The challenge is not to act automatically. It’s to find an action that is not automatic.

To start off my journey in Guatemala, I’d just like to thank Oscar Isaac (who was born in Guatemala) for his recent rise to fame, allowing me to use relevant quotes for my post titles. Otherwise, I would have been pretty lost. It’s the little things.

But my flight went relatively smoothly. Sat next to an older guy from Northern NY who was a Harvard-educated psychologist and now visits Guatemala and Nicaragua a lot. He knew Spanish and was pleasant enough, so we grabbed a transport to Antigua together. Maybe I’ll see him around.

Antigua is way “nicer” than Nicaragua. They have a Wendy’s and everything. And actual stores with things in it you can buy. My hostel is pretty good, nice Wifi, pretty quiet, no complaints. I got some Guatemalan quetzals and suffered (due to my poor Spanish and his poor English) through buying a SIM card right away, so I’m off to a good start at least.

But all I really did was wander around the city. Here are some pictures of it.

Bushes and a statue
San Franciscan thing
Society of Jesus, or part of it at least
Old Spanish Building
Another old Spanish cathedral on the main square

And this is the famous Santa Catalina Arch that is used on all the pictures of Antigua or Guatemala in general.

Santa Catalina Arch
Site of the famous wine mixers
Santa Catalina Arch
People good at pictures get the volcano in the background

This is La Merced church and the fountain outside of it.

Government building
Most of the nice things are churches
Main square in Antigua Guatemala
Main square in Antigua Guatemala

I had a beer on Cafe Sky’s terrace and got a little work done as well. This was the view of the volcano and San Franciscan monastery from there.

View from Cafe Sky
View from Cafe Sky

I hung out with a few people from the hostel a couple nights, and one of them had met a girl who was coming back down to visit that had lived here for a year, so she took us around several places and was very helpful.

She brought us up the hill, Cerro de la Cruz, which overlooks the city and provides some nice views. Here is one of those views.

Cerro de la Cruz
It’s nice if you like views and stray dogs

Then she took us to an authentic Guatemalan place for lunch and we ate a bunch of things. Lots of guacamole.  I don’t remember the name of the place though. Or most of the other things we ate (or that they ate, rather). We then went on a terrace tour, having a few beers and looking out over the city and volcanoes.

More pictures from that terrace
Pretty good views for a hostel
Another terrace bar
Classy establishment that we just looked around inside

Later that night, she took us to a very tiny, very weird bar. It was fun, and I think the decorations were just things they found on the street when they were building the bar.  It was called the Por Que No? Cafe, which just became our response to most things for the next couple days.

Some weird bar
Decorations stolen from a Portlandia skit

I was staying at a hostel across the street from Cafe No Se, which was a great bar we went to a couple times. It was also a bookstore. So we did some guaro sampling (a Guatemalan liqueur) and local beer drinking, making it an enjoyable weekend.

Before I had to leave, a couple of us hung out and did some work/planning at Cafe Refuge (there are several good coffee shops with internet in them).  And then I jumped on the shuttle to San Pedro La Laguna for my month on Lake Atitlán.

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