Thursday, June 21, 2007

Guatemala Trip Report IV: Slowing Down in Antigua

Antigua, Department of Sacatepequez, Guatemala --

  1. You know you´ve moved away from the more remote areas of Guatemala when you´re now staying at a hotel two doors down from a place called (in English) "Cookies, Etc."
  2. You know you´re a bit travel disoriented when you discover you´ve switched your cheapie timex digital watch to setting for "alternative time" and you think it´s two hours earlier than it actually is.
  3. Antigua is a sleepy town, and especially so when it is two hours earlier than you think it is.

Having spent only 20 hours of the week I anticipate lounging here, I can report that Antigua has a small town Oaxaca feel. For those who like Oaxaca, but are scared off by the current political situation, I propose Antigua as an alternative, especially if you don´t mind the occasional killer earthquake. Last week a 5.4 or so hit toward the Pacific Coast and bounced things around a bit in Guatemala City. My friends there reported dinner tables bouncing and sliding, but nothing falling off shelves. This as they ran into the street frantically.

This news evidently hasn´t made the American media, as I have yet to hear from my Mom about it. That would take a 7.5 or more and the flattening of a town or two. Antigua would most likely be the first town so flattened, and I wonder if tourism is down a bit in town because of it. I was pretty much solo in my hotel last night.

At the same time, the collegiate Spring Break for Guatemalans is next week, and the Europeans will start vacation very soon, so I´m probably just catching a natural lull. It´s a very nice null to catch, especially after the rock star concert tour schedule of driving I participated in the first few days here. I figure a week of Antigua therapy should just about make up for the Keith Richards lifestyle of Nebaj-Coban-Tikal-Guate City, and at prices not too unlike those charged by actual therapists.

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