I'm at the completion of my first week in Antigua and am realizing how much I've missed it. Oh, yes, it's not quite as comfortable as the US. The streets are cobblestone, there are lots of cracks in the sidewalks when there is a sidewalk to use. But, oh how I love these people, the climate, the beauty!
Friday evening Linda and I had planned to go to the Children's Dinner. It's part of a NGO (Non-Government Organization) program called Tess Unlimited, a charitable organization founded by a young woman from The Netherlands, Tessa De Goode de Ordoñez. Who is Tessa?
We arrived at El Parque Central to be picked up by the shuttle to the dinner, which is done as a training program by Tessa's organization in order to teach children (ages 10-16) how to run a restaurant. They learn how to buy food and supplies, cook and bake, serve tables, manage the operation including finances, and decorate and clean. And, in addition, they learn enough English to prepare them to be employable when they go job hunting.
I spent a lot of time doing volunteer work when I was here last time, and hold Tessa and her volunteers from all over the world in high esteem. However, when we arrived for the shuttle, we realized that the number of tourists wanting to experience the evening with the children outnumbered the number of reservations the foundation had received, so we gave up our seats. It wasn't all bad! We sauntered over to one of our favorite Antiguan restaurants, La Cazador Italiano (the Italian Hunter), a truly fabulous Italian restaurant, Guatemala style. When my daughter-in-law and twin granddaughters visited me for 5 days when I lived here, we went to La Cazador two times; the food is that good!
|Father and daughter shopping on|
Friday afternoon. Most Maya women and
girls still wear their traditional
clothing, different depending on which
pueblo one lives in
|Maya ladies selling wares in the central park. All community life|
revolves around the park. Every Friday evening there's a band
that plays for about three hours.
|Linda and I with Luciano, owner of El Cazador Italianp|
Saturday dawned beautifully and Linda had asked her good friend, Carmen, a lovely Guatemalan doctor who works as an administrator for the Peace Corps in Central America, to accompany us to lunch at a new hillside restaurant located outside Antigua in the pueblo of San Cristóbal. We drove in Carmen's car (Linda doesn't have any desire to own and drive a car in Antigua) the short 20-minute ride to El Cerro de San Cristobal, the name of the restaurant.
I'd planned to eat first, then walk around to take photos of this lovely eatery and location overlooking the valley below, including Antigua. I was in for an interruption, or it may be better to say an eruption. El Fuego, an active Guatemalan volcano, decided to let us know he's here!
|View of the valley including Antigua from Cerro San Cristobal|
|Linda studying the menu in an outside dining room of El Cerro de|
San Cristobal. It's a beautiful location and buildings in the
traditional stone construction
|Just about the same view from the restaurant a few minutes later|
|Clouds filled with ash|
|Ash on my pants|
|My partially finished quesadillas with ash!|
|All the diners abandoned their outdoor meals for|
|Car with significant request on windshield -|
|Carmen letting folks know why her windshield is dirty!|
El Fuego volcano has been almost continuously active for centuries. The "Volcano of Fire", some 3,763 meters (12,346 feet) high is famous for being almost constantly active at a low level. Steam and gas issue from its top daily, a larger eruption occurred in September 2012. I was here for that eruption also; it was very impressive.
|This is what El Fuego looks like almost|
every day. When I was first living in Antigua,
my bedroom window framed a perfect view of the
volcano. I saw this nearly every morning
as I woke up!
Finally I'll leave you with some more of Linda's beautiful house and artwork.
|Lilies given to us by Carlos' family when they came|
for dinner. I've now had two Spanish lessons
and it's all coming back.
|Wooden sculptures and a corner of an oil painting over|
|Sun streaming through the window this morning. All of the yard|
and house with its open construction is getting cleaned and dusted
today. The ash is everywhere!