Maybe the saddest part is that Gillian and I had just gone to record Chol ejectives in the home of a Chol-speaker living in San Cristobal with his wife, a Tzeltal-speaker from Oxchuk. We were taking some pictures of the beautiful view of the city from their house in a neighborhood called Cascajal, high up on a hill in the outskirts of the city, and offered to take a picture of Nico and his wife and give them a copy. They were excited and she spent about 20 minutes putting on her beautiful traditional hand-woven Oxchuk outfit, and asked again whether I would really bring them the pictures and I assured her that of course I would. I had just off-loaded these pictures to my hard drive and deleted them from my camera when it died. So it was a good time to goon a mini-vacation.
Today is our last day in Guatemala. We spent two nights at Lago Atitlan (above), a beautiful lake surrounded by volcanoes near the small city of Panajachel. We swam, ate good food with views, walked up to a village on top of a hill, and shopped around the Guatemala-kitsch market (a little different from the Chiapan-kitsch markets). Yesterday afternoon we arrived in Antigua, and tomorrow morning early we head back to Mexico where Gillian and I will continue recording Chol ejectives.
Antigua is beautiful. Our Lonely Planet chapter on Antigua starts with something like: "In all the long boring conversations about where the 'real Guatemala' is, Antigua is surely never mentioned. But also should not be missed." This seems pretty accurate. Antigua is beautiful, clean, friendly, and safe, with old colonial buildings and views of volcanoes. It has a special "tourist police force" to give us directions and escort us to places near the city. Last night we ate crepes for lunch and a delicious dinner in a small French restaurant. There are Guatemalans around, but it's not clear where they actually live, as the main streets seem to be full of hotels, museums, beautiful old churches, restaurants, and shops. We're not entirely sure what we'll do today, but it will most likely involve walking around and looking at old buildings and sitting in nice cafes.