Title: Paragliding anyone?
Location: Panajachel, Guatemala
When strapped to a complete stranger and peering over 2,000 cliff the last thing you want to hear is all the paragliding pilots arguing over whether the jump was safe with such high winds. My pilot made the decision for us and we were immediately swept straight up into a grey cloud. For the first few minutes of the flight, visibility was 2 feet and the winds whipped us to the point where I questioned how much control my pilot really had. Finally we dipped down below the cloud line and flew in and out of some of the low-lying mist. It was an absolutely incredible experience and there is no way to justifiably put the thrill into words.
Paragliding wasn't the only adventurous activity that made Panajachel a great time; I also went canyoning with a group of friends. Canyoning following the lakes shore was a very unique experience. We saw the women tha inhabit the indian villages around the lake washing their clothes and the children palying in the water. It makes you wonder about all the fun that they are having and why are you stuck in an office for most of the year.
Earlier last week I went to Livingston. Even though it was a beautiful beach with a stunning forest backdrop, the only real activity was to sit on the beach and watch all the hippies hunt for half-smoked cigarette butts like kids searching for little plastic eggs on Easter morning. It was great to relax and finish a book looking out over the Caribbean though.
It's official that I have horrible luck with buses. On my bus from Xela to La Mesilla, I was blessed to sit in the one seat that didn't recline. I figured it wouldn't be a problem until the guy in front of me reclined his seat to within 4 inches of my nose. Not too big a deal since it was only a 3 hour trip... yup, not too big a problem until the engine blew up and the entire transmission slammed into the front axle. I had no time to react and my nose was instantly splattered on the back of the seat. The blood started trickling and the little kid sitting across the aisle laughed at me for 10 straight minutes until he and his mother boarded another bus. What else could possibly happen on a bus during this trip?
After a hellish border crossing full of bribing corrupt officials and dealing with opportunistic taxi drivers, I made it to Chiapas, Mexico. The city is intereting and I have yet to decide how much time I will spend here. I will describe the city and my adventures here on my next update.
Tips for travelers to Guatemala: If you travel to the rural areas, make sure you have cash in the local currency (quetzales). In many cases, there is not even a bank to exchange money. Also take some Spanish immersion classes before you haead into this areas. It will be helpful!