For those who don’t yet know, I will be spending the summer in Central America, drifting through El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama before heading to South America for the rest of the year. For now, however, my roots lie in Guatemala, a country I will call home for the next two months.
But what of Guatemala? What do I know, what have I seen, what are my first impressions of this place? I admittedly did not know much before I got here, and I still don’t. I arrived first in Flores, in the north, a small city that is usually for those who plan on visiting majestic Tikal. Even in unassuming Flores, however, the streets shone as if adorned with jewels, shades of blue and pink and green bouncing off each other with the setting of the sun. The meals were hearty, the smiles genuine. Moving on to Antigua, my new home, I am greeted by everyone with “buenos” and “hola”. Smells of warm chocolate, fresh tortillas, and strong coffee waft through the stoned avenues. I am enticed by shops selling white cotton dresses, colourfully embroidered bags, wooden statues of Jesus, woven tapestries, and tiny instruments. Behind every door ajar seems to lie a beautiful and lush garden, populated only by sleeping cats or locals sipping an afternoon cerveza.
So what are my first impressions of this country I’ll spend the next eight weeks in? She is friendly and full, beautiful and resplendent. She will make a fine home.