Ça se prononce Cemuk Champeyyyyy, et après on soupire de bonheur...
It’s pronounced Cemuk Champeyyyy, and then you sigh with happiness…
The action takes place in Guatemala, I leave Atitlan around 3.30am to catch a minibus for Lanquin, uncomfortable as possible in the company of my neighbour’s two turkeys…
Once in the village, everyone squeezes into pick-ups, standing up, hanging from the roof bars, to reach a hostel in the middle of the forest. And there it is already beautiful, but it is only the beginning.
The next day, we join other travellers to go sweating, blowing and toiling in the mountains and to go on an overhang from which we will finally be able to admire the cascading lakes with multiple shades of colours, from light blue to turquoise. It’s boooooo! It’s worth it!
We come back down dripping with sweat from everything we’ve just climbed up and plunge into the refreshing natural pools with an intense delight
All this takes place in the middle of the forest teeming with life, symphonic and fragrant, and the painting is worthy of admiration. When the swimming pool session is over, we go back down along the paths and follow the course of the river perched on a lorry inner tube, letting ourselves be carried along by the current. It has a name: tubing!
But the highlight is the visit of the caves: all in swimming suits and nothing else!
At the entrance, the only thing they give you is a candle. You progress in the darkness from cave to cave in the light of the flame and it is sometimes a little bit sporty because you have to go up, down, cling to the walls and swim while keeping your lighted candle well in hand.
There are a few guides who hurry to come and help the pretty girls in bikinis by gently grabbing them by the waist or pushing their buttocks, ha ha!
The water is likewarm, it’s not cold, and it’s unreal, deep, beautiful.
Visitors appear, brandishing their candles like a Statue of Liberty with its torch, the atmosphere is worthy of a great Indiana Jones-style adventure film.
All this may seem worthy of a Disney park or a hyper-formatted tour for tourists. I’m not a big fan of these tours, a bit of a tourist attraction, but this one is really exhilarating. The setting is fabulous, the walking is not that easy and apart from the tubing, the whole trip requires energy and determination. So not so easy.
We could stay a long time in Cemuc Champey. A small bed in a wooden hut, in the middle of the jungle, large terraces where everyone meets, the song of the jungle at dusk, in the night. Everything here is beautiful
At the end of the day, we return to the camp tired but quiet. We get dressed warmly to avoid a cold snap and to protect ourselves from mosquitoes, all around becomes calm again, for some unknown reason, everyone speaks in a low voice. It is not a place to push the sound to the max and shout out one’s joy. It is rather the time to drink a local beer in good company, to observe the bats flying silently in the twilight. We will go to sleep much later in his small hut facing the jungle, lulled by the song of the night birds, before throwing ourselves into the arms of Morpheus.