One of the first things I noticed when I came to Antigua in 2003 was the buses. They are rehabilitated Blue Birds, the school buses I rode when growing up in New Jersey. But here, each is individualized, painted by a specific artist. When Olivia and I lived in Antigua, we woke every morning to the sound of the conductor calling all commuters enroute from Antigua to the capital, “Guate, Guate! Guatemala!” We came to love the rhythm of those words. The buses seem so emblematic of Guatemala, that I chose a detail from a bus painting by Oscar Peren as the banner of my blogsite.
The photo above is of Olivia’s favorite store, Nimpot. It’s located on Fifth Avenida, right past the famous arch. This store has everything: masks, huipils (embroidered blouses worn by Guatemala’s indigenous people), weavings, jewelry, carved wooden santos, and even mini-Maximons, the patron saint of bad habits. (more…)