Day of Ruins
Trip Start Feb 01, 2012
21Trip End Feb 21, 2012
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A late start this morning. So late, in fact, that the maid came in to clean while I was still here uploading photos to yesterday's blog. I am off to the post office today but first I have to finish writing the post cards up. Maybe I will eat a few more walnuts and dates before I go out.
Did I eat breakfast first or do other stuff - I can't remember now, but I ate at the Cafe where we all ate several times before and had the Bon Giorno and a large coffee with milk in a big cup. I also went to the post office and got my stamps, went to the large local market and got 2 CDs, walked around the artisan market and got something there, including 4 more postcards. I also checked out the cemetery. It could have been better but was interesting in that it wasn't that old and seemed to have a lot of mausoleums without anyone buried there. I found another market with local people and crafts and walked through it but didn't buy anything and didn't take many photos
On the way back I looked for another church - Recoleccion - and found it. It had a 40 q admission fee that I paid to get in. I walked around and took photos of the ruins - they were quite picturesque and there were jacaranda trees and other plants that added to the pictorial quality. It was mostly deserted so I was taken by surprise when the first person popped up as I turned a corner. I was walking into the main church area when I saw a young man walk out from the back, then I saw 2 more young men coming out from the ruins. After a short time, 2 young women with dresses and head scarves came through and went into the back. Quite the traffic build-up now.
I walked back to the hotel, went to the Jade Museum, then continued on to try to find some more churches that I hadn't visited on previous walks. I didn't find them all - one (Santo Domingo) I was told had turned into a hotel - most were ruins. I think Antigua has more churches in ruins than actual active ones. I will have to try to match the photos with the names on the map I have. Just as I was beginning to think it was time to call it a day, I came upon the last cross mark on the map - the Capuchin Convent. It also had quite scenic ruins with lots of bougainvillea, jacaranda, and other tropical plants. Probably the most notable feature - whether true or not - were the niches that represent toilets. There were lots of small cells - some were larger with windows and views into the garden maybe - with a few alcoves, one of which had a grate on the floor and a shallow drainage line dug into the floor
I thought I visited more church sites and saw more ruins but I don't have any photos to recollect them. The major ones were Recolleccion and the Capuchin Convent.
Oh, I left out a short trip to the Casa des Artes - which had Guatemalan folk arts on display and for sale. I think it was more a gallery than a museum but the exhibits were nicely presented. There were 4 rooms: one of wooden carvings; another, of masks; of jewelry; and of textiles, mostly huipiles. The prices were quite high - in US dollars. They also displayed a number of books that gave info on the various Guatemalan craft arts. I learned from the curator that the costumes and masks were worn during Mayan dances at festivals, such as Corpus Christi.
After the church visits, I stopped at the hotel to reorganize and then went out for some food at the Pollo Compero. It is amazing to leave a tip at a fast food restaurant. I went up the street to check out the wine tasting but they were still getting ready and told me to come back in a half-hour or so
Corinna is a policewoman on the riot squad in Cologne with degrees in police work and law. She joined a friend bicycling from Argentina to Alaska on the Panama City to Guatemala leg of the trip. She didn't expect Central American to be so hilly. She also mentioned that it was not as friendly as South America had been for her friend. They had a really difficult time finding camping spots and her friend was on a strict budget so hotels were not an option.
We were joined by a young couple from SW USA. The husband is in the diplomatic corps and has been posted to Bangladesh, Mozambique, Afghanistan and now Guatemala. Can't remember if I am missing one. The wife - why can't I remember their names - is in health services. We all chatted - it was a nice little group - although I was sitting near Corinna so I ended up talking to her more than the others
I left right after the diplomat couple and Corinna the same time as I did. She went one way and I the other. I wobbled along the deserted cobbled streets wondering what time it was. The wine tasting place was supposed to be open until 10:30 pm. I walked to the square and then back a block to my hotel street because I wasn't sure how deserted the other street would be. I had to knock on the hotel door to get in. It was very quiet and I didn't meet a soul on my way to the room, but once I was in, I heard someone traipsing by noisily.
I checked my emails - responded to Clare and David - and wanted to do my blog entry while it was still fresh in my mind. I probably forgot something major. If I have photos, I could remember it and add it. If not, oh, well. I did a lot more today than I expected so I have a lot more photos, but they will have to wait. It's only midnight now but I have to get up early to pack.
I am back home now and so bummed! I didn't have an sd card in my SLR camera when I thought I was taking all those photos - so many - of all the places I visited this day. I just have a very few on my Lumix. Oh, well. I should have learned after my experience in Iceland. Now that I have the netbook, when I upload photos, I keep forgetting to put the sd card back into the camera and the SLR doesn't warn me that there is no card unless I review a photo (and I don't tend to do that) and there is no memory to save photos on the camera.