Not so much travelling as staying still...

Trip Start Jun 02, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Guatemala  ,
Thursday, April 17, 2008

OK so the travelling has sort of come to a halt for a while...  Why?  Well I just really, really like it here in Antigua!  I'm not exactly what it is about this place, but I get the feeling I could quite easily live here some day.

One thing that I know I like is Café No Sé, which is definitely my favourite bar in all the world - and I've been in more than a few!  They describe themselves as the sort of place that the likes of Charles Bukowski and Brendan Behan would want to drink in, and I think they've managed to achieve that.  Lit mostly by candles and with stray dogs running in and out, a second bar dedicated to the consumption of tequila and mezcal, live music whenever anyone turns up with a guitar, a clientele that's a reasonable mix of gringos and Guatemalans, and to top it all they serve damn good burritos too.  The conversation topics at the bar have in my short time ranged from the eating of monkey brains to Russian playwrights to what Buddha would really think of all those big golden statues in his honour.  In fact I think all those three were covered in one night last week!  All in all, a place where the literate drunkard can feel at home - and I do...

(PS Mum please don't take the reference to me being a drunkard seriously - artistic licence and all...)

I did go for a hike up a nearby volcano though, which was pretty impressive as it's an active volcano and, unlike in Costa Rica, we were actually able to go inside the crater.  Whether this was actually a safe thing to do or not is another matter, but such questions are rarely asked here in Guatemala - another thing I like about the place!

I also managed to spend a couple of days away from there though at the weekend, when I went up to Lago de Atitlán for a couple of nights.  Aldous Huxley described Atitlán as "really too much of a good thing" (another literary reference - see, this place really is bringing out the educated side of me!) and I'm not about to disagree.  The lake itself was formed when a massive volcano collapsed in on itself, and is now watched over by three smaller but by no means less impressive volcanoes, and when the sun's on the water it really is exceptionally beautiful

Anyway I went up there seeking a quiet weekend after the previous week spent propping up the bar in No Sé, but sadly this plan was hijacked by about 50 American Peace Corps kids on their weekend off, and the fact the the hostel I'd chosen to stay in always puts on a cross-dressing party on Saturday nights...  I resisted the temptation to join in for a while but eventually decided that when in Rome etc... Let's just say it wasn't a pretty sight (I mean if I'd known I'd have at least waxed my legs or something!).  There are a couple of pictures of me out there but thankfully they haven't surfaced yet.  I didn't have my own camera with me that night, as I couldn't find a handbag to match my dress...

Sunday was much quieter as the Peace Corps kids all went back to their projects around the country, and I was finally able to get a nice relaxing day in before returning to Antigua the next day.  Which was when my friend Treva decided she was going on a yoga retreat the next day, so did I want to take over her private room in the hostel and also her Spanish lessons - I decided I did, so that's me staying here in Antigua for at least another week, possibly longer.  I'd been thinking about taking more Spanish lessons anyway, so that was pretty handy.

Exactly what this is going to do to my wider travel plans I don't know.  I need to sit down and work out the money situation for one thing, but I should be OK for time - provided I can convince myself to leave Antigua before the end of the month, and that's far from certain...

One final thing - a couple of days ago there was an earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale about 100kms off the coast (about 150kms from here), and we felt it pretty strongly, buildings shaking all over the place etc.  Fortunately I had just picked my beer up off the bar to take a swig, so no damage was done.  In fact I originally thought it was the fajitas I'd had for dinner, but according to the news it wasn´t my fault, not this time at least... 

Next update will probably still be from Antigua to be honest, but I will try to find something more exciting to talk about than how much I love my local!
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