a few quetzales with outstretched hands. Mohit obliged and emptied the small change out of his pocket and we were rewarded with big grins and a photo.
The oldest of the group, an entrepreneurial boy about 10 years old, convinced us to let him be our tour guide to see Maximon, a local Mayan god, the saint of gamblers and drunkards, according to our guide book. We followed the boy through town, took some photos along a pretty outlook at the edge of town, where local women were washing laundry in the lake below us, and continued along a dusty road leaded out of town to the neighboring village. We passed small concrete houses with coffee beans growing in the yards, and after walking in the sun for a few kilometers, we came to a private house where the Maximon idol is being kept this year. Our guide explained that Maximon moves among a handful of the most influential familes’ houses from year to year. Maximon was in a dark cinderblock room surrounded by lit candles stuck to the floor of the room with melted wax.
The squat wooden statue was of a mustachioed man wearing a leather cowboy hat and layers and layers of silk scarves and men’s ties. Three men were reciting something in the local Mayan language that our guide, who spoke Spanish and English, said he could not understand. Then men were sipping tequila and periodically offering some to the wooden statue. We paid 10 quetzales to take a picture, and the money was tucked into the layers of silk worn by Maximon.
We took a water taxi back to San Pedro and spent the afternoon reading and enjoying snacks at a cafe garden in the shade of a palm tree.