Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Horseback Riding with Mark and Mo.


After throwing myself off a cliff this morning, I decided to end the day by doing something a little less life threatening. I went horseback riding with my brother and Mo.


When Maria and I got back to the hotel from paragliding, we had just a few minutes to get ourselves ready to head out again. From the hotel, we took a short walk to the travel agency where my brother and Mo were already waiting for us. Elias, our guide, joined us.

As we walked towards the dock. Maria and I shared details of our paragliding adventure with the other two and they shared the events of their day with us. My brother spent the morning fishing with the Ang bros and Mo just chilled out.

Once we arrived at the dock, we boarded a boat....like the one we had taken yesterday except we had the boat all to ourselves.

It was a 30 minute ride from Panajachel to San Pedro La Laguna. Since we had just been there the day before, the surroundings looked very familiar to us. We disembarked the boat and headed up towards town. As we walked past the first restaurant, we all decided to take the opportunity to pee. Better now than have to go when we're trotting through the wilderness.

As she came out of the bathroom, Maria was looking a little peaked. I think the stress and anxiety of paragliding had taken a toll on her stomach. She decided to hang back at the restaurant instead of going riding. We made sure she got settled in and then we left. Elias was waiting outside for us. We followed him through town until we arrived at a small ranch. There, the horses and our horse guide were waiting for us.



Mo got on her horse first. It was a bit of a challenge for her to get up but she managed. Being short is a hindrance cause it's hard to get your foot high up into the stirrup and then pull the rest of your body up and then swing your other leg over the body of the horse. Mo's shorter than me so if it's a struggle for me to mount the horse, it's a challenge for her.

Then, it was my brother's turn.  Of course, he mounted the horse with ease.....looking like a pro.



I was the last to get on.  Easy peasy as my brother would say.

And then we were off.  First through town  By the way, horses have no clue about tree limbs, fences, and anything else that can either decapitate a careless rider or scrape the skin off one side of a rider's body :-)



....and then eventually, into a bit of *wildnerness*.


Riding through San Pedro, there were reminders every which way you look of just how poor a country Guatemala is.


I think I must be a magnet for slow, old horses because yet again (as happened to me in Turkey), I had the slowest and I think the most clueless horse in the pack.  It would walk at snail's pace and then every now and again, as if it had just figured out it was waaaay behind, it would gallop to catch up with the rest of the gang.  So, I had the *walk, walk, walk, RUN* horse :-)

Hey, wait up for me!

But I can't really complain because Slow Poke troddling at snail pace gave me ample opportunity to soak in the scenery of San Pedro. 

High atop a hill, I could see the town in the distance through the haze of the afternoon sun.  Lake Atitlán provided a wonderful backdrop.


Part way through our ride, the horses had to take a munchie break and so we stopped for a few minutes. Mo's horse had a net like muzzle around its mouth that limited its ability to munch on the landscape. Must be a very greedy horse :-)


On the ride, my ever so friendly brother chatted with our other guide, practicing his Spanish.  Despite language barriers, we all somehow managed to communicate and we had our share of good laughs.


It was late afternoon by now and it had been a pretty busy day. A relaxing ride on horseback through a lakeside village in Guatemala was a perfect way to unwind.

My trusty mount aka "Slow Poke"

Mo, looking very relaxed and enjoying her ride.

About two hours after we started the ride, we ended up back at the ranch.  Before I dismounted my horse, I gave it a few strokes on the neck as a way to thank it.  Nice pony....slow but nice.

On the way back to the boat dock, we stopped at the restaurant to pick up Maria.  A bit of rest and she was looking and feeling much better.  We then boarded the boat for the ride back to Panajachel.  As the boat pulled away from the dock, I realized what a fun, fun afternoon I had had.  I was sad that it had to end. :-(