Panajachel

This priest was shot in this very room and the bullet AND his blood stain still remain. That was a wee bit creepy but fascinating all at once. Sad stories indeed. He made an impact and brutally died for it.

This priest was shot in this very room and the bullet AND his blood stain still remain. That was a wee bit creepy but fascinating all at once. Sad stories indeed. He made an impact and brutally died for it.

We visited beautiful Panajachel which is located in the southwestern Guatemalan Highlands. The drive there alone, was incredible. We wound around mountain roads with cliffs and views on each side. I often couldn’t tell if we were heading up or down as we did a lot of both. We stayed for two nights at the Hotel Dos Mundos , a beautiful paradise a block from Lake Atitlan and right off the main market road. Pana is the gateway to many Maya’ villages including Santiago Atitlan, which we boated across the lake to visit. Santiago is situated between two volcanoes (San Pedro & Toliman). The majority of the residents are indigenous Mayans.  Wikipedia – The Cofradías (religious brotherhoods), manage a parallel power and are the guardians of the modern and ancient religious practices, most notably the cult of Maximón to whom they offer liquor and tobacco in exchange of favours. We visited Maximon and watched with our own eyes, this ritual. It was a little unnerving at first, as we followed Manuel through a narrow sketchy alley into a back area behind the buildings. Random chickens were running around and a large dirty blanket covering a doorway. We were ushered in behind the blanket, to a very small room where with about 12 men on their knees, were chanting (or speaking spanish to a tiny statue). It was dark, noisy and to my left was a glass coffin with a body inside. I wasn’t sure if it was real at first and my heart was racing. It all happened so fast, I really couldn’t put together where I was or WHYYYY. It felt as though we were invading someones private scene, in their dirt floor living room. I’ve never before felt claustrophobic…but it kicked in as soon as I was pushed to the corner of the room. The body was not real, but a stuffed form and what looked like a plastic face. The outside of the coffin was covered in plastic colourful light up flowers that were blinking. In front of the men on their knees, was a short statue of a person. It had many mens ties wrapped around it’s neck, a cigarette in it’s mouth and money stuffed in pockets. The men were drinking Gallo (Cerveza), in honour of this statue (who I think might be the same dude in the coffin). It was all a little overwhelming but interesting at the same time. I lasted maybe 5 minutes and had to get out to the air. I would have liked to go back in and ask questions…but bad timing and all… and I knew we certainly didn’t have the time.

I found a link about Maximon -http://www.santiagoatitlan.com/Religion/Maximon/maximon.html  – Crazy interesting stuff!!  AND I WAS RIGHT THERE!!!

We ended the visit and tour of Santiago with more market shopping, a drink by the water and a boat ride back to Pana.

Beautiful cobblestone pathways to what looked like private villas. I highly recommend this place

Beautiful cobblestone pathways to what looked like private villas. I highly recommend this place

Okay, I'll buy!

Okay, I’ll buy!

The art was beautiful and colourful. I don't even think we ave paints that vibrant in Canada. I've never seen anything like it. I could have bought hundreds!

The art was beautiful and colourful. I don’t even think we ave paints that vibrant in Canada. I’ve never seen anything like it. I could have bought hundreds!

A large Confessional was taking place when we arrived

A mass confessional was taking place when we arrived

Outside the church was a small fair. If that doesn't entice the kiddies to go to church....

Outside the church was a small fair. If that doesn’t entice the kiddies to go to church….

We were taken into a room where there was a tribute to a American Priest who was brutally assassinated by the Guatemalan Army. The town's citizens were also slaughtered, raped and tortured at the command of a dictatorship supported by the non-other than the United States! The stories we were told, took hold of my heart. The sick torture that went on and the kinds of things that were done...not human in my mind!

We were taken into a room where there was a tribute to a American Priest who was brutally assassinated by the Guatemalan Army. The town’s citizens were also slaughtered, raped and tortured at the command of a dictatorship supported by non-other than the United States! The stories we were told, took hold of my heart. The sick torture that went on and the kinds of things that were done…not human in my mind!

Again...the doors are art Main Market Street of Pana

Paradise

Paradise

Was selling beautiful hand made fabric cards, while we were eating our lunch.  -Cute clever kid

Was selling beautiful hand made fabric cards, while we were eating our lunch.
-Cute clever kid

"At times very wise and times very crazy, the figure of Maximon has confused outsiders for many years. This combination saint/devil is one of the strongest remnants of the native philosophy in Santiago Atitlan." Yup...I felt that!

“At times very wise and times very crazy, the figure of Maximon has confused outsiders for many years. This combination saint/devil is one of the strongest remnants of the native philosophy in Santiago Atitlan.” Yup…I felt that!

So Totally Cute...Amy

A sweet knowledgable man!

A sweet knowledgable man!

Lake Atitlan is a crater and filled by rain water. It grows yearly and eventually these homes will be under water like several before them. SOme people are living on their second floors as the first floor is already under water. Cheap land peoples!!

Lake Atitlan is a crater and filled by rain water. It grows yearly and eventually these homes will be under water like several before them. Some people are living on their second floors as the first floor is already under water. Cheap land peoples!!

Am i repeating myself here?

Am I repeating myself here?

Breathtaking SNAP'd on the Boat to Santiago Purely Stunning

She's a happy girl!

She’s a happy girl!

A moment to take in some spectacular guacamole and Margaritas

A moment to take in some spectacular guacamole and Margaritas

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