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My visit to San Pedro

San PedroI live in Panajachel. This was my first visit to San Pedro. This is in now way a review of San Pedro as a whole. It was simple my personal first experience there. The executive summary? I am glad I live in Panajachel.

It all started on Sunday at a bit after 6AM. I had decided to take a vacation from computers for the day but the temptation to read my email was too much. I went for a walk which lead me close to the dock to take a picture. Someone called out the equivalent of last call for San Pedro. On a whim, I headed for the boat.

That’s how it all started. I arrived in San Pedro at about 7:30AM. About the only thing I new about San Pedro was that someone had told me the main difference was in Pana you only smoked pot at home whereas in San Pedro you could smoke it on the street. Correct or not, it was not what I expected to find at 8AM on a Sunday.

Unlike Pana with its long waterfront and gradual slope upwards, San Pedro has a dock and then both the hill and the tourist infrastructure starts immediately. There also seemed to be less integration of tourist places with the local housing. In any case, I headed up the hill assuming I could get a better idea of what was there once I got up to the top.

Park in the center of San Pedro.

Park in the center of San Pedro.

As you would expect, you eventually come to the main church, central square and public market. Things were just getting started in the market. It is much smaller than in Pana but spills out onto the street. Unfortunately, this is the main street up the hill and it was a total traffic jam with the combination of vendors, TukTuks, cars and people walking. I assume it is only this crazy one or two days a week but it certainly lacked the feeling of any real organization.

Walking around a bit I did find where to catch a bus to Los Encuentros and Guatemala City. I also found that while there were virtually no businesses open in the non-tourist area there were three hardware stores open. I guess those who don’t go to church repair their houses. šŸ™‚

Lole's place in San Pedro

Lole’s place in San Pedro

Breakfast was on my agenda and other than a totally crazy food area in the market I found no restaurants so I headed back down near the docks. I passed up the yuppie coffee places and found what seemed like an OK choice for breakfast. I had low expectations as the menu was in both Spanish and English but it seemed to be the best choice.

Breakfast was not bad. That is, what you got was OK but you didn’t get much of it. I had my standard typico which cost Q20. Eggs (scrambled so I guess it was two but it seemed pretty small), two strips of fried platano, beans, cream, the smallest piece of cheese I have ever seen, three tortillas and coffee. I contrast that with my typical Pana breakfast with more egg, more platano, more beans, more cheese (but no cream) plus fruit and lots of guacamole for Q18 and it clearly was not a good buy.

In any case, breakfast out of the way, it was time for more walking.

One of the San Pedro hummus options.

One of the San Pedro hummus options.

Here are some of the discoveries.

  • There are at least three places that sell hummus. My assumption is that San Pedro is pretty vegetarian-friendly.
  • There is a health food store (which wasn’t open)
  • Sunday AM is apparently when you both wash your clothes and bathe in the lake.
  • In general, you are more likely to seem a smile on a local in Panajachel than in San Pedro.
  • There is an amazing number of Spanish schools in San Pedro.
  • Everything is up a hill or down a hill.
Looking down on some houses a bit west (I think) of the dock area.

Looking down on some houses a bit west (I think) of the dock area.

Is San Pedro more segregated than Pana? I don’t know for sure but it felt that way. Pana is amazingly integrated with very small houses on callejones just a block or so from some fairly substantial houses.

The one industry I saw in San Pedro was coffee processing.

Drying coffee in San Pedro.

Drying coffee in San Pedro.

This field full of coffee drying seems to be temporary but at the back are the permanent processing facilities. Certainly a seasonal business but it does appear to be a significant one.

I don’t expect to be back in San Pedro any time soon. That doesn’t make it a bad place but I don’t even think Antigua is a bad place — I just don’t want to go there. Call this a first impression. I encourage someone who lives in San Pedro to comment or even start blogging here about San Pedro. There is certainly a lot more to be said about all the other towns on the lake.

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