Thursday, February 25, 2010

Reflections on our visit in Antigua

This is Anna (Debbie's Mom) sharing reflections on this visit with "travelers" Debbie and Rob (or Roberto as we occasionally call him this week).
First of all, the difference between "travelers" and "tourists". Irwin and I are tourists. When we visit a city we often pride ourselves at being able to "put that place under our feet in 2 - 3 days".  We can search out the highlights, find the good restaurants etc....fairly quickly and then are ready to move on.  I love to talk to the "locals' when I have a chance and am not shy about asking questions about life, politics etc....probably often to the embarrassment of my children.  Debbie and Rob are travelers.  They have a loose itinerary...go with the flow, stay in places I never would, and explore a lot of the nature opportunities and off the beaten path sights.

When you have children, you know that they will take your life in unexpected directions.....but I never expected to find myself climbing a volcano.  Below you will read Debbie's excellent description of the actual experience.  Let me share just some of my feelings.  We began talking about this shortly after our arrival here in Antigua....did a lot of research on various postings on line and read all the travel guides available to us.  Also spoke to the various tour guides and drivers that we met and also to some other travelers/tourists that we met along the way.  I was terrified about the whole thing and was prepared to wait at the bottom of the hill.  The other alternative was to take a horse up.  Not sure what was going to be better....walk, stay back...or take a horse (I am not very comfortable around horses).  As you can read below the horse won..
The challenging part was on the hardened lava climb. That had to be on foot.  The photos that Debbie posted tell it all.  We did it and the experience was exhilarating....a great feeling of accomplishment and thrill at succeeding at something a bit dangerous.
Guatemala....I don't think Irwin and I would ever have thought of coming here, except for the chance to spend time with Debbie and Rob. This trip has certainly opened our minds to visiting more of Central America.  The scenery is beautiful, people friendly and the pace is relaxing.....we have found good food and comfortable accommodations. What else do we need?
This is clearly a country in development, lacking a lot of the resources we are accustomed to.There is poverty and the needs for aid are great but the country seems to be moving in the right direction.Amazingly enough, almost everyone...locals, rich and poor...have cell phones.  Such communication will certainly change their world.There are a lot of untapped resources here and potential for a vibrant tourist trade.  We feel welcomed. Antigua may not be the "real" Guatemala, but it works for me.