Thursday, 20 November 2008

... Central America: Goodbye GAP

Our journey into Guatemala was yet another long travel day. Some of you are possibly sat here reading this post and thinking 'Crikey all she seems to have done in the last few days is sit on a bus'. Trust me, my buttocks agree with you and I have a severe case of numb-bum-itis.

The border crossing was uneventful aside from the fact we all got out and took photos. I can't say I have been to any other region in the world where they happily (well except for the one bloke at the Honduran-Nicaraguan border) let you take photos. I am also the proud owner of another stamp to my passport - we were all gutted when we didn't get them going into Honduras so made sure that wasn't the case here.

The scenery, like the previous three countries I have just whizzed through (wow it's a bit of a shock to the system seeing it in writing what I have achieved in such a short space of time), was breathtaking, beautiful, strange & shocking all in one. We got caught in rush hour traffic in Guatemala City and as a result quickly realised why it is an hour drive to Antigua from there. Sat stuck in traffic sat next to delapidated buses belching out toxic fumes ain't my idea of a good time. I return to the city tomorrow morning to catch a flight to Flores and then back again Saturday afternoon for one night before I return home on Sunday. I am hoping it will be a painless & perhaps interesting visit. Not many people have much to say about 'Guate City' that paints it in a positive light.

However, if you're into the Maya, mountains or markets, just to name a few of a million & one things that Guatemala has to offer then it's said that you will possibly come here and stay... or you leave and return. Within a mere few minutes of arriving in Antigua I knew that I would be returning.

Unfortunately, for me, all I can say is that Antigua looks great in the dark. I arrived in the dark and I depart in the wee hours of the morning, 4 am to be precise, when I am pretty certain it will still be dark. That's a real shame too because Antigua just oozes a sense of captivation. I suspect that I am a fool to be missing it and will no doubt long rue the fact that I didn't set aside an extra day to explore. As I sit here typing I am going over the possibility of doing a quick return before I fly home on Sunday but I suspect that'd be pushing it with the rest of my itinerary. Oh well.... I'll just have to come back another time.

Even in the dark Antigua's setting seems gorgeous.... a photo op at every street corner. Add to that the fact that it is surrounded by three volcanoes; Agua, Acatenango & Fuego, although I didn't get to see them. As we drove by Parque Central to our hotel I am pretty certain I heard a mariachi or marimba band playing. The latter has kind of a sentimental value for me as I played one during my teens back in Ol' Blighty!

Tonight is our last night together as a group before we all go our various ways. We're headed out shortly for one last night on the town hitting Rainbow Cafe for some good food and then onto Monoloco for some dancing to a live band (salsa I think?). The latter is apparently a place that everyone goes to until they can't stand it any more. Our leader happens to be Antiguan and so both of these haunts come highly recommended. There is, however, a nationwide law that states all bars must close at 1am but knowing the gang they'll continue to party long into the night....

And of course there was going to be photographic evidence!

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