Friday, March 18, 2011

Antigua, Guatemala

There's something deep in my core that tells me tomorrow is a better day to write that blog post or finish that project. That might have something to do (uh, everything to do) with my not posting for such a long time. I'm gonna leave the tendency chillin' in my core in case poking around might uncover some uncomfortable truth. That might not be pleasant!

In a more seriously serious vein, I am mesmerized and in shock and in total awe of what happened in Japan with the earthquake and tsunami. Watching the videos fills me with some kind of inexplicable wonder about the power of nature and the frailty of humankind in the face of it. I don't even know for myself what all it stirs in me, but I can't take my eyes of it. Any one of those towns being so devastated would be a fantastic tragedy, but to see the destruction on such a vast scale is just overwhelming. I'm in earthquake country now in Guatemala. 

You'd think it might make me take a step towards preparedness, but it hasn't. What's up with that. I'll tell you what it reminds me of. What, Broken Record boy? It reminds me of how we can live this temporary life, but not REALLY appreciate how fragile life is, and how tenuous our hold on it is. We know - but we don't know. I grew up in California, where you get used to earthquakes and don't really prepare. But one day, there's gonna be a BIG one, and we aren't going to be ready. And I'm not talking about earthquakes.

I'll write next time about my new life here in beautiful Antigua. All is well with me!


The arch is one of the more prominent landmarks in Antigua, and that "Volcan Fuego" (Fire Volcano) in the background. All the streets here are cobblestone, which means road repairs are typically a couple of old guys with a wheelbarrow, pick and shovel.
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Inside Panza Verde, one of the nicer hotels. Lauren and I splashed out and stayed here two nights. It's owned by an American guy, and I went there last night for a 10th anniversary party for a local charity.
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One of the MANY churches in Antigua that isn't in ruins. There are probably an equal number that are in ruins. I'll find out the numbers and get back to you!
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The ceiling dome of a church.
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A lifelike statue of Jesus inside a church.
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The walls of Antigua are famous for being old and colorful.
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This is inside the spectacular Casa de Santo Domingo, an incredibly beautiful hotel built on the ruins on a monastery. I happened to run into the videographer of NewsHour, who was here shooting stories about Guatemala for a week. They were shown last week. The 10 minute segments are here and here.
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These candles were set just outside a wedding ceremony in the same hotel
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A wedding at Casa Santa Domingo. Beautiful!
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A local bar/cafe has nightly live music. These two are both from the U.S.
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More soon...

(The End)


Rorysowner said...

I watched people last Friday go to the top of the 92/Skyline intersection for refuge from the tsunami and thought they'd be making better use of their time, gas, etc. if they had continued on down into San Mateo and stocked up their trunks with the basic emergency supplies because the real lesson from last week's tragedy here at home is that we will be hit with a big earthquake, and as you point out, we won't be ready.

Tom Pappas said...

Thanks for the shots. I have fond memories of Antigua.

Ron said...

Beautiful Photos Dave!

Kim Staking aka Phred said...

Kim forwards me your blogs. I was a missionary in Guatemala so I found your pictures interesting. When I was there Antigua was on the "do not visit" list for LDS missionaries (I had to settle for Tikal). It was ultra catholic, full of monasteries and convents (with a reputation for sexual abuse of the nuns). It was a place for high born women to go to high school in the convent. I had a Guatemalan assistant about a decade (who was educated in a convent in the 1970's) still couldn't bear to think about the treatment received from the nuns -- not the sound of music. I did get back to Guatemala on a work project about 8 years back and made sure to make the side trip. You captured the city very well. I hope that you will include some of the ruins before you go off -- they are impressive. I understand that Antigua was built as the capital by the Spanish and was destroyed in an earthquake. They rebuilt it and it was destroyed by an even
bigger earthquake. So they decided to move the capital to Guatemala City.

If you have a chance to be back at Easter (Semana Sancta), they put on a fairly grandiose celebration. Many of the streets are covered with sawdust which is colors and overlaid with flowers for the processions to walk over. You can find pictures on Google, but not many that are professionally done. There is nothing like it in the rest of Guatemala as far as I know. Make your reservations (or find a friend to stay with) right away.

Kim B. Staking

cmo said...

Expats enjoying the simple pleasures I gather. You do such a great job of photographing your environs and I do enjoy traveling vicariously with you. Have you left India behind or has someone captured you for the time being? I am feeling battered by all the natural and unnatural disasters in the world. I guess I am too much of a news junkie. Today a tornado took out a shed in Santa Rosa. Yes, Santa Rosa California had a tornado that did damage!! Crazy! Keep the photos and your musing coming.

Jen said...

Keep on telling us over and over! The repetition works for me!!!! Thanks for your post and beautiful photos!

ljoy said...

A wedding at the Santo Domingo! Any guess as to the price-tag there? Enough to cancel Guatemala's national debt, perhaps? I love knowing Americans are singing at the open mics in Antigua -- I'm next! xoxox, ljoy

Soniabressey said...

Hi Dave, Thank you for gifting us with more of your reflections and stupendous photos... The buildings reminded me of Managua, in Nicaragua - what a lovely memory... Keep it all coming :-)
Tons of love

Dave Adair said...

Thank you, lovely people, for your comments. And I appreciate you being more prompt with them than I've been in thanking you!!