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Atitlán: An Historical Pictorial

The year is 2095. Mandarin is the dominant language of planet Earth, 93% of which is now fully covered in water. Since the polar ice caps melted the word’s population has struggled to sustain itself in steadily disappearing habitable areas. Unchecked pollution and the demise of the ozone layer mean it is no longer possible for humans to be outside in daylight hours. While Canada is now the third-largest nation in the world, the encroaching ocean has shrunk its borders to extend only from Golden in the west to Sudbury in the east. Mexico now stretches from the Rockies all the way down to the Amazon Desert, but there have been no verified accounts of successful travel between Canada and Mexico in nearly two decades. Following the extinction of fossil fuels in the 2060’s, air travel and combustion engines have become irrelevant and the only self-propelled vehicles are the small number of electric cars with access to reliable power sources. Even for the wealthy few who possess the means to power a vehicle as far as Mexico, the perilous gauntlet of the former United States of America that lies between these two heavily guarded borders makes any attempts at global travel virtually impossible. Following the Partisan Wars and numerous environmental disasters of the 30’s, an estimated 85 million American refugees flooded Mexico, and most of those that remain are either members of White Militia groups or roving NRA tribes. It has now been over 50 years since the last documented case of a woman venturing past Canada’s southern border due to the large female internment and breeding camps at Yellowstone, Zion and in many areas along the Continental Divide.

Ok, class, last week we discussed the former nation state of El Salvador, whose inhabitants were mainly nomadic, travelling back and forth between their Central American homes and the American industrial mecca of New Jersey. This week we move on to Guatemala, another extinct nation once well known for coffee production, extreme volcanic activity, and rampant political corruption. We will start in the highland area around Lago de Atitlán. This heavily-armoured freshwater reservoir is home to many of the wealthiest members of Mexican aristocracy, but up until the middle of the 21st century it was actually quite a poor region, inhabited by an incongruent mix of subsistence farmers and tourism entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, prosperity never quite arrived, as the vast majority of visitors to this struggling indigenous area tended to be quite poor themselves – typically barefoot, unwashed, and focused almost entirely on experimenting with hallucinogenic drugs and developing creative methods of combining hand-crafted jewelry and body tattoos. The following images all originated in the early 21st century, during what is now considered the pinnacle of Guatemalan society, just a few years before the catastrophic eruption of Volcán Fuego in 2022.

Before the advent of UV protection bodysuits with solar panel ribbing, simple cotton and polyester were the materials of choice, similar to those used to make the Sleeping Clothes™ worn today. Instead of specific uniforms denoting societal status and reproduction cycle, colours were mixed according to the desires of the wearer, often haphazardly.

When people were still using oil derivatives to power their vehicles, these bulky monstrosities were the preferred method of transporting North American children to and from school. Then, once deemed too old and unreliable to be safe, they would be shipped off to poorer countries such as Guatemala to be used as their main mode of transportation.

An early pioneer of the darkness movement, this woman intuitively recognized the harm and discomfort being caused by the largest star in our solar system. The fact she chose to seek shelter under the business arm of an industrial fossil fuel vehicle – one of those chiefly responsible for the ultimately deadly evolution of UV rays – was considered the height of irony at the time.

While most believe this man had been forced out into the deadly sun against his will and was desperately choosing the lesser evil of a likely toxic and polluted body of water over the sure-death of open sunlight, the awkward technique suggests it may have represented a strange form of recreation.

As a result of the great data hack of 2037, this is believed to be one of the last remaining photos of Canadians and Irish co-mingling. Ireland, as everyone knows, spent several centuries as the beleaguered island neighbour of the United Kingdom before succumbing to rising flood waters roughly 50 years ago. Based on their expressions, it is unlikely the Canadians in this photo were aware that it would eventually be revealed that Ireland traded restricted data to China that allowed them full control over EU finances, in exchange for just a few exotic Coronas.

While all commerce today takes place digitally, in the early 21st century it was still common for people to physically gather to facilitate the exchange of goods and services. Mangos and fried chicken, in particular, experienced heavy trade volumes in San Pedro la Laguna that year.

A woman waits patiently to exchange a few small coins for the product of months of difficult labour.

Long thought to be nothing more than a children’s fable, the “Loud Woman in Pink” was eventually proven to have not only existed, but to have been responsible for much of the inappropriate comments and excess drinking that took place at the time. Shown here frightening innocent bystanders for sport.

A form of traversing nature on foot referred to as “hiking”. It was eventually outlawed along with leather vests and jazz music.

A graphic representation of an even earlier time in Guatemalan history. Historians have been particularly fascinated by the absence of dread-locked meditation specialists, leading them to postulate that these divisive figures were actually introduced to the environment much later than originally thought. Anthropologists aren’t entirely sure what originally led these professional narcissists to Lago de Atitlán, but by the end of the 20th century they had gathered in large numbers to bond over primitive hygiene beliefs and share recipes for marijuana cookies.

Pre-cursors to the technologically superior watercraft of today, these archaic vessels served the purposes of the time. Although it could take as much as an hour to cross a single lake, they were typically equipped with at least 6-8 personal flotation devices per 30-passenger boat, and the open fronts were excellent vantage points from which many of the most famous ancient Instagram photos of the day were taken.

A perfect example of why it was ultimately deemed illegal to operate a camera under the influence of alcohol.

This is one of the last publicly accessible photos of the infamous “Happy Hour Cult of Pasaj-Cap” that flourished unchecked in the early part of the 21st century.

