|ALOHA ALL: I promised you one more port. We've added Guatamala to our many countries visited, as well as Columbie & Aruba on this trip. Well, I usually check CDC when we travel internationally. If I had, I would have found that this area is Maleria prone.As soon as I heard this in the port talk, I instantly went to the 'Cove' and bot strong insect repellant. My "OFF" must be still traveling between HI/AZ! Thankfully, I can report neither of us were bitten. Now to our ahore excursion:
We had debated whether to take the shore excursion we had booked to Antigua, the origianl Spanish capitol of the are, which has mostly a Mayan culture. We decided not to let this one pass us by, that since we were buying only the trans, not a tour, we could pace ourselves, see what we wanted, and return to the ship. It was 1 1/2hr bus ride each way, and they were modern a/c touring busses.We were dropped off at the 'jade factory'. A Tucson rockhound re-discovered the jade in the area which the Mayan had mined, and she has a marvelous business going. The jade is a heavy dark green to black/green color, not the clear apple green we are used to in HI. All pieces set in silver, I passed that by.
As we left this area, we were 'pestered' by a young man selling flutes. He started with $10 each, and after several blocks, bot for the Grandsons 2 for $5. They are carved and quite nice, but not worth $10bucks. I hope their Mom doesn't mind too much. "No Gracias" only works when they speak Spanish, most of these indiginour people spoke their own language. We popped into haciendas which had been turned into charming botique shops, art galleries, even cafes. One such place was Cafe De Condessa, and we took our lunch: tomato quiche, a panini, and the most delicious raspberry cake EVER! The whole bottom layer was soaked in raspberry juice to satuation point without spilling out of the cake, then a layer of lovely icing, then a layer of yellow cake, and more icing. It was nearly a hand-high! Something to share with you-as we shared each bite!
Antiuqa was established early 1500s, and lasted until 1773 when a massive earthquare destroyed the town. In the late 1971 it was one of the first declared World Heritage Sites, and so has been undergoing some restoration to be kept to the period. I wish they would do away with those blasted cobblestone!! But, we stayed on our feet.
We visited the Cathedral, town Plaza, and went looking for a particular building, which happened to be closed, as donated to Sisters of St Francis, who use this marvelous mansion/hacienda as a retreat center and have not reopened it to the public. Someone should tell Fodor!Maybe me!! We looked across the street and there was a woman sitting and weaving in the old traditional manner on a hand loom. We went over, looked at her work and she had taken a strip of weaving, and affixed it to a t-shirt-now David's. She let us take a pix of the loom-work. I really didn't want to take one of her. These people are shy, and don't like their pix taken, so the port guide told us. By this time it was getting hot, so we headed to that jade factory. On the way, we saw a broken bus. Sure enough it was one of the independant ones, not ours. We later met people who had to wait for a bus from Guatamala City (new capitol) and they said it was not a/c & miserable.
We're glad we did this trip and at our own pace. A thought to those of you cruising-take the independant transfers and make your own way. You never know what you'll discover.