We decided to have a day off before starting our respective schools. Yes, we decided to go to different schools and stay with different families, partly so that we didn't talk to each other all the time in English and also to send some time apart. We are now in our 9th month on the road and haven't spent more than an hour at a time apart from each other all these months. We wanted a bit of space and this seemed the best way of doing it. Jill had signed up with the San Pedro Spanish School, the biggest in town and got Lorenzo as her teacher, both of which were recommended by Kathy who we met in Oaxaca. I liked the idea of something smaller and signed up with the Flor del Maiz school and got José to try his patience out on me (and he has really needed it!). That night while at the Peneleu Hotel, my beloved expresso coffee pot was stolen out of Nancy's front pannier along with some tissues, from right outside the owners room behind a shut gate. Having told the owner he went on for a very long time about how that was impossible. 'Me thinks he doth complain too much'. So along with our identity that makes 2 things that have been taken from us. Having moved Nancy into a shed at Max and Johanna’s where I was going to stay for the next 2 weeks, we went with Chris and hired Kayaks to explore a bit of the lake. There are 3 Volcanoes around the lake. On the left Volcan Tolimar at 3158 meters in the middle Volcan Atitlan at 3537 meters and to the right towering over San Pedro is Volcan San Pedro at 2840 meters. At San Pablo, about 50 minutes paddle to the north, there is a jumping platform which Chris 'took the plunge' from. The dynamic duo in their banana boat that always wanted to turn left. We have really enjoyed our times with Chris, having met up with him at 4 different places on our way south, and wish him a safe and pleasant journey north.
Slept the night at the Peneleu Hotel, and at 0700 I walked over to my host family to have breakfast and then onto school which started at 0800 for 4 hours. My Spanish prior to listening to the iPod at Puerto Arista was learnt from Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns. Things like adiós amigo and vamos or from Manuel in Faulty Towers, K, and I only realised how much French I knew when I came in contact with Spanish, so my 2 weeks was going to be interesting. Writing this 10 days into the 2 weeks I realise that although I thought it wasn't going to be easy, I had no ides how short my short term memory is, and what a bad ear for sound I have. I'm told something and before I can repeat it I have forgotten it. I spend hours flipping through flip cards with words on them unable to remember what I saw and repeated a minute before. So the idea of a career change to be an interpreter will have to go on hold for a while!
Speeding across the lake to Panajachel On Saturday 5/2/11 we visited the market where there was more 'hand made' and 'natural dyed' things than we wanted to see. The idea that something that is 'made by hand' conjures up small quantity production, but here there were wholesalers that were selling things in bundles of 100, more shops selling alike things than there were tourists to buy them. All a bit overwhelming to somebody who doesn't like shopping. Jill however was in her element, bartering as only a giant can,, and brought a couple of tops, one from a lady who was hand weaving kneeling on the pavement. The lake rose over 2 meters last year, which has caused a lot of problems to waterfront properties, and the lake walk had been destroyed by waves which used to break onto the beach. The lifeguard hut is still manned for those who want to try the rather polluted waters. Wandering up to the old town we were unable to resist a look in the church which was rather nice in it's simplicity. On the way back to San Pedro our boat broke down and after wobbling around for about 10 minutes another boat came along side and took us onto our destination, leaving the skipper of the broken down boat floating in the middle of the lake.