Olivia and I arrived home Sunday night in California, the place I now think of as “the land of everything big.” Big airport, big highways, even North Americans feel like giants. We stayed in Guatemala for a month; the readjustment takes a few days.
Before I leave the subject of Antigua, I’ll post a few final pictures. The photo above is of two of the managers at Conexion, the Internet cafe where I spent so many hours in 2003 while waiting for Olivia’s adoption to get processed, and where I posted my blog this past trip–the only place I could download photos. Everyone at Conexion remembers Olivia. Many people in Antigua remember all the babies who were fostered by their American mothers. My friend Kallie was amazed at how many people knew her daughter, Maya, and this was their first trip back in six years.
One evening at dusk, Olivia and I took a horse-and-carriage ride with Kallie and Maya around Antigua. A few evenings later, as Olivia and I walked home to our apartment on the southwest side, we heard what sounded like galloping horse hooves heading toward us on the cobblestones. “Impossible,” I told Olivia. “Horse don’t gallop on the calle.” A few seconds later, I was proven wrong as our carriage driver galloped by us, two horses on leads behind him. Olivia called out “hola,” and he paused to smile for the camera.
The photo above is of a demonstration that took place one morning in Antigua. I asked a few people what the group was protesting, and received conflicting reports. A taxi driver, perhaps mindful of the tourist industry, told me, in effect, “No worries. They’re setting up for a concert.” A newspaper seller said it was a group from nearby Ciudad Vieja, wanting the tipica market to move to their town so they could benefit from tourist dollars. A tipica seller said it was because the police are forcing the vendors to stop selling on the street. I never was able to learn the real story, and to be honest, with Olivia in tow, didn’t linger to find out. As much as we love Guatemala, we are still outsiders–at least I am. When I see a crowd, especially one encircled by officers with guns, I move on.