Halfway through our week in Guatemala, we split into two groups to travel to a lakeside resort about 45 minutes away from Clinica Ezell, for lunch. The place was truly beautiful: everything from the architecture to the rich colors of Latin America, from the landscape and beautiful trees and flowers to the light breeze flirting with us as we ate – everything seemed to point to the theme of the day – beauty in simplicity.
When we arrived we milled about the balcony, before sitting down at our tables, taking in the beautiful view. I was completely at home and completely at peace. Latino American colors, sounds, smells and tastes are most of what my best dreams are made of. The very atmosphere makes me feel like I belong – there is less striving and more being – I’m convinced that my heart has always and will always beat to the rhythm of a Latin American drum.
As I looked from the balcony to the building across the street, I was struck by this staircase. What mesmerized me about it was the yellow reflected in the entire scene: the paint on the outside of the staircase, the flecks of yellow in the tiles adorning the two middle stairs, and the yellow flowers in the bushes framing the scene.
I stood there for a moment, taking in the picture and thinking about this staircase as a representation of my life’s journey so far. Each step on my “life staircase” is a move in a generally unknown direction, but Christ as my constant gives every step a burst of, in this case, yellow to adorn each phase of my journey.
We took our seats and ordered our food. I got Horchata to drink. Horchata is a traditional Latin American rice drink. It is made from pulverized rice that is mixed with sugar, water, cinnamon and sometimes, coconut. It is chilled overnight and served over ice, sometimes with a slice of lime. This Horchata, however, was from a mix *salute to Major Letdown*, but that’s ok. My grilled chicken sandwich made up for that.
After lunch, we walked around the grounds for a bit, admiring the buildings and landscape.
I kind of have a thing for doors…
When we were done with lunch on the lake, we headed back to Clinica Ezell to start wrapping things up. We ended our week with an overnight stay in Antigua. We left Clinica Ezell on Friday morning after breakfast and arrived in Antigua around lunch time. Some of the group who’d been before recommended Mono Loco (Crazy Monkey) as a good place to eat. I had a fantastic sweet potato burrito with a side of roasted corn and black bean relish.
I keep a cuisine journal, so I’ll share my notes on the meal: the flavors were very balanced and complemented each other well. The roasted corn relish had just enough jalapeno and cilantro to liven up perfectly seasoned black beans and the roast on the corn was perfect – a delightful balance of smoky and sweet. The burrito was an oversized flour tortilla wrapped around a filling of mashed sweet potatoes and sour cream, roasted red peppers cut into slivers, and black beans. The guacamole that came on the side had a fresh, clean taste. There was nothing in it that didn’t need to be there. It was balanced, bursting with flavor, and a great complement to a delicious burrito.
After lunch, we walked around Antigua for a bit. We passed several churches which for me, especially as both a Theology student and church history nerd, was the best. We didn’t go into any of them, though.
This the top window of a church that suffered severe interior damage during an earthquake.
In addition to beautiful churches, we also saw a lot of beautiful fabrics. Guatemala is known for their textiles. In my room I have a table runner, from Guatemala that I bought during my last extended summer in Mexico. It is yellow in the middle and rainbow striped down both sides. I love it. It’s a mix of rich purples, pinks and reds, and a bright sunflower yellow.
This vendor showed off her handmade treasures for us.
Each thread has a purpose; each color, a reason. Each pattern is unique, and each completed masterpiece tells a story. I hope my story turns out as rich in purpose and as masterfully unique as a Guatemalan table runner.