I’m in Panajachel alone today while the others are in Santiago where they caught a boat this morning. I’ve been editing all day and listening to music I understand, and having just a little bit of time alone. At this very moment, I’m looking out a window where I see lemon trees, kids playing in the street and mud from the crazy rain storm we had last night, a huge volcano, clothes lines full of clothing and traditional Guatemalan textiles of all sorts, cinderblock houses, tin roofs, and of course Lake Atitlan.
Yesterday was fun. My roommate, Sarah and I got up and walked into Antigua park area and grabbed our Cafe con leche where we always do, and sat and chatted about the trip. It was the slowest pace thing we’ve done up to this point, so we enjoyed it very much. We met back up with everyone, loaded up and headed out to Panajachel, where I am now. We met a friend of Todds and met a nice man, Jose, that would later be my market buddy and help me a lot as I tried to go deep into the market. He spoke no English, but I speak just enough Spanish to get by. The Mayan people here are mostly very little and the men here wear interesting clothes, that seem like the norm here. After lunch, we checked in our little hotel, which is very simple, nothing special, but a huge deck out back where I can sit and see all the things described earlier.
The shuttle ride up to Pana was actually really nice for the first hour or so. I got to spend time getting to know Andrew. He works with NY Times and I’m really excited to have his perspective on my work and really just a privilege to be shooting alongside him and some of these other fine photographers.
We headed up to Solala for the Market and I had a pretty good day. We shot pictures of many things and I’m excited about what I was able to capture. I’m still very critical of my work, but it helps to go over it with our mentors. The families there all work together to sell goods. I met a wonderful family walking into the Solala market and explained my family to them. Her children were beautiful. I played with the kids for a bit, then headed out into the mix of market. At one point, a man came up with a megaphone announcing something and trying to hand out papers. The papers were very graphic with photos of people that had been killed. It’s very sad to watch little kids carrying newspapers of images we find disturbing in the US, and many of the mayan children, while already small, are small from lack of nutrition, which is something I remember seeing in Matamoros when we spent time with kids there. 8 year olds look like they are 4 or 5. I was able to visit with another friend here, Miranda, who lived in California but now lives in San Pablo, just a boat ride from where I sit now. She works with organizations here for the children and she was not only very nice and helpful to us, but seems to have an amazing heart, too.
After market we headed over to Sunset CafÃ, which is literally on the water facing the volcanos. Crazy scene and NO WAY to catch it with your camera and do it justice. After Sunset CafÃ, we hit Circus Restaurant, which was pretty good, but I was really tired and ready to get back. Andrew, Sarah and I headed back which was a pretty long walk back to our hotel and got a little turned around, but got home ok. It amazes me at times that we’re walking around totally immersed in this culture and sort of hoping for the best. Especially late at night.
So I’m going to meet up with the crew for dinner later tonight back at Sunset Cafe. Then Andrew is going to review some of my work. I am mostly looking forward to that, more than anything else. Tomorrow’s agenda is absolutely crazy. We will hit Chichicastango in the morning and a few other places, then grab our shuttle back to Antigua, where we will not doubt be up late for our celebration dinner, and critiques.