Moving on

This is my last night in Antigua.  Tomorrow I am moving inland to the lakes in the highlands.  It has been an interesting few days filled with new sights, sounds, tastes and emotions.

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One old love I have revisited is horse riding.  And boy have I found lots of lost muscles.  The knees have had a work out as well.  We went up to visit a volcano and getting up the mountain involved either walking or riding a horse.  I took the horse.

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The getting onto the horse was a bit of a challenge but once on I was able to get on and off without too much trouble.  I just made sure that I was near a rock or a wall.  The other challenge was the saddle, which was wooden.  Actually, the horses name was Carmello and he had a great temperament.  He knew the way and only tried to get away on the way up not the way down.  That was because he got fed at the top and was looking forward to that.  Coming down the mountain the track was narrow and very close to the edge of the precipice.  I just looked ahead and prayed.

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The ash field around the volcano was just like the description of Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings.  The dust and smell of sulphur stung the throat but the views were fantastic.

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I have not been neglecting my textile study either.  The following images are a selection of the embroidered hupils or blouses that I have been photographing.  They are all hand stitched and the amount of work that goes into each one is amazing.  Like most of South America Guatemala has a strong tradition of backstrap weaving and everywhere you go women are working at the loom.

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The above image is really interesting because it depicts the same scenes that are seen in Mayan sculptures.
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I think one of my favourite images is of the flower seller.  She has taken flowers from the jungle and is selling them on the streets.

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I may not be able to post for a while as I don’t think there is much internet where I am heading but there will be lots of adventures.


I have to admit, this ipad just isn’t as good as my computer but it is a lot lighter.  I suppose that a lot of my discomfort with it is caused by unfamiliarity.   We will see how our relationship develops as time goes by.

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 My stomach and I are still not agreeing but not enough to stop me getting out and about.  Today we had breakfast in a small cafe, which served the best coffee, and then headed out on a walking tour of the historic sites of the city.   This is an old city  that was founded, and abandoned, then rebuilt.  The big problem is the earthquakes.  Guatemala sits on the junction of 3 tectonic plates so it is shaking all the time.  They spent a lot of time building only to have it fall down.  But some of those fallen down ruins are quite spectacular as you can see from the above photos.

The following photos are a mixture of what I want to use as backgrounds for some of my work,I think the will be great starting points for collages, and some of the flowers.

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Again, lots of familiar flowers but brighter in colour.

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There was one great shot of chicken cooking outside a small shop.   They had used  and old tyre rim and made a BBQ stand.  Very inventive.

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Note to self

“Just because you are hungry it doesn’t mean you can eat anything.  The same rules apply.”

As I have found out today.  I must not eat red meat and delicious desserts I don’t have a gall bladder any more and they make me ill.

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So, I had a slow start to the day.  Everyone else went off for breakfast whilst I kept close to the loo.  They then went off to photograph some of the highlights whilst I was still languishing in bed.  By the time I had surfaced I wasn’t sure where they were so I got a map and took myself off to the textile Museum.

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This is a very old city, like something out of a movie and the main industry is tourism.  Every second doorway is a hotel, the ones in between are either a travel agency or a shop.  Even family homes use their front door as a shop to sell home made sweets or food.  All the roads are cobbled so I am glad of my sandels with the tyre track soles.

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In the central square Indians come down from the hills to sell their wares.  Corn, other vegetables they have grown and especially woven cloth.  The other thing I noticed is that most children do not go to school, they work. There are some places I would not walk alone.  One of these was the handicraft market, so I will return to that with the others.  I then returned to the hotel, following my trusty map, and still not feeling the best, to have a short nap and wait for the others to return.

One thing that has surprised me is how small off frame the local Indians are.  I feel like a giant.  The other thing is that all the flowers and plants are the same ones that I grow in my garden.  I thought that I would find more exotics.  Seems I already have them growing.  I took lots of photos.  Here are just a few.

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All the embroidery on the clothing is hand stitched, even those birds.  I thought at first they were  machined but no not a machine stitch in any piece.  The designs vary between different groups and are specific to each of these groups.  The women’s clothing is very colourful but I found that the men also have their own ethnic dress, depending on the group or village they come from.

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We have arrived

I am now in a beautiful hotel suite here in Antigua.  Far more upmarket than my usual backpacker accommodation.  But it took quite a bit of time getting here.  We waited half the day at Houston airport before our plane finally left.

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So now I am looking forward to going down to dinner, in my jeans and t shirt, I didn’t pack any thing that is suitable for this setting.  And I am so looking forward to exploring tomorrow.  The sights from the bus have whet my appetite.

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End of the first week

Only a week?  It feels like years I have been so busy, so on the go and so just into living again.

I don’t know where to begin, so much has happened so I think I will keep most of it for when I get home and in fact I don’t have time to sit and write.  There are things to do!   So here are some images just to give you a taste.  

Oh dear, they have gone in every which way.  Oh well.   At least you can tell I am having a great time.

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