Thursday 18 August
Omg! What a weekend and the start of a new chapter of exploration. Oh and I actually missed my laptop! Since Monday I travelled, finally to San Marcos.. ‘hippy-ville’ or so it is known. After having a weekend of stressing about where I would move to now that the field school was complete I decided I needed to give myself another week in Antigua to allow things to fall into place. I finally decided to pay rent at the Spanish school homestay for a week while I went off to explore a bit more of Guat
emala to decide on where I would spend my two months of study – reading and writing. I was hoping to find some answers or inspiration on the road from the places I visited. The plan was San Marcos then Xela.
After arriving in San Marcos I dropped my bag at a hostel and quickly started to explore. This is a gorgeous picturesque lake side town, surrounded by volcanoes. There is coffee growing and instead of risk of coconuts falling, you must watch your head for avocados overhead! The place is green, there is only one street for cars and tuk-tuks so it is protected
from so much pollution. And the lake.. well the lake is beautiful!
This is the quote from Lonely Planet “San Marcos has become a magnet for global seekers, who believe the place has a spiritual energy that’s conducive to learning and practicing meditation, holistic therapies, massage, reiki and other spiritually orientated activities”. Yes there were holistic therapies at every turn and also an emphasis on yummy organic foods at some places – like Ganesh- had an amazingly fresh tomato soup and lemon grass tea from the chef who took pride in the fact that each day the menu is freshly printed due to the fresh changing menu. Loved it! Here is where I met with Tim. My god send. A few hours earlier I got the low down of the village from the lady in the 2012 shop. Very friendly, and very honest! She filled me in on ‘opportunistic’ occasional robberies in the past in the main hotel in town (but is totally safe elsewhere) which I had considered taking long term. Kinda scared me off it and the owners awkward style of managing and talking to his staff, kind of turned me off even more. So this is when I got the number for “Tim, the real estate of San Marcos”. He was a friendly German guy, currently in the process of building his dream house with an amazing view of the lake and in middle of Mayan village life. It made me feel straight away that he was the one to solve my housing problema.
“Just tell me what you want, your budget, there are heaps of options, and especially cheap as it is the low season”.
That evening we proceeded to check out some properties in the rain (currently rainy season which is great for study!). The first property stole my heart. I was not able to change my mind once I had seen it! It was all white, kind of Mediterranean with bright blue doors. We walked straight down to the patio with a clear elevated view of the Lake. Beautiful. Despite Tim not having the key with him to see inside in that moment, I could see that the bedroom had double doors opening to the verandah. There was also a fully decked out kitchen down stairs and a gas shower (instead of odd-ball electric shower). And it kind of had this inside-outside design. Will be beautiful when it rains. It is located just a short walk up the hill from the tourist area and bordering on the area of the village. And the best thing was that it was going for half price for rent due to low season. Bargain. Having accommodation sorted made me feel like everything else was so much less hairy and difficult to decide. I could know that I could just set up my books in my room and sit still for a couple of months while I work on these assignments (with one of the best views in the world). So the plan is to get myself sorted and find closure in Antigua and then head straight to San Marcos Monday. From there I can always visit other places that I wanted to see like Xela. And once my Spanish improves I can head further a field or even just check out some of the local village areas.
My second big find was a school of traditional Mayan healing and wisdom. Heading this project named “IXIIM” was Fernando, a bright, talented man full of vision for the children of his village. He also works in construction and built his own school out of natural materials. A man from Switzerland funded him to attend school and university – when I see what this man has achieved I realise how important access to education is for development. This school of Mayan healing and wisdom, included guided walks, yoga, massage and other information. I was fascinated and despite my limited Spanish was inspired and fascinated to learn more. This may also be a base for me to volunteer with the children who come each morning to learn their culture.
Here is video of IXIIM program with the children.. (tba)