Guatemala: Food for the soul

A picturesque setting, incredible cuisine, volcano peaks, cheap Spanish lessons and a hint of mystery.  I knew and expected all of that going in.  What I wasn’t expecting was to feel so at home, so quickly.  Antigua is a charming little valley town painted in bright pastels contrasted with beautifully destroyed stone structures dating back to the cities beginnings.  Travellers and locals alike flock to this place and slowly get pulled in and swallowed by the charm and slow pace.  Restaurants are amazing, but the market food is even better.  Bright faces are everywhere and curious locals are always ready to assist a aimless wanderer.  Love beer? The drinking holes are plentiful and diverse here.  The hidden gem amongst them and my personal favourite is hands down”Cafe Noce”.  Now, before you venture off looking for a cheap cerveza and good times there, you need to know this.  The place is nearly impossible to find, but the mileage you put on your knees and ankles from circling the cobblestone labyrinth will be well worth it once you finally arrive.

I can only describe Cafe Nose as a Freak show/Big top circus meets rustic Louisiana bayou.  Take all that and add the fact that each detail appears to be carefully crafted by Tim Burton and then you have some idea what I’m talking about.  It’s the Nightmare before Christmas….on acid.  This place is so cool that I couldn’t bring myself to take out my phone out and snap a picture.  In a way it felt like I would be stripping it of its artistic integrity.  So you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Another check mark in the Antigua is awesome category is the Wifi.  It’s everywhere so keeping in touch is easy.  A little too easy in fact.  Shamefully, I’ve been more available on-line since leaving than I ever was before.  I did leave in a hurry, and that has left me with a few loose ends to tie up at home and of course this blog to write periodically. In any case, I could use some time away from it all, far far away.  Next stop?  San Pedro at Lago Atitlan.  The plan is to finish up my final two Spanish lessons then hopefully hop on a 1pm chickenbus to the lake.

The rumours and rumblings about Lago Atitlan are that of a cool little hippy town worth lazing about in for a few days, indigenous tribes near by and a natural setting stolen out of your wildest dreams.  Sounds like the perfect little spot to work on the old Espanol, chill the fu#k out and give all my friends a break from my Instagram newsfeed hogging for a bit.

Before I sign off, I just wanted to send a huge Happy Mother’s Day to the best Mom in the world, and all the others out there making this world a better place.

On Sunday, I sent an email to my Mom in Uganda, closed my laptop and walked out the front door of the hostel.  Much to my surprise, the entire town was out and about soaking up the special day with family and friends.  Mother’s day is serious business in Guatemala.  Like they actually run out of cakes in Antigua serious.  In any case, as I wandered around a little misty eyed from touching scenes playing out in the street, that I had to find a pick me up.  What I needed was a hot home cooked meal.  My stroll morphed into a purposeful walk as I moved through the winding market passageways until I found my way to the cafeteria.  Several local Mom and Pop eateries were shutting it down for the day, when I came across one that had fully closed up, but the staff/family were sitting down to a meal together.  With my broken Spanish and puppy dog eyes, I convinced them to fix me a plate.  The meal was the best I have had in my time here.  Rice, beef, tortillas and some kind of gravy.  So simple yet so delicious, the whole dish was just like my Mom used to make  with a uniquely Guatemalan spin. Easily the best $2 I have ever spent.  Anyways, that’s enough out of me.  We’ll talk soon, but not too soon.  Oh yeah, I think I’m going to buy a motorcycle.  More on that later.

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