Coban Travel Blog› entry 11 of 36 › view all entries
October 20th, 2008 – by: mrpibba
I caught a shuttle bus to Antigua yesterday morning, en route enjoying a joint, then a liter of milk and a divine slice of chocolate-caramel cake, reunited and sharing hightimes-hilarity with Paola, a lovely Italian I'd met in Livingston weeks before.
Not only that, but two North Carolinian girls inquired about my Davidson sweatshirt, kickstarting a conversation in which I realized I'd had beers with one of the girls at the Brickhouse, a restaurant-bar back home, a week before this travel began, that she is a good friend of my (currently displaced) fellow adventurer, Jackson, and his sister.
Antigua is a beautiful city, architecturally spellbinding, but it is far from a real representation of Guatemala. Money reveals itself in European sports cars and candlelit dining, a far cry from the favela buildup lining highway hillsides through Guatemala City. Still, my first night here I was offered a job at a restaurant gearing up for tourist high season, so swimming through this volcano-encircled tourist sea for a few months is an option. There is a fabled bakery here, offering an assortment of breads, most importantly pan de banano in cinderblock sized loaves. And cheap dining exists lining central park -- food carts steaming and smoking midday, meat sizzling and tortillas frying, crowded by camera happy tourists and hungry locals jostling for cartfront position. Yesterday's lunch cost me Q$18: a pupusa con queso covered in a colorfully piquant chili of chunked onions, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower; and two tortillas hidden by black beans and steak, then covered with their own array of sauces, topped off by a generous portion of the aforementioned chunk-veggie chili, a popular condiment throughout Central America, often offered jarred on restaurant tabletops.
Today I'm hiking Volcán Pacaya, Antigua's active volcano. Safety regulations don't exist here, and a tourist in the lava is as quickly forgotten as a stench-free fart, his money collected pre-trek.
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