Posted by: Jack | January 5, 2008

Guatemala – Santiago Sacatepéquez to Antigua

While I wouldn’t quite classify it as a phobia, I have a serious issue with attempting to walk through tight crowds. I don’t equate it with claustrophobia because I don’t mind being packed in tightly. I think I just don’t like moving so slowly and having to adjust my course three times per step. That said, I was not exactly enjoying myself as we made our way to the cemetery on the other side of the town via the one real street, which seemed to contain the entire country’s population.

When we finally reached this cemetery, we encountered an aspect of this culture which sharply contrasts our own. While graves, and the cemetery in general, are considered holy or spiritual or whatever you want to call it, there is no doctrine or superstition in regards to how one should act in their presence. Children race all over jumping from one grave to the next, playing usual children’s games. Whole families congregate on top of mausoleums for a better view or a clear space to launch their kites. Without close inspection, the whole scene just looks like a typical festival…which it is.

Everyone participates in kite-flying. Young children run around with contraptions which wouldn’t be worthy of a dollar store and rarely leave the ground, while teams of adults work out complex strategies for launching meticulously crafted sails exceeding three meters in diameter. Once these larger kites are aloft, they gradually climb until they are almost out of sight. Meanwhile, the pilots scurry all over the place, struggling to maintain a grip on the lines.

At the western-most end of the cemetery (not sure if the direction has significance) stood three immobile kites measuring at least ten meters in height. Being supported only at the base, I have no idea how they don’t blow over with the slightest gust of wind.

As daylight faded, we found a bus to Antigua where we would be spending the night. Our first accommodations there, nearly two weeks earlier, cost us about six times the price of most other hostels, so we hoped to find a better deal this night. Fortunately, a couple of young Belgians on our bus — they had been traveling for “…only six or seven months now” — were headed to just such a place and invited us to accompany them. We landed a private room with a spacious communal area at Pasada Ruíz; at a rate more on par with that to which we had become accustomed. As an added bonus there was a tiny restaurant next door featuring enormous burritos for about $1.50.

After a long day of busing, walking, navigating crowds and the final blow of overeating, we collapsed into bed.

Turquoise line on the Progress Map

Next: Antigua again…but this time with photos and good weather



  1. […] Next: Santiago Sacatepéquez and back to Antigua […]

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