I believe we last left off in Antigua, recovering from our New Year’s celebrating. After a much needed day of rest, we decided to head off on the 2nd to Panajachel where we would catch the boat ride across Lake Atitlan to San Pedro. However, the seemingly simple task of getting on a shuttle to Panajachel turned into a very long day. Little did we know there were many more of these to come.
The hostel owners were supposed to have booked the shuttle to Panajachel for 12:30pm. Because of this, Brian and I spent most of the morning preparing for take-off, dreading the mountainous ride while nursing our current illnesses to a manageable level – I with my slight ear/sinus infection, and Brian with his intestinal distress. We waited and waited, and made many phone calls, until we found out the shuttle was set for 4pm! With this new schedule, I figured we’d probably not be able to take the ferry from Pana when we got there, but decided to take the chance and go.
So after wasting a complete day just waiting for the shuttle, we continued on our journey through dark and windy mountains. I didn’t think twice about the fallen branches and such that lay in the middle of the road at the time – that is until the driver asked us where we wanted dropped off at and all I could see was a pitch black street with people walking up and down.
“This can’t be it,” I said to myself.
I stalled. I was definitely sketched out by the lightless town. Shopkeepers were trying to run their stores by candlelight. How were we ever going to find a place to sleep that night with no lights, especially since the driver confirmed the boats were no longer running at that time. The driver finally had enough of my broken Spanish and basically kicked us out of the van onto the dark, crowded Panajachel streets, loaded up with our backpacks and only one mini-flashlight. We started walking.
Luckily, my spot-the-American game skills pulled us through this tough one. I saw these two guys walking up the street and just knew they spoke English, and when that was confirmed as they walked past with the sounds of English words fluttering about, I flagged them down and asked if they knew of a good hotel or hostel. Well give one point to our team because they took us to their hotel and even bargained a decent price for it on our behalf. Whew.
The two Americans let us know that the power had been off all day there, and also that the unusually strong winds bringing in unseasonably cold air kept the boats from operating since the morning. It felt like Hell. At dinner (yes, we did find restaurants open and operating by candlelight) I just kept thinking about how sketchy the food seems already, but now with the idea of no refrigeration the entire day, Brian and I decided to go vegetarian. Unfortunately, yet again, I was let down because my pasta sauce was full of meat that I desperately tried to pick around. After choking down what we could, we fell asleep at the hotel to the sounds of the tropical storm force winds pounding corrugated siding and rooftops in the darkness.
Morning came and so we made our way to the docks to hop a boat and get across the lake to San Pedro since we at least had a home ready and waiting for us there. We both knew the ride was overpriced, but we couldn’t have cared less because we just wanted to leave Pana. During the boat ride, we heard a British family mention that the blackout was on a national level, bringing chaos to Guatemala City especially. I’m not sure how that made us feel – better or worse – about the current situation. However, we couldn’t dwell on that thought long since we had more immediate concerns, namely the fact that our little boat was getting rocked kind of fiercely by the waves. Imagine our shock when we got to San Pedro and found out that NO OTHER BOATS WERE GOING OUT TODAY BECAUSE OF THE CHOPPY WATERS!
Eventually, we made it to our place at the language school and got settled as best we could. The power would flicker on for a little bit at times, but then go out just as you were eating dinner or finishing a chapter in a book. It was a rough couple of days. We didn’t shower because there was no hot water and it was so cold out. Then yesterday around 1pm, the lights turned on and have basically stayed on since. Brian and I ran for the showers. When the lights remained on through the evening, we figured we were back in business.
All seemed well until after dinner at D’NOZ when something else completely crazy and unexpected occurred…