A Week with Phil and Annette – Loren

Salem wrote about Monday and Tuesday, so I will write about Wednesday and Thursday.

Wednesday started pretty normal. We went to a coffee shop on the main square and then I went to the bank. While I was in the bank, Phil and Annette explored the square. I had decided to do a tour of some of the local church ruins. The first one was the main cathedral in town. We went inside and looked around. While we were looking, a nice guy named Oscar offered to show us around the cathedral. We said sure and he brought us to the ruins and the catacombs. When we were done he said there was another great cathedral that we should see and would we like him to take us there? That sounded like a good idea, so we said yes. The next church is dedicated to the Guatemalan saint Hermano Pablo, who was canonized by Pope John Paul II nine years ago. After seeing this cathedral Oscar offered to bring us to an ancient Mayan jade museum. I asked if it was a free museum and he said yes, so we went with him. The museum was very informative and very interesting. We learned that Guatemala produces some of the world’s best jade. The next best is from China/Myanmar, but their jade has to be mined from underground and in Guatemala it is found on the surface near rivers. We also saw a painting dedicated to the end of the Mayan calendar (December 21, 2012… be afraid!), but they don’t seem afraid of the end here. They just recognize it as the end of the calendar and the beginning of a new era. We left the jade museum and headed back to the central park. It was time to end our tour and I was trying to think of how to get rid of Oscar. We stopped and I thanked him for the tour. Phil handed him a tip of 100 quetzales and he then asked for 100 from each of us. We argued with him that we had never set a price and that this was only a tip. He refused and told us we owed him more money. I offered him another 100 quetzales to leave us alone, so he left. As we walked away a Canadian diplomat and a Guatemalan woman asked us to talk to them about what had happened. We described the situation and the Canadian guy translated to the Guatemalan woman. Both agreed that what we initially paid him as a tip was more than enough for two hours of a walking tour. They said the extra 100 was just robbery. The Guatemalan woman communicated that she was very upset to see someone from her country take advantage of tourists. In the end we only lost about $12 to this guy, but it was more about being taken advantage of than the money. We ended up making most of the money back in the mercado by getting Phil and Annette a blanket/tablecloth.

On Thursday we contemplated finding our friend Oscar and giving him a piece of our minds, but we decided to take the more peaceful route. Since this was Phil and Annette’s last day we decided to check out some restaurants to go to that night. The first one was part of Hotel Casa Santo Domingo. The second restaurant was a traditional Guatemalan restaurant. Phil and Annette looked at the menus while I spoke to the hostess in Spanish. Both seemed like good options and we wanted to wait for Salem to decide. Next we walked to a different set of ruins that we had seen the other day. They have a series of gardens inside. When we got there we realized it cost about $5 per person to get in and because Phil and Annette wanted to look for some more things we decided not to spend our money there. We then took a back way into the mercado that I hadn’t taken before. Phil and Annette got to experience the huge mercado on market day. It was pretty crazy. We then went back to the artisans market to find some souvenirs and presents.  Then we decided to go to one of our favorite restaurants (a crepe place) to get shirts for Phil and Annette. They bought some coffee and then we went home to wait for Salem. When Salem got home we gave her our two options for dinner. She chose the restaurant at Santo Domingo. The restaurant isn’t actually in the hotel, but it is owned by them. The restaurant is on a mountain and overlooks the city. The place was really fancy and the food was great! It was a perfect way to end a great week with Phil and Annette.

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Parrots at Hotel Casa Santo Domingo

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More Antigua. Phil had the camera. He like mountains.

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Annette and I near the ruins

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The ruins we decided not to go to

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More road construction

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They put an American flag on our table at the restaurant.

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Antigua from above.

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Phil and Annette at the restaurant.

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Salem and I.

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The hallway to the restaurant.

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They had orchids everywhere

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These signs are everywhere in Antigua. Gotta be prepared for that earthquake.

On Friday we woke up at 4am to get ready for our taxi to come at 5am. We drove to Guatemala City, dropped Phil and Annette off, and drove back again. Luckily Salem had a day off of school, so she didn’t have to worry about being exhausted in class. All of Loren’s tutoring students had school off too, so he had a day of soccer with the boys.

We’re missing having family here, but we’re thankful that they were able to come at all. Who’s next?

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