The day after Domingo’s birthday, he and his friend Samuel guided a group of us on a hike to Nariz del Indio, or Indian Nose, which is the hill on the opposite side of the lake that is visible in just over half of my photos. (What can I say? It’s picturesque).
There are several options when attempting this relatively easy hike. Some people opt to start in the wee hours of the morning in order to see the sun rise. Others start from the lake side of the hill and complete the 2-3 hour hike from there. Still others take some form of transportation to the town of Santa Clara on the other side of the hill from the lake; from the town, the hike to the top takes just over an hour. Because I A) wanted to sleep in on Sunday, and B) am a wuss, an hour’s hike seemed sufficient for me.
We took a shuttle to Santa Clara, where we did a quick stroll through the town to get to the head of the path. At one point, a group of local schoolboys accompanied by their chaperones walked along with us on their way through the woods.
Our last few steps near the summit were interrupted by the sound of a woman wailing. Just next to the path, a small group of local people were worshipping; I could not see if there was a small shrine, but the women and men there knelt with their hands on the ground, loudly crying out in voices that oscillated between singing and sobbing. Domingo explained that the people were preparing for Holy Week.
At the top, drenched in sweat (or maybe that was just me), we took our obligatory landscape photos. While we could see some amazing views of San Pedro and some of the other towns, the weather was unfortunately very cloudy and obscured much of the lake. A local family of a father and two elementary school-aged children had reached the summit at the same time. Content, the dad proceeded to take the Sunday paper out of his pocket, sit down on a tree stump, and read while his kids scoped out the view. Now that’s the way to spend a Sunday!
As we descended, the weather started to cool. By the time we walked through the town -seeing some awesome medical and dental clinic facades along the way- and back to the road, it was downright cold and a slight drizzle began to fall. I envied Dean, who had brought along his windbreaker, as we waited in vain for another shuttle. After a time, a truck approached us on the road. Domingo briefly consulted with the driver, and we hopped in the back of the truck bed. This is a totally typical event here in Central America: trucks with entire families in the back or, even more commonly, about 25 men standing and holding onto the added metal barriers, drive down the roads and highways. It’s just a more basic local version of a taxi or bus, yet it has still taken me a while to get used to seeing it, because that just does not happen where I’m from. Still, despite what felt like possible damage to my tailbone from my awkward sitting position on a corrugated plastic truck bed, the ride back to San Pedro was reeeeally fun.
What’s not to love?