A Cobbled History
Antigua to San Pedro, Guatemala
I enjoyed the rich Carribean history of Antigua; it is a beautiful tourist town with plenty of good restaurants and bars, but if your goal is to get in touch with the Guatemalan culture, it is not the place. Antigua is walking a razor thin line of pandering a little too much to the “cruise ship crowd”. It is somewhat expensive, but you can find reasonably priced, good accomodation and food. The central touristy part of the city is a great place to explore on foot, and the market is worth a walkthrough.
Bombs, which are intentionally shot into the air, erupt sporadically in Antigua (and throughout other parts of Guatemala - as we would later learn), and are startling to say the least, but eventually you will become accustomed to it - except to the ones that are of close proximity, which will give your autonomic nervous system a good testing. Initially I had thought they were vehicles backfiring, but later learned they are essentially mortars that are shot into the sky with the purpose of calling people to prayer, or to call attention to something worth celebrating.
A deep sleep following our rigorous ascent of Acatenango Volcano, yesterday. Our day today, would involve traveling to our homestay: a bus trip to Panajachel, a boat ride across Lago Atitlan, a tuc-tuc ride to our Spanish school Cooperativa, and a short walk to our homestay. Driving from Antigua was a good insight into how Guatemalan people live, who aren't directly involved with serving tourists in Antigua. The roads are in excellent condition, but very windy (motion sickness medication is a must for those who are prone). Guatemala is very clean, for a developing nation. It is a relief for the olfactory system that garbage is not burned on the sides of the roads, like in other developing countries.
In the evening, we met the family we will be staying with for the next few weeks, and wondered around San Pedro in search of food and to get our bearings. Our initial impression of the lake was disappointing, but the fog, and rain, and a large algae bloom, no doubt take away from its beauty. Our homestay is a clean place, and will be comfortable for a few weeks. There are no frills here, like hot water, but it'll do for our purposes. It is very inexpensive, so we are happy to be saving a little money, after spending more than we had anticipated that we would in Antigua. Spanish school begins tomorrow.