Jane has pretty much described this place and what we have been up to so I shall endeavour to make my contribution short for a change.
We originally decided to make Antigua our first Guatemalan port of call because it looked safe, interesting and was conveniently located for moving on to our main destination, Maya Pedal. We thought it best that we eased our way into Central America and Antigua has proved to be a good choice. The Guatemalans we have encountered to date have all been fine and generally welcoming people, yes there’s a little bit hustle in the touristy areas but nothing excessive or intimidating. In fact at the “proper” local market we went to, I felt like the invisible man. people were too busy getting on with making the most of their (pretty austere) lives to take notice of a couple of rubber necking gringos.
Antigua is a picturesque little town, charmingly disheveled and cloaked with a raggedy patchwork of make do and mend. Until coming here, I have never before appreciated the form and function of corrugated steel sheeting, it is used extensively here abouts (often in place of the original red clay Roman pantiles), conjoining higgidly piggidly roofs on everything from hotels to mountain side shacks. Alternatively providing shelter from the sun or keeping the torrential rain at bay whilst providing the full immersive experience of being trapped inside a kettle drum.
Gentrification is happening here, no doubt inevitably resulting in the homogenization that follows, but hopefully this old city will retain enough of the rough edges and shabby charm for people to see what used to be here. Just got to hope that a fair proportion of this new wealth finds its way to the local population. S