Guatemala 7/3/2014 - 7/8/2014

Saturday 7/5/2014 - Lake Atitlan, Discotheque

We woke up around 8 a.m. on Saturday and went downstairs at around 9 o'clock. We had fresh fruit and barley tea for breakfast. We played foosball with the kids. We gave them shirts shirts that we had brought for them, and we distributed Tic Tacs (Aracely and Eddy's favorite!) to them as well as to cousin Josue.

Craig took a shower and we watched the cute "Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Rescue" on TV. We ate lunch of black beans, fresh home-made guacamole, toasted tortilla chips, fresh tortillas, veggies, and fresh lemonade. The food was always so fresh and delicious. It was a hot day and it was a nice refreshing meal.

After lunch, we walked down to the lake with Paulina, Aracely, and Eddy. The kids wanted to swim. Lake Atitlan is a gorgeous crater lake ringed with volcanoes, which brings lots of international and local tourists to the area. The water level was very high - several feet higher than normal. Sometimes because of the movement of fault lines, the lake can't drain properly (there is no real water outlet; it all seeps underground). The beaches where we usually swim were under water. So we went to the shallow water near the boat docks. It wasn't a great place to spend a large amount of time swimming, but at least the kids could cool off.

I went in the water with the kids while Craig and Paulina sat on a cement wall and enjoyed the view from dry land. Aracely has learned to swim well (her school gives them swimming lessons in the local hotel pools) and kept swimming from the dock over to me. I was in the water up to my waist. It was a hot, sunny day, and the water was refreshing.

We met an El Salvadorean man who was training for a triathlon in Cuba. He says this is the coolest water in Central America, so he came to try out his wet suit. He had swam over 2 km while his girlfriend rode along in an accompanying boat. He said that he was testing how much his lungs compress in the cool water and with his tight wetsuit. They were very friendly, and we enjoyed chatting with them.

There was a nice stage set up on a new dock, and it looked ready for an outdoor concert with a gorgeous view. Paulina asked a woman when the concert was, and she was told that there was no concert today due to the World Cup. These people sure do take it seriously, even when their own country isn't a contender.

On the walk home we stopped for ice cream at a food court which was packed with people watching the game on a large flat-screen TV - Costa Rica vs. Netherlands. The whole crowd was really into it, and it was amusing to watch. Aracely suggested getting frozen yogurt at a little stand called Chooghurt. Craig and I got mora (blackberry) frozen yogurts on a stick, dipped in chocolate. I had mine also dipped in coconut. Eddy had a three colored yoghurt, and Aracely had a blue one which turned her entire mouth bright blue.

We came home and played Monsters University "Left Center Right" dice game with Eddy, Aracely, and Josue. After a while, when Eddy and Aracely lost interest, Josue played with Craig and me. He was very lucky and won 4 times!

Humberto's nephew Victor arrived with his wife Rosa and their daughter Neli. They brought a nice bottle of Chilean merlot for me, knowing that I can't drink the Brahva beer that the rest of the family would drink. Victor's brother Juan Carlos arrived with his wife Yolanda and kids Junior and Fatima. Junior is so big now that it is hard to believe that he is only 13! They came bearing XL Rum and orange juice. Everyone is always so thoughtful! We had snacks and the kids played foosball in Aracely and Eddy's room. Juan Carlos hooked his phone up to a pair of speakers and played dj.

For dinner, we had chicken, beets, sweet grilled onions, and rice. The drinks flowed freely and so did the conversation. After the rum was gone, they had Brahva beer and I had the wine, which was very good. We showed everyone the video we had made of Paola's quinceañera from January. Afterwards we caught Juan Carlos whistling the Tom Waits soundtrack.

Paulina wanted to go to the discotheque, one of the adults' favorite Saturday night activities. We were certainly up for going out. We told them if for some reason Craig couldn't handle it (whether it was too hot or if he had to stand up for too long), that we knew our way home and that they should continue dancing.

Rosa and Victor had to work the next day, so they didn't come with us. We took tuk-tuks to the little night club district on Calle Principal. We went into El Aleph, the disco we had gone to last year. It was hopping with people! But it was hot and very crowded with no place for Craig to sit, so they insisted on trying someplace else.

We went right next door to Chapiteau. It had a sort of creepy circus vibe (there was a female clown marionette seated on a trapeze suspended from the ceiling) but the air conditioning felt comfortable, the music seemed less loud, and it was less crowded. All in all I much preferred this club. Humberto got Craig a Gallo and me a Coke (I was already pretty buzzed from the rum and wine) and we sat while the two couples danced. I took some funky pictures and we enjoyed people watching. Humberto and Paulina invited me to dance, and I gladly joined them. I always enjoy dancing, and I liked the atmosphere here. I found the dance music to be pleasant enough, including a beat-driven cover of La Bamba.

At 1:00 a.m., they started to play Bob Marley to calm people down as they closed the place. Humberto offered us a tuk-tuk home, but Craig was feeling good so we said we'd rather walk. We stopped at a food stand on Calle Santander and got cheveres - big hot dogs slathered in ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, onions, and picante. They really hit the spot after a late night of drinking and dancing. Street food is always wonderful that late at night! We sat at a table on the roadside, enjoying our cheveres and drinking Dorada Ice beer (except for me, who had tamarind soda.)

We happily walked home with full bellies, arriving at around 2 a.m. After writing in the journal, I went to sleep at 2:30.


Aracely swims to Steph in Lake Atitlan

Aracely swims to Steph in Lake Atitlan

Paulina, Aracely, and Eddy at Lake Atitlan

Paulina, Aracely, and Eddy at Lake Atitlan

Steph ready to go to the disco

Steph ready to go to the disco

Chapiteau Discotheque

Chapiteau Discotheque

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