I paused to catch my breath, leaning forward to brace my hands on my knees. A small waterfall of sweat cascaded down my back as I sucked wind. Even after months spent living in the hills above 5000ft elevation, the mountainous city that is Zacatecas, set at just over 8000 ft, was becoming my nemesis.
We left our stunning lakeside retreat at Lagos de Colon and headed for San Cristobal for Christmas. New Years called for new plans, but we had fallen in love with this city on the way south, and heading north found her no less magical. That is other than the fireworks Christmas Eve that went on for nearly seven hours straight.
I craned my neck, searching for one last glimpse of Lake Atitlan, perhaps the most magical places I had ever been. Luckily, the drive out of the lake was greatly improved from our entry nearly three months earlier and soon my sights were focused on making the border.
While we loved our home base of San Marcos, one village that stole our heart at Lake Atitlan was the textile heaven of San Juan la Laguna. It is really impossible to spend time in the entire country of Guatemala without becoming more than a bit obsessed with the stunning, hand done textiles.
We just can’t seem to leave Mexico! Yes, Lake Atitlan Guatemala was extraordinary. As in we are talking of possibly settling there at some point. However, Mexico drew us back north, not done with us yet!
As we worked our way back to Baja many of our campground choices are those we have already enjoyed but still listed along with a few new additions.
Lagos de Colon~
Stunning. After a long day climbing out of Lake Atitlan we endured a challenging border crossing and arrived at some of the most lovely water we had ever seen. Endless pools in varying shades of blue and amazing 40MX a night price tag made everything okay. Back in our beloved Mexico.
Enter reverse-culture shock, as alive and well as ever. We are familiar, of course, having previously endured it. But it prevails. Even knowing what it will be like. Even having previous experience with this strange idea. Even feeling prepared. It’s here. The feeling of being in a foreign land even though we are “at home”. Thats right, we are back in the land of flushing toilet paper.
Today I sit in Los Barriles, Baja, Mexico. Exactly where I sat 1 year ago today. It is no new news that our compass appears not just broken but totally deranged, leading us back here and not south to Central America where we were sure you would find us about now. There have been a lot of memorable moments and lessons learned from these last 426 days on the road~ not the least of which is that life is uncertain.
We knew that when we headed out for a life on the road that we wanted to spend time volunteering in the places we explored. We had done a variety of volunteer work back in Oregon from Habitat to Humanity to Fences for Fidos to cooking for the families at the Ronald McDonald House. Volunteering abroad is not much different, and our time with the Guatemala Housing Alliance one of our favorite memories of Lake Atitlan.