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Published: January 16th 2009
Dos Loros Inn
Charming common space
My adventure began, Saturday, January 10th at approximately 12:15 pm. Flying BOS to DFW and on to GUA, arriving fairly close to schedule, off by maybe one half hour due to some supposed late passenger arrival on the flight from DFW. Guatemala City from the air is an equisite dance of amber and teal green lights covering the entire city and it's surrounding areas. Not a single white light to be seen. Getting thru customs was a breeze and baggage claim not so much, but just to have all my bags arrive was worth the wait! I packed as light as I possibly could for this trip, and I am glad I did. I had one 26 inch suitcase, a toiletry bag, chock full (where did I think I was going?? This is not the glamour capitol of the world, I can assure you!....but who I am I without my lipstick and eyeshadow on???Oy!...and one packed Coach tote bag and my canvas knapsack, which came on as my purse.
The driver sent to retrieve me was standing outside the doors holding a sign above his head, with my name on it. I was relieved to see him. He and his
Dos Loros Inn - Bedroom
A wonderful night's sleep
son, spoke no English, and I speak little to no Spanish, so we exchanged cordialities and were on our way. The drive from Guate City to Antigua was an uphill climb of about 45 mins in duration. I thought the turns here 'hairpin' ...but I did not know 'h'airpin' until my drive to Lake Atitlan! More on that later....
We arrived at my hotel, being greeted at the curb by Marleni, the hotel manager, with whom I have had several very pleasant and gracious email exchanges. There is little 'curb appeal' here(sarcasm)..bearing a strong Spanish influence...so it is always so stunning to me when you walk thru these simple nothing doorways, and behind them lie these precious little gems! The Dos Loros was one of them.
Marleni took me upstairs to my room and I could not have been more pleased. The bed was very comfortable and the bathroom very spacious. Plenty of hot water...daily room service...and included in the 58usd daily price was a self service breakfast from the kitchen of fresh assorted fruit, cereals, toast, yogurt and some really awful coffee.
I slept well...waking to the the crack of dawn sounds of nearby roosters. Having arrived so
Dos Loros Inn - View
a room with a view....
late last evening...I was not prepared for what magnificent view awaited me when I opened my shutters this morning. I am not sure which volcanoe this one is, but it was the first time I ever laid my eyes on one! It was a stunning site.
After breakfast, I got on their computer, which you have free access too 24/7 and sent off emails to all those waiting to hear of my safe arrival. Then I headed out to get a feel for Antigua ... as best as one could in one six or seven hour stroll. Just as I approached the main Central Park, I saw lots of people heading into the cathedral just across the street. I decided to join them. What a beautiful experience this was for me. Not only was the cathedral magnificent in all it's Spanish Colonial opulence of lots of red and gilt, but the Mass was packed ... reminding anyone from the US of Midnight Mass at Christmas!
I loved the priest and his passion and expressiveness, even though I coulld not understand a word he said! The congregation was almost entirely Guatemalan's...and although I felt as though I was the only
one of English decent the people surrounding me were so warm and welcoming, giving me warm sincere hugs at the greeting.
After Mass was over, I headed into the park to sit and do some writing. I no sooner sat down on a park bench, when a young girl approached, sitting down next to me and asking me to buy some of her scarves...2 for 15usd...this color will look beautiful on you....as she threw it over my shoulder. I asked her how old she was. "ten", she said. But, the bargaining continued, as much as I tried to put her off. She was impressive and so beautiful. She spoke excellent English and had the bargaining technique of an MBA graduate. I told her she was very bright and very beautiful. She smiled and said .. "Gracias". I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up and that she could be whatever she dreampt of being. She said, "A teacher". I said that was a very admirable profession and to go ahead and become that. I ended up getting completely ripped off by her, even after her price dropping 25% from where she started, and I knew
Cathedral in Antigua
The highlight of my day....
it. But, I bought two scarves and a table runner (?? which I have no need or use for...even if I had a table!! HA)... but my heart was taken by her. It was a good introduction for me, as this sort of thing is non-stop here. We hugged and said "God Bless" and she got up and went on her way. I picked up my pen, to begin writing again, and a woman came and sat down next to me. She showed me her cloth tote bag with GUATEMALA written across it in bold beautiful colors woven of rafia. I politely said, No, Gracias, but she would not stop...so I picked up my notebook and headed over to Cafe Condessa for a lovely Sunday brunch in their interior garden. I was free to sit and write in my journal and enjoy at my leisure the food and the setting.
I walked around a bit more, poking my head into open entryways...one a hotel..hotel Centro Colonial Antigua...
and another ... I peered thru these beautiful wrought iron gates and as I attempted to take a photo... I was greeted by a staff member as he welcomed me inside
Centro Jardin - Antigua
A lovely place ... but not relaxing....
to take a stroll around. He called upon a young waiter to show me up the stairs to the rooftop terrace. Magnificent! The stone stairs that wound their way up and around, all had small votive candleholders, which I can only imagine them all lit up in the evening. Very Romantic! The view from the top was fantastic!
I wandered some more, although many shops are closed on Sunday, i just really wanted to capture a feeling for this place, so many expats are now calling home...i was intrigued. I imagine it difficult integrating into a life here, especially after spending more than three quarters of my life living in the quintessential white bread (really good white bread...Pain D'Avignon white bread!) upscale communities of Cape Cod, Massachusetts!! If I pursue this, as a possible place to live for many months out of the year, it will be very much of a challenge for me. Learning the language will be the first major task to tackle. Antigua is gritty. It's charming in it's grittiness, but I am not used to living gritty. There are no manicured lawns here...there are no firehydrants waiting for a touch-up each spring...if you know what
I mean??! I wanted to get away from the ordinary, the mediocrity, the sameness...but...really, Dolores? Is there not a happy medium, somewhere?
I am not throwing in the towel on Antigua just yet...there is much more to know before doing so...
and I am clear I cannot make an assessment based on a 7 hr trek around town....so to be continued.
Just a few more images i was able to snap....
Tomorrow, 10 am pick-up for Lake Atitlan...
P.S If this blog does not come out as I hope with the photos in place...I will not be doing it again...it has taken me a good part of the day...(I have injured my knee and must lay low for a few days...so it was a good day to do it)
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