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Published: June 27th 2017
My last day with Guise in Guatemala City was spent running errands as she continued to show me around town. We delivered some of her freshly made bread to friends of hers across town and in the evening, made homemade pizzas while drinking boxed wine. The next morning we woke up early for our mini road trip to Antigua and Guise had made fresh banana cupcakes to drop off at her church. She sent some with me as part of a care package along with a loaf of fresh-baked bread. Guise had volunteered to drive me to Antigua so that we could enjoy a farewell breakfast together and she could buy some goods to send to her daughter Jennifer in the states. We hugged each other goodbye when she dropped me off at the Central Park.
My time in Antigua has so far been spent walking around town and getting my bearings and popping in to local cafes where I've met some incredible people. Antigua is lush and green right now since it's the rainy season and the surrounding views of the volcanoes are breathtaking! We are also in high altitude so the clouds sit low and float across the
sky and past the volcanoes casting an err of mysticism. So far, they are my favorite thing to photograph. I also visited the Choco Museum where I learned all about the history of and process for making Mayan chocolate. Our host Edwin was amazing and I met two lovely sisters from Missouri--Annie and Jessie that were also part of the tour. I learned that cacao was first discovered in Brazil but it was the Mayan people that first discovered that the beans inside the cacao pods could be harvested and made into a liquid treat. Mayan chocolate was a liquid made from cacao, chili pepper and water. The Mayans called this treat "xocolatyl" which means bitter water. The process includes removing the beans from the cacao pods, fermenting and drying them, roasting them, removing the shells, and grinding the seeds into a paste. At that point, you mix the paste with water, chili peppers, & cornmeal pouring the mixture back & forth from pot to pot until the mixture becomes frothy. It wasn't until the 1800s in Europe that chocolate was consumed as a solid.
Monday night I stumbled into a local restaurant/bar "Cactus" where I ordered cactus tacos
and a Mezcal Mule. I was drawn to the place as I was walking by and heard some really incredible music. The vibe inside was lively and energetic. I instantly befriended the bartender Alma and my waiter Jose. Then walked in Maria, an artist and sculptor from Colorado that lives part-time in Antigua teaching art at a nearby university. She was good friends with the musician, Nelson, who was playing some upbeat jazz and had the entire place singing along. We all closed down the place and hung around talking until it got late and we decided to part ways. When I arrived back at my Airbnb, I found my neighbor Fernando smoking a cigarette in the garden. He and I stayed up talking about anything and everything but especially our love for travel, and his life as an avocado farmer on the outer skirts of town. I found this fascinating! We bonded over cocktails as we sat on the bench outside my apartment until it had then become very late and we were ready for bed. Great day. Great people! the place and stuck around talking until it was late and we all parted ways.
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