Arriving into the Port of Quetzal the first thing that you notice is the industry around the port. Many ships wait off shore to unload their cargo. While we were in port they were unloading coal.
Our chosen tour today was to the UNESCO world heritage listed city of Antigua located 90 minutes away in the cool highlands. Our bus was quite small and uncomfortable but when we reached Antigua we realized that they wouldn't be able to negotiate the narrow streets in a larger bus.
The drive to Antigua was not unlike the tropical drives that we have where we live in North Queensland. Of course the very noticeable difference is the Volcano's that soar above the landscape. Our first stop in Antigua was at a Jade factory. The american geologist that gave a very interesting talk arrived in Guatemala 40 years ago to solve a geographical mystery of how and where Jade originated. Once she solved the mystery she went to the Guatemalan government and told them she had solved the mystery of the Jade they said to her "We don't have Jade in Guatemala!" Sadly generations of knowledge about Jade had become lost in the latter years. There are only three places in the world that have Jade and they are Russia, Burma and Guatemala.
|Showing us the different colorus of Jade|
Jade is the most valuable stone on the planet but the Imperial Jade pictured below is so rare that it is priceless. The geologist told us that when her husband and her found this piece of jade they new that their retirement was covered!
The sound of the Marimba greets you everywhere, and I love the sound it makes. The Marimba below is made of Jade and is only one of three in the whole world.
After the Jade Factory we made a stop in the town centre. The town of Antigua is renowned for its well preserved Spanish-Baroque architecture and colonial churches.
There are literally hundreds of hawkers trying to sell you trinkets and they start from a young age. This little girl was trying to sell me one of her necklaces.
It was a family affair with mum and her two daughters. We questioned why they weren't in school but didn't really get an answer. We guess that sadly it is a matter of money.
These kids were lucky enough to be able to go to school. The young fellow sitting against the pillar was making small trinkets out of wire. He was so studious in his work.
The main form of transport is still the truck. We saw a couple of motorbikes with mum, dad and a couple of kids but it was mostly truck transport
We really enjoyed todays tour. We had a very informed tour guide and Antigua is well worth the visit. The tour took almost 6 hours which is quite long as far as tours go but we would not have been able to see what we saw in less time.
Back on board we had dinner in Cagneys Steakhouse. It has always been a favorite and this time I tried the Bison. It was delicious but I really couldn't taste the difference between it and beef!
We spent a couple of hours in Spinnaker Lounge after dinner and a walk around the promenade deck. I'm feeling a little off color tonight but we purchased a cordral equivalent so I hope that does the trick.