“You can never understand one language until you understand at least two”. Geoffrey Willans, English author and journalist.
I was, generally speaking, never the brightest of pupils at school. And when it came to Mathematics and English, an even greater level of personal ineptness was embarrassingly brought to light, much to the dissapointment of my dear mother. Needless to say, I failed both at GCSE. It wasn’t until after I had left school that these two subjects, in the ‘practical world’, started to make perfect sense. The ‘light bulb’ moment occurred and I achieved “A”grades in both – a few years later.
Unsurprisingly, since I have started to learn Spanish, the subject of grammar has reared its ugly head yet again. Terms like: pronouns, reflexive verbs and transitive verbs, which would have set off a panic attack back in the day, have now started to have a tangible meaning. Although, I have to say, I nearly drew the line at phrasel verbs!
So, after 3 weeks of intense studying in Panajachel it was time to leave. My farewells to Magda and Dulce were especially difficult.
On Saturday I had an overnight stay in the delightful town of San Juan la Laguna, just 20 minutes south of Panajachel, by boat. On a rise above a spectacular bay, this mellow village has escaped many of the excesses of its neighbours. San Juan is special: the Tz’utujil inhabitants take pride in their craft traditions – particularly painting and weaving – and have developed their own tourism infrastructure to highlight these traditions to outsiders. I found an excellent hotel, Pa Muelle, and an excellent restaurant where I enjoyed an amazing curry, washed down with a glass of vino tinto.
Next stage: Back to Panajachel and a Chicken bus (or three) to Salamá.