After the overcast skies last night, woke up this morning to clear views of the lake and three volcano peaks, and just slight cloud cover. I have the car sheltered from the morning sun by a row of trees, so I was able to get up in relative cool and have my breakfast before the sun came over the trees.
The 3 volcanoes around the lake are :- San Pedro, to the south west, at 3020 metres; Toliman , directly south of me, at 3158 metres; and then partially hidden behind Toliman is Volcano Atitlan at 3537 metres. So they are pretty big beasties, and understandably the weather around here changes quite quickly. And if they ever all go off together, it will be a big mess round here !! I woke up to find a flat calm lake, with a couple of local fisherman pulling in their nets in their interesting (and judging by the amount of bailing they were doing, quite leaky) little boats. Bigger ferries were already buzzing across the lake in various directions, servicing the various little villages dotted around the lake.
Will get some pics in Panajachel later and add them in.
I then wandered up to the hotel part of Hotel Tzanjuyu and had a shower – Interesting unit – I even took a photo later because of its layout. First of all, the toilet paper holder (rare in itself in this part of the world) is located INSIDE the shower area !! So, despite its high value and scarcity, the chance of the paper rapidly becoming quite soggy must be high !! Then the shower only has one tap – Usual for cold water showers here. But the head of the shower is large, and has various electrical wires going to it. When you turn on the shower, the lights in the room go dim, and there are a few sparks inside the shower head, but the temperature doesn’t vary much. After my shower I got my specs on and there was a slide switch on this shower head that said “Hot – Off – Warm”. It was set on hot, and with all that water around I wasn’t willing to try touching the switch to change the setting !! I can now understand where I read somewhere about someone getting electric shocks through the shower water – They probably had one of these heads on it !
Later on I wandered back up to the hotel for a look around and to try their wifi. The whole complex is (or rather once was) rather gorgeous. I have seen a date in the 1850’s on one of the walls. Reminds me quite a lot of Jamaica – Same kind of architecture and the same kinds of flowers and plants in the garden. But when you look more closely, it is all rather sad. The pool is a bit shabby and crumbling, and while tables and chairs are all set out neatly around the gardens under palm frond shades, all the shades are falling apart, while the paths and walls are all crumbling. Same with the buildings – Really rather nice from a distance, but close up the wooden gutters and roof are rotting and sagging, while all the old photos around on the walls are fading and covered in mildew. But the plants are magnificent, with one magnificent curly one something I don’t think I have seen before. Is it a type of ginger, I wonder ?
Found out the only way to get wifi was to sit outside in one particular spot on the verandah, and it then worked well. Anywhere else, nada !!
Did a few chores around the car, including some laundry, sorting out paperwork etc, especially after the mad dash through customs the day before when paper had got put everywhere. Even had to get my fleece out early in the morning ! By lunch time the flat lake had white tops, and the wind was up, and as black clouds came over the volcanoes disappeared, we had some quite heavy rain. This cleared for the afternoon, but we had showers on and off all day. I got my blog done in the evening, sitting in the one specific place on the balcony in order to get a signal, and then had some supper and went to bed. I have really enjoyed not having to do anything, and I might well do it for a few more days yet. Janet arrives in Guatemala City in the evening of the 4th September, so I don’t need to pick her up for 6 days. And the weekend is coming up, and that is not usually a good time to try and drive around the country side because of village streets being essentially closed for markets, so unless one is actually going to a market specifically, not really worth it. I think I will just explore Panajachel and relax.
I do also have a warning light that has come on in Troopie yesterday and I am trying to work out how important it is. The manual says “Go to your Toyota Dealer”, but of course there aren’t too many of those around here !! So between the internet and emails with my 4 WD mechanic at home, I hope I can rectify the problem. Car seems to run all right – It came on yesterday at 3000 metres in the middle of the mountains. I shall try a few things tomorrow. Maybe if all else fails I should just put some duct tape over the light so I can’t see it ? !!
Anyway, intend to take it easy here for the next few days.
30th August. Have paid up for another couple of nights here – It is so peaceful, and I don’t see the point of tramping round the countryside on my own, just for the sake of it.
It has taken me a couple of days (although much of that was spent in deep and meaningful thought about the issue !), but today I finally managed to get my warning light to go out. It was not the “Water in fuel filter” warning light, but a more general fuel system light, but after emails with Dean at Australian 4WD, my 4WD guru back on the Gold Coast who has looked after Troopie since the day I bought her, and set it all up for me, and a few questions via Google, I changed to fuel filter anyway (I carry spares), and also, after some time, managed to find a way to make the warning light go out. So that made me particularly happy – Or maybe relieved is a better word ! Hopefully it will not come on again – But things like this are not good for the stomach ulcers when you are in a remote place like Guatemala, especially when you still have some 30,000 kms to go !! !!
Postscript – I sent a photo of the dirty fuel filter to Dean and he has since come back and said Yes, that was pretty dirty, and probably is what caused the problem. A photo of the dirty filter is included in the pics – It was the first fuel filter I have ever changed (they don’t have things like that in a Lotus !!) so I had no comparison from experience of clean vs dirty !!
Also went exploring in Panajachel today – It really is a touristy little place, but the locals are really friendly and not pushy at all. So many trinkets and clothes and bags and hammocks for sale – Beautiful stuff, but fortunately it is just not possible to buy any as I already do not have any spare room !!
Might have to get the bike out tomorrow to explore more because after only 30 minutes leisurely walking today I was quite puffed and tired from the altitude. But there look to be some lovely little restaurants and food places around, so might have to delve a bit deeper into them over the next 2-3 days !!
Heavy rain again this afternoon – Seems to be how it goes here. Nice in the mornings, then overcast and rain in the afternoon / evenings. But I am starting to unwind a bit more now………
Will get some pics in Panajachel later and add them in.