First post in the A to Z Challenge:
When people fly in to Guatemala, the first thing they see is the airport. For such a large city, it's a very small airport. You come in, are directed to your luggage pickup at one of several carousels, then guided through customs. It all takes about thirty minutes before you're steered through the door where a crowd is waiting, people watching for whoever they're waiting for.
We wait with a shuttle van parked nearby, the driver loads in the guest's luggage, and then we hand you a water bottle and head off. It's a three hour drive from Guatemala City to Panajachel, with beautiful mountain scenery.
This is where tourists will catch their first view of the Mayans, people who have lived among these mountains and villages for thousands of years, still wearing the traditional clothing, often speaking the ancient languages. The ones in the mountains live much as their ancestors did, growing corn, bean and squash, cooking over open fires, gathering wood from the forests for daily use.
One of the items that immediately catches the attention of tourists when they get to the Lake Atitlan region is the art. The Mayan people are very artistic, even the children seem to have natural talent at drawing and creating things.
When you buy the art, the vendor will remove it from the wooden framing and roll it securely for packing. Even the small paintings must be removed because U.S. Customs will not allow the wood from Guatemala into the country.
My sister and I pose with the artist of the piece she chose to purchase. It cost Q350 or about $75.
The woman in the photos below lives and works in San Juan, one of the smaller villages along the lake. I truly love her work. When I'm ready to select a painting for my home, I'm buying it from her.