Posts Tagged Antigua

Al Final de Antigua

Posted on July 3, 2010 by 3 Comments

We’re finally out of here. It’s time to figure out how to tie the new bike to the roof and hit the road. Here are just a few final words on a city we really liked.

Volcanoes!

It’s called Antigua for a reason. Everything is crumbling. There are probably 30 ruined churches in this tiny town.

Everyone here is really really nice.

For some reason, every time I walked into the town square I was openly offered weed by one of the shoe-shine boys. Everyone else seemed to be getting their shoes shined.

The little tiendas don’t have much inside, but are exceptionally well-organized. I’ve never seen anything like it.

We’ve had some of the best and most thoughtfully-prepared food here as anywhere on our trip. The plethora of excellent restaurants here is likely unparalleled elsewhere in Central America.

In two weeks, we stayed in 5 different places. We looked at at least 20 more. If you need a recommendation, just let us know.

Here is where I realized that I’m turning gray (early!) and there’s no more denying it (thanks Mike!) I’d be way more comfortable with it if it weren’t for the impending streak. Regardless, I will continue to act immature.

If you come in the summer, bring an umbrella. And a jacket.

I met Kristin at lunch one day at Y tu pina tambian and I had the keys to her apartment before dinner. It’s not what you think, but I’m going to tell the story that way from now on – and probably embellish it. It’s sort of a cushion for that going-gray thing.

Thanks again Kristin!

Oh, and be sure to drop by the Ocelot and say ‘hello’ to Shaun.

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Back to School

Posted on July 2, 2010 by 3 Comments

We’ve been lingering in Antigua because:

1) we met my dad here

2) it’s really really nice

3) we’ve met lot’s of really cool people

4) there’s an amazing food scene (really, Julie!)

5) we decided to go back to school

Actually, since we are pretty much up to date on the blog, we are now actually almost finished with our first week of school.

The school is an interesting place – part of it is built into a ruined church. All of the ‘classrooms’ are built especially for one-on-one instruction and my little cubby is outside under one of the iglesia arches. It’s kind of odd being instructed outside exposed to the elements, but it does give us plenty to talk about when a big storm blows in.

I thought I had started out really well and was pretty confident that I was going to learn a lot here. Heck, today I had a two hour conversation with my maestra about all sorts of things. From local zoning laws, her whole family history, legalizing drugs, politics, environmental issues – you name it. She did most of the talking, but hey – I understood it.

We had imagined going to school here for several weeks. But, for some reason, we are now feeling like we are done with it. We like the school and the teachers, but sometimes it’s just time to move on and we all feel it’s time to go. We’re also starting to make some plans to meet up with folks farther down the road, so we’re getting anxious to start traveling again.

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Now that’s using your head

Posted on June 30, 2010 by No Comments

I carry around a ridiculous amount of stuff in my backpack. No wonder my back hurts. Maybe I just need to distribute the weight better.

I’ve seen women carrying their loads like this for quite some time and I’m used to it. Then, my mother-in-law says something about it, and I realize I don’t think there are any women in in U.S. carrying their Trader Joe’s load on their head.

Also, some folks have reported problems connecting to our Facebook page… we think it’s fixed. Let us know if you still can’t see it!

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Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Posted on June 29, 2010 by 5 Comments

Jason’s parents found The Ocelot, next to our hotel. The restaurant/bar had just opened a few weeks ago and owner Shaun, from Wales welcomed us immediately. The proximity, food and familiar faces kept us coming back each day or evening for a drink or meal.

This town is small enough that it doesn’t take long to start recognizing people on the street and everyone is keen on  becoming friends quickly. Now, like Norm on Cheers, when Bode walks into The Ocelot, people all say “Bode!”

On one visit, Shaun attempted to show Bode how to play backgammon. Every table had either a backgammon or checkers board painted on it. Bode is getting quite impressive at checkers, but taunts his opponents a bit too much.

The grandparents were sad that they missed Bode’s 5th birthday, so they planned a surprise party for him at the Ocelot. He’s got a shiny new bike and we can hardly keep him off it.

