Jeez, Man! It was a struggle to wake up again at 4 am. I’m not even mentioning that the driver was late, we left at about 4:45 in the morning, I was half asleep and the only thing I could remember of was French Canadian girls chatting on the bus, all the way until we reached the trail start. Everything was blurry in my head, I didn’t even pay attention to they were talking about, it sounded like a radio station buffering, deep inside I was thinking “Shut the f*** up!”
We arrived on site, it was still pitch dark and for those who had walking lamps that was just perfect, whereas I used my phone, we walked through corn fields, avocado fields, bean fields, I saw local families getting ready for farm work… Poor souls! We had to dodge massive holes on the way. In the beginning the path was very flat and as soon as we reached the mountain side, the trail was peaking high and in some parts, we almost had to climb to carry on. We had to stop many times to wait for the others as some were slower than others.
We eventually reached the top after an hour walk, we stood on a platform dominating the valley and the Atitlan Lake, it was still dark but we could already see a ray of light pointing out! We waited about hour and a half for the sun to turn white, then pink, then red and finally for the sun light the lake and it surroundings, a delightful vision of enlighten, warmth and hope. An eternal renewal no one could ever regret. I took some amazing shots and I had a quick breakfast snacks with the rest of the people: sweet bread and tea. We walked all the way down and we could witness a multitude of villagers, their wife and children working in the fields like ants would work in an anthill. I felt lucky to have been born in right country, in the right family… Deep inside, I was thinking: if you are born in the wrong place, in the wrong family… That’s over! You have no chance of escape! And if you try to try to migrate somewhere better, legally or illegally… Don’t think you are saved… Life is always harder for immigrants!
We took the shuttle back to San Jose and I came back just on time for breaky! Yummy! It was only 10 in the morning, I had plenty of time, I decided to visit San Juanito before the big journey starts. I was told by locals that it was the place where local women were sawing ponchos, dressed, bags and much more… I thought it was the perfect place to buy souvenirs and I did buy a few: women tops, bags, t-shirts, shirts, ponchos, wallets and more… I came back to my hotel with 2 big bags of souvenirs that I put in my suitcase.
I was about to take my boat when I heard mad shouts! England had won against Colombia, at the World Cup! It would certainly be party time in my hotel (I did the right thing to leave on that day) I would have a crazy journey awaiting: from San Jose to Pana by boat, from Pana to Guatemala City by shuttle van, from Guatemala City to Flores by Lux Express. I specifically stressed out I wanted night ride on a lux bus to Flores because it’s a 14 hour journey and the road is terrible! We I reached Pana, I met again the 2 Indian American people from the Acatanengo hike and we were heading in the same direction, so… good times! Again, I was on a highway to hell!