6:50am Owner gave me a ride (2 min) to bus stop. Good timing: bus arrived 2 min later
Got to David just before 8am. After dropping passengers at front, driver was kind enough to drop me in back of the bus terminal, with my five bags, right next to the Tracopa bus for San Jose, Costa Rica.
8:30am bus left at about 8:40 (normal). Border crossing was okay, except for usual delay at Costa Rica baggage inspection. This is my 5th or 6th time through here; each time kept waiting about 45min, even though they know the bus from David gets there about the same time every day (another reason why I don't like Costa Rica): not very inviting for visitors - and STUPID, considering tourism far surpasses all other industries for contributing to the national income (and the great majority of that comes from US citizens). Rant over.
Stayed at the Ticabus terminal hotel ($26) because of 3am departure. 4 uours sleep
This is their 'executive' bus from San Jose to San Salvador: 20hrs, including two 'get offs' for customs. Food served onboard the bus: three meals, plus two snacks, including drinks. Unexplained long wait at Honduras/El Salvador border made the trip two hours longer.
Arrived in San Salvador terminal around 1am, with 5:30am departure. 2 hours sleep
Entry to Guatemala is a joke; talk about third world! You gotta be there to believe it; not even a terminal - inspectors come to your vehicle; parking on a hill, very uneven dirt, looks like a primitive camping area, lots of trees and food stands, very difficult to move your vehicle; trailer trucks, buses, cars, all being positioned by traffic cops who aren't in sync!
So got to Guate, grabbed a taxi to chicken bus parking, immediately boarded a bus going to Lake Atitlan.
Arrived at lake. Took a tuktuk to my storage place, dropped four of my five bags, got a few groceries, took the boat to Santa Cruz, called the lady with the keys to the casita. She took me there, and I settled in.
I went early the next morning to get another bag and more groceries. Later, I started a five day bout of diarrhea (must have been the latina comida I had on the bus). stayed in for the next four days.
Good choice for a month's stay ($582). Great view of the lake and three volcanoes. Quiet compared to most places.
Atitlan is a volcano that blew its top, then filled up with water. If you've ever been around volcanoes, you know that the sides are much steeper than regular mountains (for the most part). The roads up to most of the villages are STEEP. Tuktuks are well worth the 65 cent ride.
The skies are overcast much of the time. Mornings are clearest. Weather patterns are interesting because of the size of the lake and the mountains/volcanoes surrounding it: sunny at one end, pouring rain at the other, etc. Last night, after a clear day and continuing on into the night, I looked out at the hills on the other side (south) of the lake, and from east to west there was almost constant lightning: great light show, but somebody was getting pounded (lots of small communities probably had some flooding).
That's it for a while. Right now I need to go into town (Pana - boat ride, tuktuk to market, tuktuk back to boat, boat to Santa Cruz, tuktuk halfway up the hill, two minute path to my casita). Then chill out in my hammock (I bought this one - not every place has a hammock), enjoy the view, read, then have dinner. It's a hard life, but I'm toughing it out; thank goodness I'm still healthy.