I mentioned in the last post how it’s difficult to fit everything into a monthly travel newsletter. I arrived in Guatemala on Wednesday night, have been here for only four days and I can’t fit it all in this post, so I’ll spread it out in the next few. Honestly, I haven’t exactly been seeking out excitement but sometimes you can’t help it when you travel.
For example I was looking for pretty simple activity when I ended up ridding on the back of a police motorcycle up a steep winding mountain road to get an amazing view of Antigua at “La Cruz”. Last time I was in Antigua I went to the police station and, so as to avoid getting mugged, they lead a large group on a nice short hike up a mountain to this view point.
This time Mathew, an English guy from my hostel, and I were directed to a different police station on the opposite side of Antigua where they had us jump on the back of their motorcycles. They drove us all through the cobble stoned streets of Antigua and then zoomed right past the hiking trail and up a road to the same spot as before:
It was amazing and it was very kind of them to do that specially for us but I had mixed feelings! It definitely wasn’t the safest thing to do without a helmet. And I don’t have great associations about riding on the back of police motorcycles up and down mountains in Latin American countries. But as you can see in one of these photos part of me was definitely having a good time!
Then they offered to take us further up to another view point. There we could see the town of Jocotenange next to Antigua. They told us that there is a festival and religious procession that starts there and ends up in Antigua. I knew that during Semana Santa (“Holy Week” leading up to Easter) they laid out these amazing “alfombra” sculptures on the road that a large religious procession then walks over. But I didn’t realize they do them on the Sundays leading up to Easter as well!
I’ve also been hearing and thinking a lot about the issue of safety in Guatemala. It’s so strange to contrast some terrible stories I hear with the unbelievable beauty, creativity, and fun I saw at the the pre-Semana Santa celebration in my next posts. I do think I’ll be totally safe, I have no problem flying home or going to another country if I don’t feel safe.
Again, as contrast to that ominousness here are some lovely photos from around Antigua: