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Guatemala, Day 8: Return home - JonM

Dec. 8th, 2008

09:31 pm - Guatemala, Day 8: Return home

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The Posado Lazos Fuertes, where we were staying, is half a block from the Antigua bus station. But it really makes more sense to think of it as a port of call, which helps to rationalize the vast amount of noise that comes from it. At all hours, you hear horns, heavy engines, air brakes, and a constant cry of "Guate! Guate! Guate!"

However, this morning, something was up. Things were oddly quiet.

When I stepped out of the hotel, feeling much better after a long night's sleep, there were people setting up floats and organizing in marching groups. Ah yes, "La Fiesta del Diablo", the day of the Devil, when Guatemalans exise bad influences and spirits by setting fire to things. In the evening, they'd be burning a devil caricature in one of the squares (right between two gas stations, mind you). But for now, a parade that looked more akin to a Thanksgiving day parade.

They were still setting up, so I went over to the mercado to do some last minute shopping. It was still pretty early, so most of the shops were closed, and, with the holiday, I don't think many of them were going to open at all. But enough of them opened that I could get what I was after, so I walked around Antigua some more, taking advantage of the distraction to get some clear shots of the nicer churches and ruins.

By the time I got back to the hotel, the parade was in full swing, complete with a Santa Claus in the last float. We hoped the parade wasn't going to go on too long, since it was happening right in front of our hotel and we had to leave for the airport soon. Fortunately, things cleared up just in time, and we loaded into the van, with Lisa and another Camino Seguro person hitching a ride into Guatemala City with us.

Off at the airport, it was Mark, Jenn, Dan and myself, riding the same plane to Houston, where Dan would peel off to Denver and the rest of us would go back to Seattle. Getting on the plane was pretty uneventful; as usual I didn't get asked anything by security or exit customs. The plane ride to Houston was unremarkable, barring the awful BBQ chicken sandwhich that they tried to serve us.

Arriving at Houston, we went through immigration, and wandered over to our terminal. Dan followed us to our gate and hung out for a while until he had to go find his plane. Unfortunately, our plane was late, and Continental kept stringing us along until we finally took off, two hours late. After a long four hours and several failed attempts at sleeping, I stumbled off the plane and back into Seattle.

I picked up my checked bag, was greeted by Jiji and meee, and then said farewell to Mark and Jenn, officially marking an end to the trip.

I had a great time in Guatemala, and I think I'd like to go back some time in the near future. Everyone on the team is excited about doing this again, and we're all looking for other parts of the world we could go to; I think Haiti's on the top of Lara's list, which would be another interesting place to go...