Thursday 12th January 2012

Back in Antigua, Guatemala…Volcán de Agua awaits!

My Panama adventures now being over, I have returned to that near paradise on Earth, Antigua, in time for a planned ascent of the Volcán de Agua tomorrow, on Friday 13th….a little worrying, but as my great grandfather climbed it on 13th January, 131 years ago, it seems appropriate for me to climb it on the same day!

Whilst in Guatemala City, before I came here to Antigua, I went with another friend I had met at the Paredon Surfhouse, Julia Tomei, to the Cerrito del Carmen, a small hill close to the center of the capital, from where renowned photographer Eadweard Muybridge had taken some panoramic views of the city in 1875.

Cerro del Carmen, by Muybridge, 1875

Naturally, I was interested to see how the skyline had changed since then, and if possible, to take the same views. This was indeed possible, and the view of the cathedral and central area had not changed all that much – apart from a truly appalling building housing the Ministerio de Finanzas, which from its style I assume was built in the 1960s. Talk about a carbuncle on the face of a dearly loved friend (to quote HRH Prince Charles!)!

City of Guatemala from Cerro del Carmen, Muybridge, 1875

The same view in 2012, from Cerrito del Carmen

The Cathedral from Cerrito del Carmen, with horrific Ministerio de Finanzas building behind

Environs of Guatemala City, Muybridge, 1875

Same view today

The Cerrito (small hill) is now a very well maintained park, with tourism police there to ensure security – apparently up until about three years ago a visit would not have been wise due to the frequent assaults and robberies that were occurring. One charming detail we noticed was a family who had come to the park for a picnic, bringing three live chickens with them, apparently not to eat, but simply to give them an afternoon out!!

Family outing with chickens!

Yesterday afternoon, I took the shuttle bus to Antigua, and while in the bus, ANOTHER technical hitch befell me: my NEW glasses broke!! These were the ones that I had bought in November to replace the pair that was destroyed at Tikal! This afternoon I have an appointment with the opticians to try to resolve this disaster, but I do not think they will be able to obtain a new arm before I fly out on Sunday morning. Truly this journey has been a catalogue of camera-, computer- and glasses-related disasters!!

Yet another optical disaster!

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