The triangular summit in the right-hand side of the photo was commonly referred to as “Indian Nose” up until 2026, at which point that name was deemed derogatory toward the Indigenous Mayan people and their distinctive facial features. Following months of deliberation the name was changed to “Scottish Tit”.

Adrenalin sports were extremely popular in those days, and local residents of San Pablo la Laguna found nothing more exhilarating than to get dangerously inebriated and place their children in the wobbly metal buckets of these precarious machines. The thrill of watching their legacy hurtling through space, their safety hinging on the work quality of travelling elementary school dropouts, was considered an unparalleled rush.

This group of hikers looks on, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the sun. The last recorded sunrise survivor was in 2072.

As has been well-documented, alcoholism was rampant in those days, especially among under-occupied seniors. Scientists believe that day-drinking and childish frivolity served to temporarily fill the gaping holes in their lives, a problem that was mostly solved by the advent of the Pet Goats for Seniors program of the 40’s.

Seen here in its infancy, “Cozy Meditation and Random Thoughts Yoga” eventually grew to become the dominant religion of Central America in the 2030’s. Grand-Breather Locke and her mass of followers, known as the Blanketed Ones, served as a major influence in Central American politics for nearly two decades until the shocking Licorice Tea controversy of 2052 tore the movement into dozens of warring factions and led to its ultimate dissolution. While official reports claim Locke died of severe burns following a tragic flannel fire, many still believe she remains cryogenically frozen in her trademark slip-ons.

Santa Clara la Laguna was one of the first towns of its size in the highlands to incorporate the use of electronic traffic lights. Unfortunately, lacking the necessary expertise to operate them properly, many had to be switched manually from red to green, and vice versa. Even those operating properly were typically supervised by anywhere from one to three police officers who put in long hours directing people to proceed on green and stop on red. Regrettably, they never fully developed an effective system of hand gestures to represent the intricacies of yellow, leading to thousands of dollars worth of damage and more than a few injured mules.

Before the arrival of holographic images outlining each country’s economic details and annual Reality TV revenue, nations used to differentiate themselves mainly through the use of multi-coloured fabric. These “flags”, as they were known, were usually carefully protected from any desecration, defilement or inappropriate handling of the type shown in this photo.

This primitive game of dexterity and steadiness is actually considered an early pre-cursor to today’s most popular professional sport. Known simply as “Jenga”, it was regarded as a trivial undertaking, normally only enjoyed under the influence of alcohol. However, while the basic tenets are similar there has been significant evolution from these humble beginnings to today’s “Titanium Robotic Death Match Jenga”, which results in hundreds of thousands of teen deaths each year.

While these scenes are eerily reminiscent of the controversial Low Intelligence Sterilization Pools of the late 60’s and early 70’s, this type of water-borne frolicking was, in fact, considered a fully acceptable form of entertainment at the time, even among grown adults.

One of the last remnants of the New York Yankees baseball franchise, the, this game-worn Aroldis Chapman warm-up jacket recently sold at auction for $75, with Brett Gardner’s estate narrowly losing out to the grandson of Chapman’s favourite parole officer.

Since the Incubation Mandate of 2035, all babies have been required to remain in germ-free Lego observation chambers up until the age of 7. Prior to that, however, parents were actually free to endanger their lives in almost any manner they chose. In fact, allowing “cool” parents to transport their babies on motorcycles served as one of the most effective population control methods of the early 21st century.

All-Day Drinking Decathlons were the world’s primary social activity from the early 2020’s until they were finally banned as part of the 2033 Aurora Cannabis Alcohol Prohibition Act. While many regional variations existed, all versions began with a traditional round of “Tippy Cup”. Unfortunately, all that remains of its popularity today are the indestructible plastic cups.

Sometimes people filled balloons with water and threw them back and forth.

This ardent decathlete demonstrates her uncanny powers of concentration, running in spite of the ball of cotton adhered to her nose by a large clump of Vaseline.

While this appendage may appear to be a large, slightly deformed male genitalia, it is, in fact, just a carrot tied to a string being used to propel a perforated plastic ball across an arbitrary field of play, in a manner designed to appear as though the participant truly is using a real penis.

In accordance with international obscenity laws, this scene cannot be shown to its conclusion.

The end of the competition was traditionally signaled by the torching of nearby corn fields.


Prior to the days of affordable cryogenics, custom cloning and holographic personality imprints, certain primitive humans believed that photographs could physically contain a person’s essence. While the superstitious naturally revered these portraits, most stopped short of actually trying to feed them.

This early form of communication was typically much more effective among a younger, more supple section of the population.

This sandwich contained an entire pound of dead cow flesh, covered with a fermented substance made from liquid that leaked out of a cow’s body. People used to eat that. Can you imagine?

An example of “long range visibility”, a term that rapidly faded from use after Southern Company was named Official Sponsor of Congress in 2024. Their “Coal Stove in Every Home” initiative is credited with many influential developments in the following years, including a massive spike in pick-axe sales, the re-emergence of black lung, and the wildly popular Acid Rain Festivals of the 30’s.

Previously believed to be extinct, in 2019 Volcán San Pedro surprised everyone by suddenly spitting up large quantities of blood and smoke. After being efficiently treated at no out-of-pocket cost, it remained sluggishly dormant for the next several years, only occasionally stirring to complain incoherently about universal health care.

Has anyone seen a sock that looks like this one?

All right, that’s it for today, class. For next week I would like you to read Chapter 14, “Antigua: It’s Mainly Churches and Foreign Cafés”, so we can discuss ancient uses of chicken blood in religious ceremonies and the corresponding rise in popularity of the latte.

For a comprehensive look: A Guide to Lake Atitlan

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