Friday, 9 October 2009

A few days in Antigua

I love the way local men and women dress around here, the colourful pants with the white hat
Volcan de Agua, overlooking us menacingly

The very beautiful Iglesia de la Merced, not sure about the red lights they put on the facade, looks a bit like the cheap necklaces Brazilians wear in clubs back at home

I decided to change tactics last week. I felt quite lonely after seeing Remy in Belize and after Sanghita left.
So I decided to forget about staying in hostels for locals, and stick to places for backpackers.
Most locals are there with families and, although they may look at you with certain interest and some amusement, why is a gringo here, they don´t really talk to you.
So back with the youngsters, back to the dorms, and I am loving it, well part of it.
I spent a few days sharing my dorm with five 20 year olds from Norway, who were lovely, thoughtful and polite, we even discussed health care policy. Since then I have had a couple of very loud Israeli girls who needed to be strangled, but I am learning to be calm.
I now even own my first kippah as someone left his behind and the Norwegian girls insisted I kept it...I should check if it could be considered offensive for me to have it.

One of the several lovely squares around the town

I am loving Antigua, so much so that my 3 day stop has now turned into a week.
It is a charming town, really well looked after. But not only that, it is one of the first places I have been to that tourism seems to have lifted everyone, at least partially.
In a country with so many inequalities, with so much poverty, it is a lot less obvious here. I don´t think it is because it is hidden away...the drunks are still there.
Tourism has brought money, and teaching Spanish has spread that money.
Lots of people who stop in the hostel for a day or two do that while they look for a family to live with and learn Spanish.
Of course there is still hardship, privation and suffering, kids working in the street, cleaning shoes, or selling handicrafts, but not anywhere near what you see in other places.
This is obviously my personal opinion and is only based on a few days here so I might be completely wrong.

Hopefully tomorrow I will make my way to Honduras and visit the ruins of Copan before heading off to the beach

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