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GUATEMALA | Thursday, 14 November 2013 | Views [286]

Getting to where I am (Antigua, Guatemala) was a rough start. I don´t want to get into it, but between car troubles and lost taxi drivers I hope all my bad luck was used up back in the states. I was picked up at the airport last night by a driver from Maximó Nivel (the program I´m volunteering through) who didn´t speak a lick of English. He was quite nice though and helped me to get my brain back into Spanish mode. The drive from Guatemala City to Antigua was about an hour long. He spent a large chunk of the ride explaining to me the meaning of ¨tenango¨. You see, many cities or towns in Guatemala end with -tenango. Examples include Quetzaltenango, Chimaltenango etc. Apparently tenango translates loosely as ¨land of¨. This means that Quetzaltenango translates to land of Quetzales, which are the national bird of Guatemala. He also spoke passionately of Antigua, calling it the most beautiful city in the world. I haven´t seen very much of it yet, but from what I can tell it really is gorgeous. The streets are all cobbled and the buildings are very colonial. The biggest difference I´ve found so far between Guatemala and Costa Rica is that I haven´t been whistled at, pssst´d at or been called after with phrases such as machita, gringa etc. For me that is a welcome change. 

I have not been to my orientation for my program yet, and as such have not met anyone that I will be working with. And since the hostel I am staying at overbooked their dorm, I was given a private room and have not met anyone staying at my hostel either. I started my morning wandering around Antigua until I found a cafe that looked promising. I ordered a cappuccino and a chocolate croissant. The croissant was slightly disappointing, but the cappuccino was amazing. As I sat there enjoying my breakfast and people watching, a woman came into the cafe. It was impossible not to notice her, as she was enthusiastically greeting everyone she saw in Spanish with a strong southern accent. We started talking and she introduced me to a few of her friends. Unfortunately she is leaving for Nicaragua in the morning, but at least I know the people that she introduced me to. One of them helped me to get my cell phone working, so now I have a method of communication luckily.


I still don´t know my way around the city very well, but I have a map so I´ll figure it out. I have my orientation in a few hours, so we´ll see how that goes. So far Maximó Nivel seems to be very well organized. I hope to keep that impression as my time here continues. 


Well I´m off to explore some more, I´ll update as I can.

Tags: antigua


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