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*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

To Atitlán

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Flush with excitement for all we had seen of the Palm Sunday events in Antigua, we settled back into the Land Cruiser for a couple hours of driving to get to picturesque Lake Atitlán, where we would have use of their friends’ gorgeous old lake house for a few days. DSCN2988eMarco decided it would make most sense to eat lunch before getting too far down the road, knowing the Restaurante El Mirador would again be a convenient option. That was at the same La Reunion Golf Resort where he took me for breakfast on our first day in Guatemala.

We had hoped to see a good view of volcanoes that first day, but the sky was thick with hazy clouds. Now on our second visit, we were experiencing a thunderstorm. In fact, with the lack of walls enclosing the seating areas, the sound of one crack was startling enough that Cyndie let out an involuntary scream. She was immediately embarrassed by her outburst and apologized profusely. I don’t believe many people noticed. Even though Cyndie was the only person to react out loud, I think everyone else experienced a bit of a silent scream inside their own heads.

Needless to say, there wasn’t much in the way of volcano views that day, either.

DSCN3158eMy being in vacation mode had me regularly losing track of time or what day it was, but after the spectacle of the Palm Sunday procession just a short time earlier, I wasn’t surprised to see the restaurant was serving a fancy looking brunch. I didn’t get around to taking pictures until I had selected desserts that looked too fine to be eaten. I liked the design that looks like a treble clef enough that it made me think of pulling out the camera.

Marco told us that it was uncharacteristically early for their rainy season to be starting, but our drive ended up involved in epic amounts of rainfall. Being seated in the car kept me from pulling out my camera to capture the drama of that afternoon, but it was probably too dark for pictures anyway.

I went so far as to make some ridiculous statement about how dark clouds always looks worse in the distance. When you eventually arrive to actual storm clouds that may have looked so ominous at a distance, they never seem nearly as dark. It didn’t take long at all for this instance to totally demonstrate the folly of my point. It just kept getting darker and darker.

Then it rained harder and harder. Unbelievable amounts of water came down as Marco heroically pushed the Toyota to proceed up the mountain road. Visibility on the windshield went from bad, to “clear enough we could see how bad.” Rain was coming down in multiple inch-per-hour rates. Runoff was beginning to become rivers which overflowed the ditches of the switchback road.

There were a few spots where it looked like a gamble to drive through, and in one place, the gushing water in a ditch was hitting an obstruction and shooting straight up into the air. Marco handled it all with a calm composure and successfully steered through the worst of it and over the mountain to the other side where the rain calmed down considerably.

When we got to the house there was a sense of relief. Then we spotted a few places where the roof leaked. It only extended the drama a tiny bit. The weather began to improve almost immediately such that we didn’t experience any further problems with leaks or floods.

DSCN3160eWe walked a short distance down to a restaurant at Posada de Santiago where Jose was quick to point out they had a guitar that was available for guests and customers to play.

We celebrated the end of our incredible 4th day with a fine meal in a very comfortable setting. Our pace would slow down a little bit now, which was well deserved, after the incredible adventures we enjoyed that Sunday. We turned in at a decent hour, and even though it was our 3rd bed in as many days, I slept wonderfully that night.

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Written by johnwhays

April 17, 2015 at 6:00 am

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