come across a family doing some weaving. We can’t believe the prices…so low for all the work. We know we have to bargain, but fight the urge to pay more than the asking prices. We walk away with some beautiful, colorful woven pieces.
We take a very leisurely stroll around the town. Two women in the local dress. Each town does have its own “dress code”. Blue is the color here.
A few of the houses are constructed in an adobe-like fashion. Just a bamboo frame with dried mud and a tin roof. I guess it works here.
The kids are beautiful…and friendly.
Marsha with one of the local hawkers with a volcano in the background. She sticks with us from arrival to departure. Carlos says she is a pain in the neck. We find her beautiful, charming and a true entrepreneur. She eventually sells everyone something.
Later we come across a group doing some traditional, labor-intensive back-strap looming. It takes weeks to make some of their garments.
Showing off some of the beautiful purchases on the way back. A Special day.
The sun sets over Atitlan and it’s volcanoes. Dinner, wine, and a rest before setting off for Antigua tomorrow.