Paragliding over Panajachel

Sunday, 8/5/18

Yesterday morning (Sat) we hiked back down the mountain to Paxanax (pronounced posh-a-nosh), called the “Beverly Hills” of Lake Atitlan, and met up with Deva Nirguna, who led Dona and me on another long hike up to his place, Atitlan Arte Vista, a gorgeous retreat center he built himself ( Nirguna is a prolific artist as well as architect, and his erotic paintings were on display throughout the labyrinth of rooms. He especially wanted to go over my horoscope with me, as Jupiter is now coming into its 6th full return (at 75 years), and it portends the beginning of a significant new phase of my life, focusing on writing and teaching. Shades of my aya trip the night before!

Nirguna also told us a miraculous tale, and showed us the evidence. Around 8:00PM on Sunday, April 23, 2017, a Volkswagon-sized boulder had rolled down the mountain and smashed right through the house, taking out a bedroom where a guest named Chris Campbell was lying on the bed writing on his laptop. Chris must have been teleported to safety, as he awoke on the ground 20 feet below, virtually unharmed, while the boulder lodged in the wall and floor with the bed crushed under it. Chris is Managing Editor of Laissez Faire Today, and he wrote up his account—with photos: “How to Surf a Boulder.” Google it.

This morning, we took a boat with Nirguna to Panajachel (called the “New York” of the Lake), where we checked into the Hotel Regis, with its hot springs. We spent a couple of hours in the hot tub, then went out for lunch. While we were eating in a little café, a man walking by overheard us speaking in English and came in to buttonhole us about the Bible. I told him, “Sorry, not interested. We’re Pagans.”

But he persisted: “What do you know about the Bible?” I told him I’d read it cover-to-cover in several translations, which was why I was Pagan. He really didn’t get the hint, and I regrettably had to get rude and tell him to just go away. Later, walking down the street, we passed him with a gaggle of other missionaries, all dressed in cheap suits and ties so as to blend in, no doubt.

We were checking out the Museo Lacustre Atitlan (located inside the Hotel Posada de Don Rodrigo), the local museum of underwater Mayan archaeology, with its collection of artifacts recovered from Samabaj, an ancient Mayan ceremonial center discovered at the bottom of the lake near Cerro de Oro, when I got a phone call from the parapente para-gliding people with whom I had a flying appointment tomorrow (Monday) morning. The weather now was perfect, but looked bad for tomorrow, so they wanted to go right away. We rushed back to the hotel where they picked us up, dropped Dona at the beach where we’d be landing, and drove up to the top of a nearby mountain, above Santa Catarina Palopo, where they spread the parawing out on the ground, and geared me up with harness, helmet and emergency parachute (in case of a water landing?). However, there was insufficient wind to lift the parachute wing, so after waiting a while, they decided we’d have to run to get it in the air—like Charlie Brown trying to fly a kite. So—after one false start where I stumbled and scraped my knee—we ran off the cliff like the Roadrunner and caught the air for an exhilarating 20-minute flight across the mountain face and over the lake, landing at the beach in Pana where Dona was waiting. This was way high on my bucket list—something for which I’ve waited over 500 years! That leaves sky-diving and hot air ballooning…

Paragliding over Panajachel.

Coming in for a landing (photo by Dona)

Now we’re back at the Regis, where we’ll meet Carolina and Joe in the morning, and take a boat back to Cerro de Oro. 

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