Friday, April 06, 2012

Day Four: Later

We were dropped off after the Ninos visit and had about half an hour to relax before our guide Giovany was coming to take us on a walking tour of Antigua.

It was fascinating to spend time with someone who knew the town so well and it's history and the history of Guatemala and the Mayan people. He is a trained Anthropologist and had a lot of interesting things to tell us.

We walked around the Cathedrals; there are so many here. Everywhere we went we heard a little more about the history of Antigua.

I can't recall any details precisely but the most important aspect of how easily the Catholic Spaniards dominated the Mayan was that so many of their symbols matched. The Catholics had crosses and so did the Mayans, they just symbolised different things.

It was also interesting to see the Star of David and other Jewish symbols incorporated into the stonework in some of the churches. The priests were coming during the Spanish Inquisition and some were Jews pretending to be Catholic to escape persecution but taking their own religion with them.

The children were fascinated to go down into a crypt under one of the cathedrals which was used as a bone receptacle for bones dug out of the cemetery. I think they were slightly disappointed not to find a pile of bones still there.

After all that heavy history and culture a little retail therapy was in order and Giovany took us to the Jade Factory (obviously a must on all the tour guides itineraries - we went there in 2000 and here we were back again). Of course I had to buy a few trinkets, just to help the economy of course.

We returned home for another brief rest before heading out for dinner with our new friends, an American family staying at another house in our complex. The kids have hit it off with their son P (who in many ways is an older, male version of Miss M). They are gorgeous people from North Carolina and it's been fun getting to know them...and a playmate for our two monkeys is an additional bonus.

Dinner was at the fabled Frida's (thanks for the tip Rebecca) and it didn't disappoint. Their big tables were full so the children had their own table next to ours. Because P speaks very good Spanish due to being in a Spanish immersion program at his school he took charged and helped our two order. They were beautifully behaved, ordered, ate and played without asking for anything all evening. Bliss.

We walked home through the mild Antigua evening; Miss M and P holding hands. There is a constant carnival atmosphere here this week and lots of people out on the streets, particularly around Parque Central. So walking home feels safe and enjoyable as we mingle with tourists and local families, all out enjoying themselves.

It's Wednesday night and we are the end of three physically and emotionally tiring days. It's wonderful to think we have two "rest" days coming up before we head to Orlando.

No comments: