A Reuinion with my Amiga Pequeña

Trip Start Nov 15, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Guatemala  ,
Friday, March 16, 2007

I was so excited to return to Guatemala especially because my French friend Isabelle would be at the airport to meet us. Despite her diminutive stature, we spotted her right away wearing even a backpack (in feminine pink) and travelling clothes with a certain "je ne sais quoi". Despite having had a hectic trip from London and a visit to Tikal in Northern Guatemala, she was in great spirits

We talked non-stop during the 30 minute taxi trip to Antigua while Ed practiced his Spanish conversation skills with the driver (captive audience!). The street lights flattered Antigua at night with its cobbled streets and multi-coloured pastel colonial buildings. Our accomodation booked sight-unseen was at Casa de Don Ismael and turned out to be a good choice. The three of us shared a room, so it had a slight school camp feel. We would try to stop talking to go to sleep but someone would start laughing and talking again.

The Hotel building was a few hundred years old, but immaculate. The man we assumed to be the owner had a quiet smile, grey wavy hair and bright blue eyes - quite unusual for a Guatemalan. Many visitors there assume his name is Don Ismael, but this actually refers to his wifeīs ancestors. Luis (rather than Don Ismael) looks like the cat who has got the cream. No wonder, he has a pretty young second wife, gorgeous baby girl and a thriving business.  (All this gossip gained from a local taxi driver, another benefit of speaking the lingo!) His wife also seems very happy as all her time seems to be spent playing with the baby rather than doing the dirty work.

Luis seemed to clean the bathroom after each time we used it as he had a slightly obsessive way of making the end of the toilet roll appear like an origami duck. It became a game of ours to see if we could get in and out of the toilet before the origami duck appeared but most times Luisīs stealth was greater than ours and the duck prevailed.

Took in the view of a conical volcano from our table as we breakfasted the next morning. Spent the day walking around town taking in the beautiful architectural sites alongside some atmospheric ruined churches.

One of the churches housed a museum in itīs dark damp vaults. The walls were covered in photos of people from the last 50 years or more who claimed to have received miracles from the saint (whose name I unfortunately donīt have to hand!). Added to this a corridor full of crutches, braces, walking canes, eyeglasses etc. desposited when not needed after the miracles ocurred was quite compelling. Even included in the museum were the clothes the saint had been buried in (in remarkable condition), nail-clippings - you name it!

To cap off a great day, we were totally shocked to see a nearby volcano by night with bright red lava streaming down the sides. Donīt know what was more intoxicating, this sight or the marijuana smoke from the Spanish hippies nearby.

Ed & I couldnīt help thinking we neednīt have done our all-hassle-included trip to see lava in Cost Rica when we could just see it from on top of our hotel building in Antigua!
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