We met a fellow traveler, Jackie, at the scene of a gringo on gringo altercation that left one of the two involved unconscious at the bottom of a staircase… stairs leading up to a popular bar. A software developer living the life of a vagabond, Jackie answers that his place of origin is, “…for the last month San Pedro.”
As happens in tiny San Pedro, we bumped into Jackie a couple more times, and got a few tips about where to find decent, and affordable breakfasts and dinners. Top of his breakfast list was Fifth Dimension. After a couple of weeks in San Pedro, to not know the name or whereabouts of a business of any kind was an odd occurrence. Sue and I went looking for Fifth Dimension the following morning but were unable to find it, so we settled on having breakfast at a place called Shanti Shanti. Sue regretted the choice soon afterwards.
We bumped into Jackie again, who gave us more precise directions. He even showed us a photo saved on his phone of a special Fifth Dimension breakfast sandwich called “The Big Wednesday,” which he praised for both it’s taste and substance. The following morning was a Wednesday so we again went looking for the elusive Fifth Dimension restaurant. We followed the updated directions to the letter, but still we drew a blank.
We were standing in front of a series of closed, aqua painted metal doors set into a nondescript white building. It was 10:00 AM, the time we were told Fifth Dimension would be open. Maybe if we waited a few minutes… alas nothing. Only by chance did I look around the corner of the building to find a path leading to a stairway. There, at the top of the stairs, was a chalkboard sign hung in a tree announcing that the door there was the elusive Fifth Dimension. Jackie failed to mention that the restaurant he so praised was on the second floor, and that the entrance was hidden around the corner of the building.
We entered the door and found ourselves in a sort of kitchen, from where we were directed to the seating area. There’s only the one entrance to Fifth Dimension. Everyone entering files past the counter where orders are placed and then goes and finds a table. Food is brought to the table when ready.
Our plan had been to have a Big Wednesday, but the buns were made fresh daily in another pueblo and had to be ferried across the lake. They usually arrived around 11:00 AM. Hungry, we opted for a regular menu item, an egg sandwich. It was good, as was the coffee which I was surprised to learn was regular filtered coffee. I take my coffee very seriously and will never return to a cafe, coffee shop or restaurant that serves poor tasting or weak coffee.
Jackie arrived to have his Big Wednesday breakfast sandwich. When told the buns were still en route he chose to wait. I instantly regretted not doing the same because it was probably worth bearing hunger pains for an hour. It turned out I was seated in Jackie’s regular spot. I was gracious and relinquished the coveted spot that afforded the diner the best view of the lake. After all, it was his regular breakfast spot he was kind enough to share, and his regular table.
Jackie’s Big Wednesday arrived at his table. It was twice the size of the regular breakfast sandwiches, which were not small themselves. However, the Big Wednesday was heaped high with vegetarian delights. Sue and I definitely should have waited.
The difficulty of finding Fifth Dimension became a topic of discussion between myself and Mike, the owner of Fifth Dimension. He knew it was hard to find, and told me he was expecting a sandwich-board sign to place on the street that pointed to the stairs.Mike mentioned that the sign out front seemed to be placed too high for anyone to see. “There was a sign?” I asked myself.
I went outside to see this sign I had missed on two occasions. Looking up, way up, I spotted the sign affixed to the second floor terrace. It was, indeed, too high to be easily seen from the street below. As Mike said, “People never look up.”
The internet connection at Fifth Dimension is the best I have found in all of San Pedro, so we stayed on to take advantage of it.
Lunch rolled around, so we ordered a plate of nachos to share. It did not take Sue and I long to discover that in Central America it is unwise to order individual plates of nachos. They are massive, and it is not polite to leave copious amounts of food to go to waste. Such was the case with Fifth Dimension’s nachos, which turned out to be a house specialty. We had vegetarian nachos, which admittedly are not my first choice. I eat mostly vegetarian when traveling, but was craving meat for some reason.
Whether or not the sandwich board makes it easier to find Fifth Dimension or not, it’s well worth the search. The food is good, the lake view fantastic, the atmosphere great and as a place to just sit back and chill there is no better. Everyone who visited Fifth Dimension while we were there joined in a conversation about their travels and where they hope to go eventually. Even couples, who obviously were more into keeping each other’s company than talking to strangers, participated before moving off to a shaded table where they could enjoy the fabulous lake view and each other.
8th Calle, Zona 2
San Pedro La Laguna, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala