We arrived without incident in Guatemala City, Guatemala yesterday afternoon in the midst of rush hour traffic people, diesel fumes, and traffic moving fairly smoothly; upon encountering only a few close calls, we arrived safely at out hotel – the Posada Dona Luisa at about supper time (which have adjusted our watches back to accommodate the two hour time difference, found many of us extremely hungry. We hastily, checked in and carried on for dinner at one of favourite restaurants from a previous trip.
Today, Friday dawned bright and we went on several individual excursions. Some went to the market, while we headed for the historic town square, which even today, is the ‘Parque Central’ of the town and is bordered by the ‘Catedral’ on the east side; the ‘Palacio de los Capitanes’ on the south; the Portal de las Panaderas on the west; and the ‘Ayuntomiento’ on the north.
Upon meandering our way around the square and admiring the wares of many street vendors, we headed for the Cathedral, which we remembered as being an amazing structure of well preserved history. As we reached the doors, we came upon the priest conducting a service which we believe was the beginning of Day of the Dead celebrations which is a very important festival in this country. We stayed for mass and the celebration of communion.
After church, we struck out towards the north east, meandering along the sidewalks that border the cobblestone streets. We came upon a small store where beautiful local hand made articles had been sewn of the colourful fabric made in this area. Prices in general in Guatemala are very inexpensive.
Soon after, we entered a mall – nothing like but our traditional malls but similar in that there is one entrance and all the stores surround a small open square. Of interest in this square was an operation making jade jewellery where we watched the jade handlers grinding and polishing jade; got a brief history on how the natives and the Catholic religious beliefs were melded to bring the two together where it is practiced today.
We strolled along the streets amidst, flowers familiar to us all listening to birdsong of the minor bird, coming to the Santa Domingo monastery http://www.delange.org/HighLands3/HighLands3.htm
After wander around there for a while, we met the others for lunch, returned to the hotel to deposit our purchases and split up once again in small groups to continue to explore and remember the sights of this historic uniquely individual town.
Our first day in Guatamala, was an enjoyable reunion of old and new friends bring together memories of Guatemala and stories of previous Rayjon Eyeglass Clinic trips.