Friday

Today the team packed up and left Guatemala City for the colonial town of Antigua. It is a picturesque town with cobblestone streets with a views of two volcanoes. This is is the first chance many of our team has had to really get out and see a part of Guatemala. Even though Antigua is a top tourist destination it has a quiet pace and lots to look at. We all split up to explore the city as we wish with many going to the artisan market to shop for gifts. Some ventured out to witness la quema de diablo, a ceremonial burning of a devil. The statue was ignited in front of a large crowd and supervised by the local firefighters. Traditionally paper mâché devils are burned on December 7 at 6 PM. It is supposed signify getting rid of all the bad things to prepare for the new and in anticipation of the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The ritual was accompanied by fireworks, firecrackers, a band, and street vendors. A group had dinner in the roof if Sky Cafe and watch the fireworks above the Antigua.

It was nice to unwind a little and get some local color. We head home to Austin on Saturday. Everyone is eager to get back to family and friends and hopefully we will all have lots if stories to tell.