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  • Day22

    Santiago Atitlán

    December 8, 2013 in Guatemala ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Lake Atitlan is one of the most beautiful and memorable places I have visited. For two weeks I explored over half of the lakeside towns, criss-crossing the expanse of water in boat taxis that only once ran out of gas, and were very often over-crowded.

    There is a noticeable population of Americans living near the lake, and the small blond hair, blue eyed children always wore their life jackets, while the young guatemalans hung onto their mothers, sometimes in twos or threes.

    On afternoon with nothing planned I decided to go chasing after the devil in Santiago. I had already chain smoked cigarettes and counted my blessings with Maximon, and I now sought the devil himself. I had heard his effigy would be burning that night in Santiago.

    I called a friend of a newly met friend and we made plans in spanish (not my skillset) for me to visit him so that we could watch the devil burn. There was activity in the main square when I arrived, mobs of people gathering, and we made our way toward a group of masked men coming out of a building.

    I was a day late, I realized at that moment, studying the masks of cartoon-like animals that marched past us to the basketball court. Imagine gathering up all the unknown mascots in Disney Land and watching them dance like they were auditioning for Katy Perry's halftime show. (Left shark may have originally been a part of this group). This is what we stumbled upon, while chasing after the devil.

    We left the town's center before the dancing ended, following another friend of my even more recently met friend through side streets and back alleys, now seeking the virgin mary, I was told. It was her day now, and not the devils. An eight piece brass band blared out of a room where only ten people could sit comfortably, as men who may not drink a drop of alcohol any other time of year, slurred and swayed and pulled me up to dance, while onlookers smoked cigarettes that they ashed onto the floor.
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