Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Antigua With My Sister

I purposely took the chicken bus from Panajachel to Antigua early in the day so I could spend some time walking around Antigua. I'd only been there once before and it was a very focused visit -- the fruitless search for glow bracelets! This time I got to wander the streets as I pleased, basically just following my curiosity.

The main part of Antigua is very easy to navigate. The city streets are in grids, and all numbered. The ones running east-west are calles (streets) and the ones running north-south are avenidas (avenues). The lowest numbers are in the north and east. The big volcano (Agua) that can be seen from almost every intersection is in the south. So you can't really get lost for more than a block! Plus, it's easy to remember where the Central Park is -- 5th and 5th.

Antigua has all these broken down churches, which are fascinating but also kinda weird. Why not restore them?
The classic Antigua shot of the Arch and Volcan Agua (water volcano).
The volcanoes were shrouded in clouds most of the time but my eyes were still drawn to them.
This is such a beautiful church! It reminds me of the one in San Cristobal.
The intricacy is astounding!
I highly recommended going inside the churches. Quietly, of course. 
Standing in the middle of the street. I always wonder how long those cobbles have been there. How many people have traveled over them? If rocks could talk!! :D
The Antigua market is HUGE! So much fun.
And I thought the Despensa in Panajachel was low class. Wow. (And they didn't have any kitty litter. Grrr.)
More run-down churches.
A not run-down church in the Central Square.
OMG the Antigua McDonald's on 4th Street is the most beautiful McDonald's EVER. Video on my YouTube channel.
Suzanne had booked The Feathers Hotel for us to spend the night, so I checked in there to have a rest after my walkabout. As I was flipping through Spanish movies on the TV, my phone rang. Suzanne's flight had been delayed by three hours and she quite ingeniously got onto Facebook at the Newark airport to appeal to my friends in Guatemala to somehow get a hold of me. Amazing Iva was the lovely friend who took the initiative to call me on my cell phone and saved me a boatload of waiting! (Thanks, girl!)
I contacted the shuttle service I had hired, Omega Car Services, and spoke with the fantastic driver who agreed to change our pickup time for a small increase in price. I mean, we were going into the city at midnight on a Saturday! Of course, I agreed to the price increase, just glad to have a reliable and safe way to get into the city and back out again quickly.
Outside the Guatemala City Airport at midnight! Big TV playing ads and also warnings about how you can go to jail for money laundering.
The arrival area in the airport is outside. I remember being shocked that people had to wait on the street to pick up their loved ones. Not very good planning, that. But watching people hug and laugh and cry when meeting passengers is super fun. And it was lovely and warm, so no complaints from me! Plus my sister arrived!!! YAY!!

We chatted like crazy all the way back to the hotel, then zonked out. We got up pretty early, considering our late night, and wandered the streets of Antigua. We spent a lot of time sitting near the church just chatting. We were treated to some amazing loud fireworks too! And a parade and a bicycle race. Always something going on in Guate. And this was all before noon. :)

The first picture I took of Suzanne. We went into a pretty church by our hotel and she did her morning prayer.
I took Suzanne to see the yellow church and we had breakfast from the friendly ladies cooking out front.
Don't be afraid of street food! This was Suzanne's breakfast. It was a breaded and fried chicken and veggie patty with guacamole and veggies and beans and all sorts of good stuff. We ate standing up near the fountain, using the ledge as our table.
At 12:30, we got in our nice shuttle for the beautiful drive to Panajachel. Much nicer than the chicken bus, that's for sure! And it was more restful time for chatting and catching up with mi hermana.

I've got many more blog posts to do about my sister's visit but they will have to wait until another day. It's Power Outage Day today! That means another day of doing chores and reading books and going outside. Yay!

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