Stunning Lake Atitlán is ringed by volcanoes in the highlands of western Guatemala.
A strongly Mayan region, Atitlán is populated with quiet towns of farmers and artisans which, except for the new tourist trade, live much the way they did five hundred years ago.
This picture is of two cutie-pies we met in the lakeside town of Santiago de Atitlán, dressed in formal traditional costume for a performance. The headpiece is an intricately woven strip over 30 feet long! Ericka approached them and said "that gringo wants to take your picture."
"He'll pay, right?" they responded with a grin. And pay I did, though they didn't ask for much.
I snapped the picture and they skipped away with my coins in their little hands, giggling at their own audacity.
While eating in Panajachel, two little Mayan girls asked Ericka if she'd like them braid a lock of her hair. Over the next half hour, little Marta María painstakingly wrapped a lock of Ericka's hair in alternating bands of colored threads, while her little sister Roxana Valeska played with the spools of thread and smiled at us.
They were both fascinated to see Ericka's curls, and kept playing with her hair to see if those curls, so unlike the fine straight hair of their people, were real.
We were surprised two little Mayan girls could have such modern Spanish names!
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