Saturday, November 5, 2016

Cuarto Dia, Antigua Guatemala, el 4 de noviembre, 2016

I was up bright and early this morning.  It was a beautiful sunny day, so as usual, I checked the volcanoes to see how much I could see.  Agua was visible!!  However, instead of grabbing my camera right then, I went downstairs and made coffee.   5 minutes later, the top was... Gone!

Fuego and Acatenengo were still clear-

The maraca is a cool flower growing inside our school garden-

I had another great day - lots of speaking at class and I'm even able to understand a fair bit at meal time when Odillia visits with us!  I'm quite proud of my learning so far, hope it continues.  The other students are so patient with me.  I am sure I drive them crazy!

After class, I decided to climb to Cerro de la Cruz. It's just 20 minutes from my homestay with a wonderful view.  What's new?  Agua was still clouded over-

La Iglesia de Candelaria was erected in 1548 by the bishop Francisco Marroquín to spread the message of Jesus Christ. Today, only ruins of the façade remain visible-

There are beautiful ornamental details.  It must have been something in its day-

On arrival at the Museo de Jade, a woman informed me that they gave free coffee to all of their guests.  Wow I thought, that's great!  This was the cup and I should have put my hand beside it to show its size because you can't tell from this picture that it was a maximum of 3 inches tall and contained 2 sips of coffee!  That was okay with me because it wasn't the best!

For over 3000 years jade has been used for religious rituals, for protection, to show political power and prestige and at burials to achieve immortality.  Today, raw jade is transformed into pre-Columbian style museum quality replicas and handmade jewelry-

There's also a bench for weary shoppers-

Around 500 BC, Mayans started implanting jewels into teeth to symbolize social status, as a rite or punishment, as a sacrifice or for self mutilation.  They used hollow drill bits in a drill that was a wooden bow with a leather cord.  They would pull on the cord to rotate the drill bit.  The stones were cemented in place with a fine powder, probably from sand and liquid from orchids-

Interesting signage-

There isn't much to see walking along the sidewalks because people's yards and homes are very private.  It makes sense because at home, we have beautiful front yards that we seem to only work in. It's rare to sit in one's front yard, but here, behind this-

And this-

Is this-

Who would ever know?

I found a cerveza oscura (dark beer) that is excellent-

I enjoyed it at the Sky Cafe which has a great view of Antigua-

Continuing to explore, I found another ruin, the convent of la Concepcion.  It was built in the 17th century but destroyed in 1773 by an earthquake-  

La Iglesia de San Francisco was started in the 1500s but greatly destroyed by earthquakes and visible parts today do date from the 16th century.  Notice the twisted Solomonic columns, which are typical of the Spanish-American baroque style.  Inside, are 16 vaulted niches that contain either a saint or friar-

Inside is a gratitude wall-

All of the roads in Antigua, population 46,000, are rough cobblestone.  I can't imagine driving on this everyday, especially with a motorcycle-

I found this telephone in a shop that rents motorcycles.  I am thinking about doing a day tour to local pueblos-

La Iglesia de Hermano Pedro is named after the Spanish-born Franciscan monk.  He lived in Antigua in the 17th-century and is buried in the Iglesia de San Francisco.  The building on the right is a hospital-

I checked out a couple of gyms that appear to have great machines, treadmills and free weights.  The only problem is they are about a 20 minute walk from my homestay.  It only costs $16/week so it might be worth visiting if only a few times.  There really is no place to walk or run-

except in parks that are just small squares.  Not sure what I'll do.  Maybe just keep eating?

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