Clay arrived Friday. I met him at the airport and we caught a shuttle from there straight to Antigua. We had lunch and waited for our hostel to pick us up.
That night we stayed at Earth Lodge, an avocado farm/hippie hostel high above the city.
They had a nice cat.
And a good view at night.
Dinner was communal style, so we ate with a guy who’s been living in Quetzaltenango (Xela) for 4 years running a stove business he owns, a girl volunteering with a non-profit group funded by QuetzalTrekkers, and a guy from Louisiana who was in the country for 2 weeks attending yoga retreats. After meeting almost no Americans in SEA, it was odd to me to have a table full of them.
The next morning we had a great view at breakfast before hiking back out to the main road to catch a shuttle back into town.
Once in Antigua, we hit up the local market. It was huge, and sold everything from tortillas to machetes and clothes to Christmas lights that played music.
Bizarrely enough, the guy from Louisiana walked into the frame while Clay was taking this panorama of me. He was leaving to catch a flight home that night.
One of the streets in town was named after the Inquisition, and had a properly morbid image illustrating it.
I don’t think I’ve seen a single cop car yet. They’ve all been pickup trucks or SUVs. Which makes sense, given the condition of the roads.
Plenty of photo ops.
There is a popular hill overlooking the town that we decided to walk up to. On the way, we passed another, more traditional market in front of one of the churches destroyed by the earthquake.
I’d say 50-70% of the women in large cities, and virtually all the women in small towns, still wear what is considered traditional dress. It’s exceptionally vibrant, and I’ve been told the colors and patterns can indicate where the wearer is from.
The view from the top of Cerro de la Cruz. Apparently it used to be a hot-spot for robberies, so it’s now patrolled by tourism police.
On the way back, I photographed an impromptu skateboard session in front of another ruined church.
When he saw me taking pictures, this kid threw on the santa hat for a few runs.
We ended the day with a walk back to the hostel and some photo editing, before deciding our hostel was crap (we had booked in advance, and when we arrived our room smelled like a rotting gym locker, one of the girls sounded like she had bronchitis, there was one working shower for 30+ people, and a sketchy local dude was hitting on all the women and sneaking around like he wanted to steal things) so we walked across town to Hostel Holistico.
It was quiet, clean, and very beautiful inside, and the owner took everyone interested out on a bar crawl that culminated in dancing in the local trendy club. It was fun, but we were exhausted and had a 5:30am wakeup for our volcano hike the next morning, so we called it a night at 12:30 and went back for some sleep.
Updates about the volcano hike and our 3 day trek coming soon!