The chicken bus to Panajachel was crazy and fun indeed. A swede can (and probably will) feel slightly molested on the chicken bus as the personal space that we swedes crave almost as much as oxygen itself is completely non existent here. There are butts and boobs sweating about in every square millimeter of the bus and if you stand up during the ride… well at least you will not fall because the further you go, the more people will be let in and you will most likely end up with your head in someones armpit whilst balancing a carton box with chickens on your right foot keeping yourself steady using a bag of cement with your left one as you sit on your backpack that’s already on top of someone else. Welcome to Guatemala.
You go to Lago Àticlan for two reasons; the lake itself set up in a beautiful scenery facing three volcanoes and the market. The food is not bad neither and I must say we have been very lucky in Guatemala with all allergies. People here are very helpful, warm and attentive and they take allergies very seriously. Above, a typical soft drink you get here; Rosa de Jamaica made of hibiscus flower tea, ice, and sugar. Good stuff!
The market was fun and colorful and we had a couple of nice days there. However, it’s sad to see children doing as much as they do here. This particular day was a day off school, so the kids were helping their parents at the market, but other days before school we witnessed young boys about five to seven years old polishing peoples shoes on the street on their way to school. They were carrying their books in their backpacks and their heavy wooden shoe polishing boxes in their hands with their names written on them in finger paint. There is a lot of development to be done here, and the country is still suffering from the consequences of civil war, corruption, and poverty. Independent churches lending credibility from the traditional church often come to save Guatemalan souls (what is so very wrong with worshiping the mountains and the Mayan gods I don’t know) and help to build schools and hospitals. Corruption thrives also there as there are lots money to be made, especially in Gods name. The latest missionaries we spoke to on a bumpy bus ride were more interested in pushing prices on coffee for exports to the US than helping anything or anyone, – Praise the lord. There are of course people here fighting for human rights. Unfortunately they often get threatened and scared off, or they simply ‘disappear’from time to time.