The bus was supposed to arrive at 6am, and our shuttle was going to wait for us with our names outside the bus station. We really didn’t feel comfortable walking around Guatemala City, especially when we don’t understand the language.
The bus rolled into the bus station at 7:30am, and there was no shuttle to be found anywhere. And the shuttle service company only spoke Spanish! Luckily, there was another fellow traveler that knew Spanish and was EXTREMELY helpful once again. He went outside to ask a shady-looking taxi driver for a payphone, but the shady-looking taxi driver just let him use his cell phone… wow so nice! The traveler helped us out, and eventually our shuttle arrived at 9am to our massive delight.
In short, Guatemala City looks pretty ugly. The moment we rolled into Antigua though, everything changed as soon as the tires rolled over cobblestone roads instead of tarmac. Like other beautiful colonial towns, this placed reminded us of Oaxaca, Mexico.
Our hostel was located inside this long walkway off the avenida (Antigua is designed like a grid, avenues run North-South, roads run East-West). The place was cozy and neat, with a rooftop lounge where two hammocks were strung with a beautiful view over several of the town’s churches. We freshened up, and got outside exploring the town. One thing that got us both really excited, was that our guide book and online, there was talk of a Korean restaurant! In Mexico, it’s really hard to eat a variety of food, so we’ll try for it every time we can, be it Korean, Chinese or Indian.
We wandered the city but didn’t manage to find any of the restaurants we wanted, and ended up eating at a ‘pub’ that served curries and chow mein… haha, it was decent. The strange part though, was that they served only 1 import beer, and that was from Brooklyn Brewery!?!? Just a bit strange to see a ’boutique’ brewery like that extending its grasp so far! The town market though, despite being massive and maze-like, was much of a let down without any of the fresh fruits we were thinking of.
The afternoon was spent napping in a hammock, basking in the suns warm glow. And for dinner, we ate bagels at the Bagel Barn, which also has screenings of movies everyday at 7pm! Watching Ben Affleck’s Argo, we headed back to our hostel and were ready for tomorrow.
Tomorrow, we start our week-long Spanish lessons and stay in a home-stay! Excited!