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Published: July 23rd 2009
After leaving Guata, our night consisted of bar hopping in Antigua. The family that hosted us after the Expeditors office freak out lives in San Lucas, which is about 15 minutes from Antigua. Mom, Dad, Pamela, Tatiana and their sister live in a very gracious town home (gated community). The Dad usually works as a architect, but with the slowdown of the economy, he is focusing on helping his wife run her catering business. It was great to chat with the family over breakfast (we sat around the table for about two hours). In the afternoon, we drove out to a lookout point over Antigua, checked into our hostel, and then ate dinner at Vino & Queso.
Vino is a restaurant with nice ambiance and shit service. Our waiter brought out two of the 3 drinks we ordered, delivered our pizza, and then disappeared for the night. Once our pizza was on the table, we didn't see him again. After we had finished our dinner, we waited for about 10 minutes to see if he would turn up. No such luck, we flagged down another server, and she said that he had left for the night. He may want to
look into leaving the service industry as well. You never, never just take off without introducing the replacement server to the table.
When we got the bill, I noticed they had tacked on a 10% service cost before the total. I crossed it out. Tatiana said "you can't do that". I think we ended up leaving the restaurant before the lighting fast wait staff realized that we had only paid the subtotal.
We parted ways with the Expeditors crew and settled into the Yellow House Hostel. Truly a great bargain. We paid $6 a night each for a 3 bed dorm room we shared with another guy. The price includes use of their computers and internet (but the staff does not give the WIFI password out, or, I should say, refuses to acknowledge that they have WIFI, even though the router is visible and the desktop computers they use WIFI to connect to the net), free drinking water, hot water showers, and breakfast with eggs, about 10 different types of fruit, bread, coffee, beans, ham and cheese. It had a great roof terrace with hammocks and perhaps the cleanest bathrooms I have seen in a hostel.
guide book describes Antigua like this:
"In all the long, boring discussions about where the 'real Guatemala' is, you can be sure the word Antigua has never come up. This is fantasyland - what the country would look like if the Scandinavians came in and took over for a couple of years. It's a place where power lines run under ground, building codes are adhered to, rubbish is collected, traffic diverted and stray dogs 'disappear' mysteriously in the middle of the night. You'd be a fool to miss it."
Other than the great outing to Pacaya, we didn't do a whole lot here. We stayed for two nights at the yellow house. Antigua is very touristy, but I found that most of the backpacker crowd does not get up very early. I went out at 5:30 one morning to check out the city and take pics without a bunch of tourists on the streets, and it was great. I was in one of the coffee shops off the main square at 6am, and the staff were very surprised that a 'gringo' would show up that early. Can't say I blame them. Half the backpacker population of the city would
no doubt be nursing hangovers till mid-morning.
In conclusion, yes, Antigua is very touristy and is not representative of the country. I couldn't care less, it was a great stop. Get out early, beat the crowd, and enjoy the cities beautiful architecture and design: I am personally a fan of Scandinavian.
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