Thursday, May 13, 2010

Memories of Guatemala.

Me, Valiant, Mark and Soon standing in front of La Merced Church in Antigua, Guatemala. 

This is the diary of my trip to Guatemala with my brother Mark and my friends Soon and Valiant in the summer of 2010.


I had wanted to make this trip to Guatemala for years and I had always planned to do it on my own.  On a whim, I asked my brother Mark  if he would want to come along and after some thought, he agreed to join me.  On another whim, I asked my friend and colleague Soon if he wanted to come along and he said Yes.  He then convinced his brother, Valiant to join us.


At the mercado in Antigua

And so were four. I was both excited and worried. Excited that I would finally get to go on this trip and nervous that neither my brother nor Valiant had ever travelled to a Latin country. Moreover, neither had been on an adventure tour before. This was either going to be a very successful trip or a complete bomb. Luckily, it turned out to be the former. To put it simply, we had a blast. We all got along fabulously well. There was a lot of good laughter on this trip.


Fishing on Lake Atitlán
Guatemala is a beautiful country that has so much to offer in terms of history, culture, people and food. There was not a boring moment from the time we got off the plane from Miami to the time we had to board to go back home.

We enjoyed ourselves immensely - from our visit to the magnificent Mayan ruins at Tikal to just strolling the streets of charming Antigua.  We relaxed in Panajachel and cruised Lake Atitlán to visit several Mayan villages.


Having a good chuckle over the lunch table.

We relished going to the mercado and buying all sorts of exotic fruits.  We let our noses lead us to street food so good you want to marry the cook!  We gorged on churrascos, pupusas, taquitos, churros and much much more.  Mouth wateringly good snacks, Guatemalan style.  We drank some amazing coffee, slurped down a lot of fruit licuados and got mildly hooked on Guatemalan ice cream.


Gorging on street food :-)

Thank God we walked a lot - needed to burn off all the calories we were ingesting!

Taking a breather.

We loved haggling with the souvenir vendors and we each brought back more than our share of handicrafts that are uniquely Guatemalan.


Handing out Tootsie Roll Pops to the kids.

In between eating and sightseeing, the guys went fishing Guatemalan style on Lake Atitlan, my brother and I hiked up Volcan Pacaya and went horseback riding on San Pedro La Laguna.  And, I topped off my activity list by paragliding over Lake Atitlán.  Oh what fun we had!

At the bus station in Santa Elena, waiting to catch the overnight bus back to Guatemala City.

Standing beside an alfombra in Antigua.

Coming to Guatemala during Semana Santa made the trip extra special. None of us had ever witness such an elaborate celebraation of the last days of Christ and his resurrection. The devotion and the passion displayed by the Guatemalans during Holy Week is mind boggling. We ooh'd and aah'd at each and every alfombra we came across - such beautiful works of art that exist only for a fleeting moment in time. We chased after the processions of floats so we could witness the parade from start to finish.  And when a procession started, we stood in awe....watching a remarkable event unfold before us.  Even though we have preserved the images of Semana Santa in photos and video, the images I saw will foreever be ingrained in my memory.  It's such a special event, it would be difficult to forget it.


Paragliding in Panjachel.




















Standing in front of Temple V, Tikal National Park
To cap it all off, we celebrated my brother's birthday on Easter Sunday. 

What a great time I had in Guatemala and I'm really glad I was able to share it with my brother, Soon and Valiant.  I think we'll remember this trip for a long, long time!

This travelogue details my trip and includes a selection of the photos and videos that Soon, Valiant and I took along the way. Be forewarned that this is a long blog so to make it easier to navigate, I've created a "Table of Contents" (below) which has links to each of the postings. To read each blog posting, simply click the link for that particular posting. Click on the Back button on your browser to return to the "Table of Contents".
 
I hope you enjoy reading about my travels as much as I did experiencing them!

Table of Contents

Planning & Research