Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dia Uno- La Antigua

After a somewhat restless night of sleep, Leah and I spent the morning kind of bumming around, drinking coffee and looking like dorks sitting next to each other with our MacBooks. We certainly are nerds, and I love it that way.

This afternoon we headed out to La Antigua, a very old town about an hour outside of Guatemala City. This area attracts many tourists from all over the world, due to its incredible beauty and historical ruins. It is home to several of the best language schools in Guatemala, bringing in many students from all over the world. There are also several volcanoes surrounding the town, two of which still apparently spew some lava and smoke, but alas and alack, it was too foggy today and thus could not be seen.

What was seen, however, were brilliantly painted buildings. Incredible shades of yellow, orange, red, blue and purple assaulted your senses left and right, but in the best of ways. Women walked around dressed in traditional Guatemalan garb, some nursing their children right out in the open. They were stunning. Also to be seen were people sitting on the sidewalks, with a cup extended out in front of them, begging for a few coins. The drive to and from Antigua also showed a bit of the poorer side of the city, with people walking through traffic at stop lights with baskets and cups. While this is something that can be seen in the States, it still struck me hard.

We were able to take a horse and buggy ride through a section of Antigua, costing 10 Quetzals (approximately $1.25 USD). It was a beautiful way to see the sights of the town, without walking for miles. There were vendors on the streets, hocking their wares. We passed many BMWs, Volkswagons, and Suzukis on our ride, along with tourists galore all over the place. Women with their diamond jewelry, men with leather shoes. There were unbelievably beautiful hotels, restaurants that made me drool just smelling the food.

After roaming around the town for a while, being drawn by nearly every vendor in the mercados, we headed back to Guatemala City. On the way back, we passed over a bridge that overlooks the slum of La Limonada. It was dark at this point and hard to see, but the contrast between La Limonada and La Antigua was very clear. It was tourist rich versus local poverty. Tomorrow will be my first day heading into the ghetto, and I'm sure it will be even more consequential after my experience in La Antigua today.

I will be meeting my little girl that I sponsor through Lemonade International and I am so excited about that. How incredible is it to be to be able to put my arms around a small child that I am able to help! I can't wait:-)

Anyway, I will be posting pictures on once I have a chance to edit them. The photo above is of the Catholic church in La Antigua. Absolutely gorgeous!

Thank you for all of your prayers. I can feel them:-)


Cody S. said...

This may be the first time I feel any urge to get out of PA / the US in general...

I hope you're having a blast!