Tuesdays and Fridays are market days at Solola, Lake Atitlan, so on a fine Friday morning we headed off by water taxi to see what treats lay in store for us.
Solola isn’t an ordinary tourist tat market like the famous ChiChi market an hour North of here – this is where locals go to buy their wares. As we edged closer to the hilltop town we began to see more and more beautifully dressed Mayan men and women. I love the way the women use cloth to wrap through their hair and tie in various ways.
Unfortunately, about thirty seconds after entering the market, Luke shouted over that he’d ‘been done’. How can these people pick your pocket so quickly and subtly?! Thankfully they only managed to steal $20 and considering we had just taken out $200 we were very lucky indeed. This is the second time this has happened to Luke in the space of four weeks. I feel like you do have to be on your guard more in a Central America than in places like Asia or South America.
We didn’t want to let that incident ruin our day so we continued to wander around (albeit slightly obsessive over our pockets). You can buy pretty much anything here; fruit, veg, dead chickens, live chickens, batteries, toiletries, fabric ect. The only thing we wanted which we couldn’t find was a traditional Guatemalan back strap woven rug and blanket but they are ten a penny in Antigua and San Marcos.
With empty pockets we made our way back to San Marcos in time for the start of the four day ‘Festival of Conciousness’. As mentioned in my previous post, San Marcos is Guatamala’s holistic capital and people come here to open their minds and hearts to an array of subjects including yoga, Thai Chi, massage, meditation and astrology to more alternative topics such as past life regression, tarot card readings, quantum jumping and sexual shamanism. I have overheard many conversations during my three weeks here that are absolutely golden. One girl was telling her friends how she recently discovered that she was Cameron Diaz in her past life – not sure how that works as Cameron is definitely still alive but whatever. I also heard two guys talking over a four mushroom latte when the one said to the other, “so when I was talking to my mother – when I say mother I am referring to the lady that biologically gave birth to me in this life time”. Thanks for clearing that up dude. An ‘Overheard’ San Marcos would work brilliantly here, with lines like “dude before you leave will you put the names of those angels in my iPad please?” How could it not? I have giggled to myself endlessly whilst sat in the various hippy coffee shops that pepper San Marcos but I do love how open this place is and that you could quite literally say anything to anybody and they wouldn’t think you were odd in the slightest. I’ve heard some people say they have found San Marcos a bit pretentious when it comes to spirituality but I didn’t feel that, I just enjoyed the workshops, lapped up the lake vibes and easedropped to my heart’s content.
After spending three weeks here I got to know the local vendors and coffee shop workers. Being a creature of habit I began to have my routines and my favourite spots in town, namely Medicine Foods – try the banana pancakes and Crown Chakra cacao which comes with cayenne pepper that even make your brain tingle.
Organica was my favourite grocery stall. Despite my loyalty she always gave me gringo price but I liked her so that’s fine.
Whilst in San Marcos it would have seemed unnatural not to give some of the many courses/workshops or as they are often called ‘playshops’ a go. I decided to fully indulge in the Festival of Conciousness so joined sessions on a variety of weird and wonderful topics including Bach flowers healing, astrology (which I am slowly becoming obsessed with), Thai Chi, hypnotherapy, past life regression, Mental Yoga – the work of Byron Katy, Tarot card readings and Chakra cleansing for healers and empaths.
Something else I took part in was an Emotional Kinesiology course at the Smile Centre. The centre is run by Denis (pictured below – always wearing his ‘Kids need hugs not drugs’ cap) and his helper Lenny. I was and still am skeptical about Kinesiology as I just don’t understand how it works but I did learn skills that will be useful and as ever I really enjoyed my time learning about something new.
The hardest thing about leaving Lake Atitlan was leaving my San Marcos soul sister Lucinda behind. I feel so lucky to have met her, we had countless girly days together talking for hours over coffee, shopping, learning about astrology and sunbathing at the lake (as you can see she does better at sun bathing than me). She has a natural ability to find incredible travel destinations and also find unique places to stay whilst there. I nearly cried when I saw how beautiful her apartment here was. Thankfully she has just launched a blog and I think this is definitely one to watch fifiescapes.com
Annoyingly she couldn’t live further away from me if she tried. Wales to Melbourne is quite a way but regardless of that I’m looking forward to the next time I get to see this awesome Aussie … & her lovely boyfriend Harry too 🙂