Really splendid and different day today. The Lake is surrounded by volcanoes and mountains and is itself inside one - with a depth of 350 mts. It is 28 kms long and 14'ish wide with Mayan villages all around. The water has no way of escaping and in the last few years the level has risen to submerge a causeway, creating an island and some villages too. This was mainly caused by a hurricane in 2010, but also more rainwater than evaporation. We did see some houses half sub-merged from only the last couple of years so a dangerous situation for those living on the shores.
The Mayans are very colourful and dress in their own typical woven skirts and there are hundreds of different patterns some of them really wonderful. In places the men also wear traditional dress, either mid-length trousers with heavy embroidery around the bottoms or wrap around skirts.
Older women wear 12 mtrs of braid around their heads and we had a demonstration of how they do it. Firstly they twist the braid around their long plait and hook that on the head. They then wind the rest of the braid until they reach the end which is usually embroidered and that gets tucked in - see photo.
We set off by boat to visit San Juan la Laguna a small community on the far side of the lake from where we are staying. Here a Cooperative of women work (and demonstrate) how they transform their natural cotton into beautiful articles dyed with natural colours. We all spent some money here as the quality is really high while the street markets are of varying quality - some products certainly coming from China. They were not too pushy and I enjoyed this village very much. Their website is www.casaflorixcaco.com if you are interested in seeing their work.
San Pedro was the next one, slightly larger with a vibrant market which we browsed and where I bought slices of fresh and juicy pineapple to snack on.
Our third and final stop was almost opposite our village but behind the volcano in a small bay - Santiago. Here they were all a bit pushy and insistent but once away from the jetty we were able to walk through the main market and shop area to a very good restaurant for lunch.
Back at the hotel and after a short while chatting I took a walk around our tiny hamlet - again more stall holders all selling the same stuff but with a couple of women weaving and selling their products.
I am having some food at the hotel tonight with a couple who are also staying in. The group have gone to the next and main village on the lake for dinner but I am still looking forward to early nights and long sleeps.