Our Guatemalan 2014 new year was spent by Lake Atitlan in San Pedro.
A beautiful little traditional Guatemalan town on top of a hill.
There is also a gringo-landia haven by the water. The two worlds don’t seem to mix that much, but the locals are some of the friendliest I have experienced when travelling, always saying ‘Buenos Dias’ and smiling as they pass and almost no cat calls from men as you walk alone as a woman.
We’ve been staying with a local family so had a bit of both worlds.
New years eve started with the traditional new years meal , which consists of Tamil – a corn based dish that is a bit like mash potato in consistency, with salsa and chicken, wrapped and cooked in a banana leaf. It is delicious. This is served with a non-alcoholic hot punch, full of fresh fruits. The girls then all got dressed up in matching traditional dresses, that are full of colour and headed to church. The locals are quite religious here and passionate singing can be heard all over town at most times of the day.
We then headed into gringo territory to a party at a popular bar, called ‘Buddha’. It’s a very cool traveller hang out, with three floors and a restaurant.
We were lucky to meet the owner early on and he gave us a top tip to get ourselves to the rooftop bar before midnight. We danced under the stars to the lively band that were playing and at midnight, fireworks went off just above the bar. Fireworks are let off day and night here in San Pedro – even at six in the morning, when it is light. I guess they like to celebrate. Guatemalans call them ‘Boombas’ – best word I’ve learnt so far!! I spent the first half an hour of 2014 watching Boombas go off across the whole lake in all the different villages. It was an incredibly beautiful way to start a very new and exciting year for me and a contemplative moment to say goodbye to 2013.
Happy new year all! Feliz Año Nuevo!