Day Three in Antigua
Antigua Travel Blog› entry 2 of 9 › view all entries
Day Three, Sunday:
Since the bedroom assigned to me had no windows and the door was
solid, I had no idea what time it was, but because of the
stirrings I could hear in the house I knew that it was around 6
or 7 A.M. By the time I decided to flip on the light (after
laying around for an hour or so) it was 8:30. When I emerged
from the bedroom I found I was the only one at home. Everyone
else had gone to church. I found my breakfast, an omelet in kind
of an insulated container, and a thermos of hot water for coffee.
I used the stove to heat up the omelet a bit more and breakfasted
After a shower, I dressed and went into town. I actually had some
shopping to do. The night before had left me the definite
impression that I need a better pillow. The one I had (and I'm
sure the one everyone in Guatemala uses) is a simple pillow
shaped wad of cotton. It may have been fluffy at one time but it
seemed really solid and hard to me, ( just like the mattress,
(there were three thin ones stacked up). Anyway a pillow purchase
seemed inevitable. I also wanted a little rug for my room and
some thongs and some running shorts and some bottled water and
maybe some toothpaste and toilet paper just in case. At the
market I found myself not very interested in shopping and thought
maybe I needed some additional caffeine.
I had two delicious cups of coffee at the Cafe As emenou (don't
ask me how to pronounce it). The cafe had a really romantic
feeling about it. I sat at a little wooden table in front of a
window overlooking the cobble stone street. Above, the sky was
cloudy but occasionally a hole would appear and let some sun in.
I could catch glimpses of the top of the volcano directly south
of the city. I leisurely read and drank my coffee, after all, I
didn't have anything else to do until 8:00 the next morning.
After my coffee I ventured to Conexcion on the slim hope of a
reply to my E-mail message sent the day before. Of course there
was nothing. I then went to a nearby park where women sell
handicrafts and stuff and bargained for a pair of running shorts.
The final price: 2.93. I have another pair exactly the same at
home. Next, another more serious attempt at the market. I
purchased some thongs for $1.37, and a pillow and small rug for a
total of $6.89. and a small pen-type flashlight for 52 cents.
I returned to the house a bit embarrassed that I had purchased a
different pillow, but some how slipped it past everyone and into
my room. Carmalina, the Senora, fixed me a bowl of soup and some
chicken for dinner and we had some conversation, of which I
understood about a quarter. I asked if I could change rooms.
The night before the possibility of changing rooms came up,
when I arrived I didn't
even know that there were other rooms. As it turns out, the
house has three rooms set aside for students (but only one bathroom
for everyone). I asked to look at one of the others, and it was
clearly the best. Somewhat separated from the rest of the house
and the other two student rooms, it had one small screened window
facing the small courtyard ad adjacent to the kitchen. It was
almost twice the size as the other room and had a double bed.
Why wasn't I offered the choice of rooms in the beginning? I
think they were saving it in case a married-student-couple came.
I guess it has happened before. Anyway, I moved all of my stuff
into my new room and then decided to return to town to waste some
more time (like I am wasting yours reading this).
I returned to a place called "Cafe Cafe'" because I knew they had a television
with American broadcasts, but there was a football game on so I
really didn't care. I had another cup of coffee and decided to
return to the "casa" so I could go for a run before dark. When I
returned, No one from the family was home but a new student had
arrived. His name was Hiro (I think) and he was from Japan. He
did not speak , but spoke better Spanish than I did (and
that is not saying much.) We introduced and I excused myself for
a run. I went north on the highway out of town toward a pueblito
called San Felipe. A neighbor told me it was only 2 km and he
was right. I went a little further and came across another
little village. Jocotenengo. Both seemed very interesting. I
hope to get back soon. When I returned I showered again then
went to a little store next door and bought some beer and sat
down with Hiro and talked about everything we could with our
limited use of 1 common language (why can't everyone just speak it?).
45 minutes or an hour after our conversation began, the Senora
arrived with yet another student. His name was Dan and after a
couple of awkward Spanish speaking moments, I found out he was
from New Zealand and English was his mother tongue; thank god!
Dan and I tried to occasionally speak Spanish to keep Hiro in the
conversation, but Dan's Spanish vocabulary was very limited and
we soon began speaking entirely in . It was discussed
amongst the three of us that most likely no Sunday meal was
provided and I mentioned that I would wander into town for a
bite. Dan accompanied me. Hiro stayed behind.
Dan was a very interesting fellow. It seems that since New
Zealand is part of the British commonwealth, the Kiwis can visit
and work in any other commonwealth state with a visa that lasts
for 2 1/2 years. He is winding up his tour next month and
thought while he was in the Northern hemisphere he would take a
tour of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Belize before returning
to Los Angeles to take his flight home to New Zealand. He had
been working in London Banks and making trips from there for the
first two years. He said that is a popular thing for people his
age (24) to do, fresh out of college, because it's a one time
offer and you can't do it again.
After our dinner at a cheap hamburger joint (I had ham and
cheese) we returned home and I spent the rest of the evening
typing the very thing you are reading.