Lately I’ve been a bit remiss at keeping Wanderlust populated with the stories and images that many people seem to enjoy. I’ve been using it a bit more for some light professional applications, and been discussing some of the merits and otherwise of social media and the humanitarian sector.
I have to say though, much as I enjoy engaging on aid-related issues, I do like keeping photos, stories and travel accounts flowing here. It’s what the blog was first created for, and is certainly a passion of mine.
I’ve not really had a lot of time to invest in processing photos or in writing up blog posts in my free time. That’s not to say, however, that I don’t have things to share, nor that I haven’t been taking lots (and lots) of photos. Recent trips include a weekend in Victoria’s autumnal High Country, some time in Fiji for a planning exercise, and, as alluded to in earlier posts, a week or so in Guatemala.
Antigua Guatemala is [one of] the old colonial capital[s] of Guatemala. It was badly damaged by earthquakes in 1717 and 1773, and in 1776, the crown ordered the capital relocated [again] to the site where present day Guatemala City stands.
Antigua showcases traditional colonial architecture in a calm and laid-back setting just forty minutes’ drive from the seething collossus that is Guatemala City. In sharp contrast to the capital, where violent gangs control portions of the city and crime rates are among the highest in Latin America, Antigua is safe and serene. It’s possible to walk around the town centre alone, even at night time, and traffic along the rough cobbled streets is light.
I was able to find time to do several walks around the town centre, which is small and laid out in a typical grid-like structure, with buildings’ outer structures centred around ornate inner courtyard sanctuaries. The walls- one of my favourite features- are wonderfully and diversely coloured and textured, and I spent considerable time photographing doorways and windows set against the bold hues. Cracks and the remnants of earthquake damage only add to the interest.
My personal mission while I was there was to photograph the street signs. On my first trip to Antigua 3 years ago, I found several Stop signs made of ceramic tiles, and I loved the colour and texture, and photographed several. Going back this time, I had it clearly set in my mind that I would track down as many as I could and build a photographic collection of them. I’ll share the results presently, but I had a lot of fun doing it.
I also took a crack at some street photography. I enjoy the outcome of street photography immensely- in fact it’s one of the most rewarding photographic styles for me alongside candid portraiture (closely related) and photojournalism (also related). People are shy in Guatemala so you have to be a little careful, and many refuse to have their photo taken, but I nonetheless thoroughly enjoyed snapping off a few shots as I explored the street life.
All up, Antigua is a fantastic little spot- quaint, easy, picturesque and friendly. It is, of course, a tourist mecca and pretty overrun with gringos, so don’t go looking for that authentic experience you’ve been hanging out for. However for a safe, gentle and terribly atmospheric experience, spend two or three days here and take it easy.
More to come…