Thursday, March 16, 2017

Antigua, Guatemala

Hola! I am currently in Antigua, Guatemala and I am loving it! I got here last night landing at Guatemala City which is the capital, before transferring to Antigua. The city is pretty and very tranquil and its actually been designated as a UNESCO world Heritage Site. Many tourists who come to Guatemala base their stay in Antigua rather than the capital city Guatemala, then travel to other areas within the country. Antigua used to be the capital city but because of an earthquake that caused destruction, the capital got moved and is now Guatemala City. I had heard very good things about Antigua so that's why I decided to base my stay here and travel to other cities within the country. I am glad I made that choice because so far I am liking this place a lot!

Today being my first full day here I decided to walk around the city and explore my surroundings before embarking on other adventures elsewhere. It was surprisingly a bit cold and gloomy and the family I am staying with was mentioning that the weather has been really strange of late as the current condition isn't what is normally expected during this time of the year......Global Warming is real! anyway, this city is not very big and you can actually cover a good chunk of it very easily. The roads are made of cobblestone which I find pretty, you just have to be very practical with the shoes you wear. The sun did manage to come out for a little bit and this brightened up everything so I took advantage and took several pictures......enjoy!

This is how the roads look, they do add character to the city but if you love wearing high heels, then it can get a bit tricky.

How cute is this car??!! and the surrounding colors.

There is no shortage of ruins in this city, beautiful ruins that is........

Do you want to know where old American school buses go to retire? look no further than the public transportation in Antigua.

Never a shortage of the cutest spaces such as this.

I am staying with a local family that I found through airbnb and their hospitality has just been amazing. The house is pretty, I get three meals a day, my own private room, hot shower, towel and the chance to interact with a Guatemalan family. All these for $13 a night! I mean, c'mon what's not to like about my current arrangement? I love it! let me take you on a short tour of my current living situation.

This is the entrance to the house.

The courtyard

The hallway to my room

Right outside my room

My room, the bed is super comfortable and everything smells fresh as in you can tell the beddings were recently washed and not only the sheets but the cover as me, I have had nasty experiences with this before that's why I am very picky with beddings.

That's it folks, my first full day was well spent and tomorrow being my birthday I have a full day planned to celebrate in my own special way. Stay tuned!

Random Thoughts of The Day:

In as much as I am enjoying this trip on my own, I really do miss my husband terribly and I am actually looking forward to the day I go back home to be with him.

I have heard Antigua is really safe so that puts me at ease. Guatemala City is another story, everyone is telling me its not safe especially if you don't know your way around. The family I am staying with connected me with a guide who will show me around Guatemala City, I am just curious to see what the city has to offer and perhaps compare it to Antigua.

I have to say the roads from the airport in Guatemala City to Antigua were very smooth, I don't know what I was expecting and why this stood out so much to me but all through my ride from the airport I just kept thinking, "these roads sure are smooth!"

So I was chatting with Maria the mother of the house who she is actually from El Salvador but moved to Guatemala after meeting Manuel her husband who is Guatemalan. Anyway, she used to work as a nurse and as we got to chatting the topic moved to gender issues. She was saying how the poorest families are the ones she observed had the most kids despite not being able to feed themselves let alone the kids. I asked her could it be that they were too poor to afford contraceptives and she said that the government did provide means for them to get contraceptives for free even but machismo is super strong in poorer families so men feel like using contraceptives will emasculate them and they force their women not to use them either. The women being so scared just go with the flow even if they don't want any more kids. No matter how much the nurses tried to educate them they just couldn't get through.

I am amazed at the ease at which I can move around and interact with people without restraint. This is of course due to my Spanish which by the way has garnered a few compliments here and there. Today as I stopped at the local bank to conduct a transaction and at the local pharmacy to get some medicine (all these conducted in Spanish), I had a moment where I thought, "'Oh my goodness! I have come from far, from the days when I was too scared to go to a restaurant to order food or buy something from a shop because my Spanish sucked to now, when I can speak Spanish with a fluency that I never imagined possible." I am super impressed with my self.  I swear drop me in any Latin American city (that is safe) and I will find my way out easily.

My husband is currently learning English and is going through the same frustrations I did when I first started learning Spanish, I always remind him of my situation to show him that at first it may seem impossible but with time you will get it. I am a good example of this.

Did I ever mention how much I love airbnb? I feel too old for hostels and hotels tend to be a bit more pricier for me who likes to save a buck when I can. Airbnb gives me so many options and I have actually made several friends that I still keep in touch with, through the site.

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