Following the gringo trail, we arrived in San Pedro on Lake Atitlan looking forward to another week of intensive spanish lessons. It was the place that Aldous Huxley, one of my favourite authors, described as “really too much of a good thing” so I had to visit.
When we got there, there was a mist surrounding the lake and the volcanos around it, making it feel mysterious and beautiful, but we were so tired from the trip there and we hadn’t booked a place to stay, so we found a nearby cafe to base ourselves while planned our next steps. We finally found a nice little hotel with hot water and A/C to stay for one night and went out for some food. San Pedro is full of travellers - we saw more than we saw local people and it reminded me again that what we were doing wasn’t particularly unique, but it was for us and that was ok.
The next day, after a big breakfast, we went to our spanish school to work out what we’d do - I’d emailed them a few times previously and they hadn’t gotten back to me which was why we had had to find our own accommodation for the previous evening. Turned out we couldn’t do a homestay unless it was for seven days, and so we decided to reconsider whether we’d take lessons at all that week. That, plus our friend Adam who’d come with us from Antigua, had heard about an electronic music festival near Guatemala City - literally called Electronic Music Festival - which seemed too tempting an adventure to pass up as it was so close. So our plans changed again and what was to be a week long stay in San Pedro because a three night stay. We used the time kayaking and eating, even going to a full moon party, which we found via a midnight boat ride to a deserted patch of land where lots of neon-clad gringos were dancing to loud trance.
By that point, Adam had assembled a motley crew of fellow travellers to come with us to the music festival in a chartered shuttle. We had three englishmen, three israelis, one lebanese, an american and a spaniard with us and together we went, listening to salsa music throughout the four hour trip by minibus and only stopping to buy tents, litres of water, some drinks and snacks as our supplies.
As for the festival, it was fun: we spent the nights dancing to Cazzette, Fat Boy Slim, Paul Van Dyke and Alesso, amongst others, and spent the days trying to hide from the scorching heat. Our team were some of the only few travellers there so it was great to have the experience of going to a genuinely local music festival. With international artists. There weren’t any showers, just a broken water pump which our fellow festival goers would use to bathe - we weren’t quite so adventurous and just used it for cleaning our legs and arms: thank god for wet ones.
After two solid days of dancing, we went to Guatemala City for our final day in Guatemala, staying at the first hotel we could find where we could all get separate rooms. After two nights camping, it was such a sweet relief to have our own space and own shower properly. Ah the things you miss.
From there, we all went our separate ways: Adam to Belize, Dave stayed another night and Anita and I made our way by luxury bus - complete with food, wifi, english movies, pillows and blankets - to San Salvador… More on that later..