To Infinity and Beyond

Trip Start Mar 11, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Umma Gumma hostel

Flag of Guatemala  , Western Highlands,
Saturday, March 3, 2012

Being back in Antigua is strangely comforting in its familiarity, gringos and all. Over the last 5 months we worked our way north through Guatemala (with our new travel buddy, Manuela), up and down Mexico, briefly into Belize and then back into Guatemala. 

We have come full circle, or more like a tilted figure of 8? To infinity and beyond!
The locals seem friendlier this time round. Have they changed or have we? Speaking more Spanish means we feel more at ease to make small talk. More confident in communicating our needs and in negotiating. UmmaGumma hostel had increased their prices since our last visit but name-dropping meant we could still secure that price. Two Lee-isms came into play here - "You don't get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate" and remembering names is key!

Business is thriving. The 30 minute traffic jam of Guate City party-goers headed into Antigua should have tipped us off. A new branch of Pollo Campero (the local KFC-equivalent) has opened and there are more street stands now featuring BBQed meat, yay! The town seemed busier than we recall. Perhaps because the rainy season is over. Perhaps it's the build up to the biggest festival of the year, Semana Santa (Holy Week). 

Every Sunday during Lent the locals lay down temporary works of art on the streets aka "alfombras". As the procession passes the kids clammer over each to collect the fruits, vegetables, leaves and flowers that make up the carpets. Right at the end the garbage truck with 8 broom-yielders clean up the mess with impressive efficiency. The funniest site was seeing tiny, skinny ladies balance a heavy wooden float of the Virgin Mary on their shoulders, swaying from side to side, nearly crashing with each sway. Cameras at the ready!

Other than that, it's a very solemn affair indeed.

Antigua was the agreed meeting point for the reunion - Lorraine, Jerrod and Denise from our Belizean sailing trip and Charli and Megan that we've met at least 3 times in 3 countries since Isla Holbox. Turns out these two sets of buddies met in Lanquin and headed over to our hostel in the same shuttle (!) bringing along a new buddy for us! Gigi from California. Yeah, lets take over UmmaGumma! All too soon it was time to say goodbye but first we managed to squeeze in a mini-hike to the lookout point. 
We made another two new buddies, Nandita and Gabriel from a small town in Washington state called Sequim (pronounced Squim!). They both work on an organic farm and passionately educated us on the joys of different veggies, in particular, the super-veg called kale. How timely this info turned out to be...
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