ANTIGUA: Guatemala’s volcanic playground

High noon, and somewhere between Belize and Guatemala and close to receiving deep vein thrombosis – I was jammed into a van with 18 other locals from the border town of Melchor after crossing over from Belize. With a 16kg backpack on my lap, and a stranger resting his head upon my shoulders quietly snoring away – I pondered about life. Not because I had a lot on my mind, more so because I literally could not move or do much else.

We looked for a way down south, hearing the allure of a historic Spanish colonial town, built in the Baroque style and nestled at 1500m above sea level – sounded like a supermodel amongst a pack of tired, middle aged businesswomen. Tired being the hotel beds in Cancun, or the tired hotel staff putting up with the constant supply of American all-inclusive resort guests’.

The four days spent in Antigua was filled with seeing quaint wonders – from climbing the still active Volcan Pacaya to wandering the colourful cobbled stone streets – it was a much needed respite after the arduous journey overland from Cancun through Belize to Antigua, with our final destination being Guatemala City 2 hours away, before flying back to Cancun and back to LA.

I had never seen so many people carrying shotguns before until I arrived in Guatemala City, from shopping mall guards, car parking attendants and bread delivery drivers. It was shotgun heaven for enthusiasts. But that is inevitable from the very high crime rate in the capital city. I was glad to leave the capital after an uneventful night there, otherwise there would have been a lot of ball bearings flying around!

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