Lanquin, GuatemalaFebruary 12, 2017 in Guatemala
I finished the last entry in the van on the way to Lanquin, but I didn't predict the drama that would unfold in the later stages of our journey. On one of the windy roads through the back country, a motorcyclist had collided with a car and the result was fatal. This caused a huge pile up of traffic and pedestrians, who literally flooded out of the forest and streamed up the road in their hundreds. Even our driver pulled over and hurried to investigate the scene. It was so sad to hear villagers bawling on the roadside, a wary reminder that this crazy driving can have consequences.
Nobody had any intent on clearing the road, so we had to hunt for an alternate route. We backed out of the crowds and found ourselves bumping down a narrow single lane gravel road that was undoubtedly 4WD territory. The bums ached and the journey length blew out but the scenery was excellent! Even the local kids would run to the roadside to watch the gringos whom they might never have seen before. Somewhat expectedly, our comrades in convoy took a hit to their front axle and damaged their brakes (a little worrying!). Our drivers promptly took the wheel off and began banging away at various parts of the disk. They appeared to have some idea as to what they were doing, but when the van pulled out, it squealed like a girl in a ghosttown, much to our amusement and the other passengers fear, I'm sure.
We didn't arrive in Lanquin until after dark, blowing out the journey to well over nine hours. We were greeted by an aggressive mob, yelling at us and questioning our accommodations. The journey wasn't quite yet over. Our final stretch was in a 4x4 buggy up the steep gravel roads to Zephyr Lodge. It was impressively located atop a ridge, with views up and down the valley and over the river, dramatically emphasised with and infinity pool and a jacuzzi. On point. Good recommendation Fif! We were definitely overdue a beer and a good feed.
We also hit our coolest temperature since Chicago, I'm not sure what it was but it might have snuck under 20°C for a moment. At some point I might have even seen a shiver. It won't be the last, I can guarantee it. In the dorms, the boys drew the triple bunk, reminiscent of school camps, and brought maturity levels to match. Are you surprised?
Daybreak revealed the true beauty of the valley, and the rising sun packed some serious heat. We were in no hurry to leave the comforts of our new abode, so lazed around the pool until the early afternoon.
For lunch we trekked back to Lanquin for a dirty chicken and rice and explored the tiny cobbled/gravel streets of the village. Gravity led us through some back streets and muddy paths to the rivers edge, where we stumbled upon an unsuspecting family washing in the river, who appeared embarrassed about the situation. Following the bank downstream, we found a wee eddy and clambered in for an ice cold swim. An attempted down river drift ended in nothing but blood and bruises, a result of a swift current and a sharp bottom. Foolish boys. Our shinanigans rapidly became the spectacle of a local family who witnessed the entire ordeal, staring unashamedly in absolute silence. I think the main attraction was Cat, based on her height or amount of skin showing - a distinction none of us were able to make.
Aside from this excursion, and a few jogs from Cat and the boys we spent the majority of time at the hostel. Which meant we ate and drank at tourist prices which was frustrating because it was nearly impossible to avoid, given the difficulty of getting to and from town. Nonetheless it was extremely convenient, relaxing and stress free - no complaints from me (for once!!)
Next stop: Antigua.Read more