Hello Antigua, Guatemala home of Laurel Baker! Eight years ago Laurel/Lori left Chicago to “visit” Costa Rica for awhile. She made her way north eventually landing in Antigua, Guatemala and has been there ever since. Eight years ago I promised my great friend that I would visit her someday. After a move to Sitka, Alaska and San Diego, California Christian and I built a van and drove six months and a few thousand miles for a long overdue reunion. Within hours of arriving to her city I was on her bar/restaurant schedule for a full weeks worth of shifts. The same day Christian signed himself up for spanish classes and was looking for temporary housing for us.
Our plan was to park the van and stay in Antigua for about a month. We found a cool communal spot to live in called La Casa Gitana (The Gypsy House) with every wall painted a different color and four other housemates. It was a six minute walk to work and a ten minute scooter ride to spanish classes. Two weeks later I signed up for classes as well while contining to work. Classes took place in a garden and we each had our own private teacher. I loved the scooter ride to the garden five days a week down the cobblestone roads, pass the ruins from an 1877 earthquake all the way to the garden. We spent twenty hours a week with a private teacher, Christian took seven weeks and I took five. Halfway through we talked our teachers into a Nacho and Micheada party for a class. We convinced them that with a little alcohol we could speak a way better spanish, and they went for it. It ended up being more of a party with five students and five teachers joining in. Mostly the party was in spanish until the class moved to a nearby pub with more beer, more nachos and tons of dancing. With that recipe we all started speaking some rediculous spanglish.
Weeks before Christian and I made the descion that Antigua was where we will drag the scooter up to and try to sell it. The weight of the scooter was destroying the van; shredding the back tire, ruining the suspension and breaking the shocks. So for our last few weeks we took it on many mini adventures through the colonial city, up to tiny mountain towns, through the nearby villages and out to organic farmers markets with live music.
We were able to meet up with a handful of friends here since we stayed put for ten weeks: Micheal and Izabella (kocovnici kocovni), Josh and Jenna (Travel Amateurs), Miles, Aaron and Nietzsche (Totoro the Van), Joe and Josee (Joe and Josee’s Journey) along with making new friends from school and housemates.
Several times a week we would take the scooter to the mercado for some fresh fruit and veggies, which was always a colorful errand. I didn’t want to forget to share the chicken busses here, they are retired american school buses that are bedazzled to the nines and take on king of the road role, however because we had the scooter we missed the opportunity to take a ride in one.