Antigua 2006

Saturday, September 14, 2002
Guatemala

014-33.000 N
090-43.800 W
Marine forecast for this location

After our trip to Copan we returned to the boat to finish up a few projects.  One of my final project was installing a GPS antennae for my Autohelm on the radar arch.  This should have been a simple task, as I was going to remove an unused cell phone antennae and replace it with the GPS antennae.  The radar and the 3 antennas on an arch above it are mounted to a 3" aluminum pole which bolts onto the transom.  I had estimated 2 hours...The first problem was that the original installers had tie-wrapped all of the cables multiple times inside of the radar pole, making removal of the old antennae wire impossible.   I had planned on using this to pull the new cable...hum...how they did this is subject of debate.  Clearly they spared no expense, especially when someone else was footing the bill!

After a lot more than 2 hours I managed to get the antennae mounted and the cables pulled.  As I was climbing down I used the radar pole as a support and I was quite amazed when it snapped off in my hand.  So there I was hanging onto this large pole with a radar dome and antennas bristling on top of it while trying to get a firm footing on the dock.  Luckily there were people nearby who ran over and helped support it.  A weld had cracked and upon further inspection it was clear that the whoever had welded it had done a crappy job.  The weld only penetrated 1/3 way and salt had gotten into the back of it and had started corroding away.  Another weld was in the process of failing.   In order to get this welded I had to remove the entire assembly, pull all of cables out and back to their source...not a small job on a boat

Of course this occurred on a Friday.  I managed to get to the piece back from the welding shop late on Monday and got it repainted and installed on Tuesday.  This pushed our trip to Antigua and the highlands back a day.  Luckily that's all that it was, and even more lucky was that this occurred at dock instead of at sea!

On Wednesday we bade BlueJacket goodbye and headed off to Antigua, which is about 4.5 hours by car from the Rio Dulce.  We used Ottotours to drive us there.  Antigua is about 20 miles SW of Guatemala City and is a beautiful town.  At one time it was the capital, but now has turned into a tourist destination and a Mecca for Artists and shops.  We stayed at the Casa Azul, which is a delightful hotel very near the town square.  I can't say enough about the decor of the hotel.  Just wonderful.

If you're into shopping for native works of art, this is the place to go.  The streets are lined with shops selling textiles, jade, paintings, carvings, purses, clothing, jewelry, etc.  And what makes this even better is the architecture and the colors used to paint the buildings.  A photographers dream!   One of the better things that we did was to take a tour of Antigua from Elizabeth Bell.  Our guide, Roberto, spoke perfect English and took  us into lots of places that we would never had known of going to.  Many of these were older houses which are open to the public.  Man did/do they live in style!  From Antigua we also took a day trip to the Highlands, but that's a subject for another report.

We bought lots of stuff for the house and presents.  I can highly recommend Meson Panza Verde for a special dinner.  Wonderful ambiance and great food.

While we were in Antigua it was Children's day followed by Independence day.  Before Independence day each village sends a bus load of children to Antigua who will light a torch from a central flame in the town square and run it back to the village.  It can take days to get back, and believe me, the mountains are steep and long.  Boston's "Heartbreak Hill" is a baby compared to these hills.  For days before you'd hear fireworks from the square and see large groups of kids running around the square before heading back to their villages.  This is an amazing undertaking.


Log ID: 296

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