Jason and I had a night out without Bode, and guess where we spent the majority of it? And, when Jason’s parents left and we went out for dinner, Bode still begged to go back. Of course we had our regular places back home. But, it’s funny how after only a week in one city we can already have a spot where we are the regulars. Creatures of habit, I suppose.

A few nights there was live music, so we’d pop by to see what was going on. Bode was quite at home in this place and several times left our table to go speak with women at the bar. He finds the English speakers immediately, climbs up the bar stool and starts talking. We’re not sure what he says, but usually they laugh. Eventually, one of us has to go pull him away, but he’s really impressed his grandparents.

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Jason’s parents found The Ocelot next to our hotel. The restaraunt/bar had just opened a few weeks ago and owner Shaun, from Wales welcomed us immediately. The proximity, food and familar faces kept us coming back each day or evening for a drink or meal.

The first day Shaun attemped to show Bode how to play backgammon. Every table had either a backgammon or checkers board painted on it. Bode is getting quite impressive at checkers, but taunts his opponents a bit too much.

A few nights there was live music, so we’d pop by to see what was going on. Bode was quite at home in this place and several times left our table to go speak with women at the bar. He finds the English speakers immediately, climbs up the bar stool and starts talking. We’re not sure what he says, but usually they laugh. Eventually, one of us has to go pull him away, but he’s really impressed his grandparents.

These grandparents were sad that they missed Bode’s 5th birthday, so they planned a surprise party for him at the Ocelot. What does every kid living in a van need? A bike!

Jason and I had a night out without Bode, and guess where we spent the majority of it? When Jason’s parents left this weekend and we went out for dinner, Bode begged to go back there. Of course we had our regular places back home, but it’s funny how just a week in one city can make you crave the familar.

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Antigua Days

Posted on June 25, 2010 by 3 Comments

This a  beautiful town to lounge around. It’s small, so it’s easy to get acquainted (9 blocks by 9 blocks.) Cloud-covered volcanoes hover over the crumbling town and it’s cobblestone streets. Aimlessly wandering the streets doesn’t disappoint, no matter which calle or avenida you are on. There are cafes on every corner, so frequent lingering is mandatory. Every so often the clouds clear and you realize there is a massive volcano directly in front of you.

It’s also a great place to meet up with the famalia. My dad and step-mom came to visit  – not to see us, of course – but to see Bode.

He was in heaven and has been spoiled every day. Candy for breakfast? Sure! Ice cream for dinner? Why not?  I’m exaggerating, but only a little.

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On to Antigua

Posted on June 24, 2010 by 1 Comment

After a few days of sitting in the rain at Lago Atitlan, we decided to go sit in the rain in Antigua. In Atitlan, we met Kyle and Justin – two other folks driving down to Argentina. Their ride of choice was a ’74 Chevy camper van. The beast actually has an oven and 4-burner stove inside. They’ve never used it. There’s no telling what this thing weighs, but they claim they have lost 50 pounds in rust since they left. I took a look at their rocker panels and I don’t doubt it.

They were headed to Antigua as well, so we followed until we got lost.

The rain had made the waterfalls really rage on the roadsides, and we drove through more and more landslide debris and road and lane closures. It was still a nice ride. Once we were up and away from the lake and the weather cleared, we pulled over for a nice view of the volcanoes ringing the lake. Nice.

This is also where we learned that stuffed squirrels make a great roadside souvenir. We decided there was no room in the bus.

After an hour or so diversion in Chimaltenango due to construction and detours (where we lost Justin and Kyle,) we finally made it to Antigua in late afternoon. Although the weather is nice and mild, there’s no real camping around here. Several folks mentioned camping at the police station, but we deferred and decided to get a room.

Since parking is a big deal here (never leave your car on the street overnight is the overwhelming recommendation of everyone) our hotel actually allowed us to pull the bus into the hotel lobby, where they closed the gates behind us. We barely fit. All I had to do was move it back out when the first guests woke up and were ready to leave the next morning.

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Filed Under: Guatemala