Thursday, November 27, 1997

I certainly was in no mood to travel today after a night of volcano climbing. I sent my laundry out to be washed and bummed around Antigua for a day.

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La Merced, Antigua

Looks pretty fancy, eh? Go inside and you'll find that it is pretty much destroyed thanks to all the earthquakes here. It is supposedly undergoing complete restoration, but they have a heck of a job ahead of them. There are supposedly many tunnels underneath where monks used to hang out, but a guide wanted $10 to let me see 'em. I declined.

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Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, Antigua

As the former capital of Guatemala, Antigua is blessed with all kinds of cool colonial stuff that somehow have survived all the earthquakes. When they moved the capital, they left behind all the good stuff. Unfortunately, too many people know what a gem Antigua is. Tourism is the main industry here.

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Can you spot the internet cafe on this street? That's what makes this city so cool- you don't see the tacky signs hanging everywhere. You can almost get lost in time in Antigua.

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Here I am, looking quite pleased with myself after buying a shirt from this little girl for $3.50

Her clever grin is probably because sometimes these shirts can be bought for $2.50. Notice the Burger King coffee at my feet: I hate to say it, but they have the best coffee in Antigua. Guatemala produces some great coffee, but exports all of it, and sells the lesser grade at home. It was also in Antigua where I had a coffee that was certainly made from tap water. I stuck with Burger King after that.

You know, I never got sick from anything I ate in Guatemala, but I saw something horrible I would like to share with you: I was having lunch with a mother and daughter who were trying to talk me into attending their spanish school. We were in a nice restaurant and the mother ordered a Caesar salad. It looked delicious, and I would have scarfed it down in less than a minute. She picked at it for 15 minutes, when right near the bottom we spied a tiny slug desperately trying to escape across a piece of lettuce. We all turned white. I guess it's a good thing she didn't put salt on her salad!

Continue to day 12.

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