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Antigua / Guatemala · 2014   market colors

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   ¡A Guate, a Guate, a Guateeeeee! The shouts seemed to echo off of one another at every bus station in Guatemala. Every “Guateeee” was a beacon that marked those flamboyant old American school buses that were capital-bound. And spending more time outside of Guatemala City than in it, I heard them aplenty, so they still echo through my mind until this day; however, only as intonations, ghosts of the voices that once shouted them with so much importance and dedication. A different kind of dedication – but no less committed – was needed to see the sunrise over Lake Atitlán, which was not to die for, but certainly to wake for. A layer of morning mist tucked in those who turned around in their beds once more in the town below, and somewhere in the distance a volcano coughed up a plume of ash.

The Guatemalan land was still wild at heart and the Indigenous culture that connected it with the people ran deep. There was a lot of history in the country’s bones and stones. And the grand views were grand, of course, but what spoke to me most were the Lilliputian villages nestled in the bosoms of these jumbo molehills of the hinterland, which looked like they merited a big old take of a big old mole that had dug them up eons before man arrived at the scene.

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a glimpse

 
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glimpse: SUNRISE PRIZE & PRICE | Throughout the entire breadth and depth of space and time, there has not been a dull slice of sunrise in this universe. Cut the continuum open anywhen and anywhere and you’ll see. Whoever got up early enough on a fine day, on the right planet, has seen a handsome reward. I am sure of it. Of course, getting up early is as brutal a mission as it is affectionate. The night before, you are all for it, with your mind’s eye fixed on the horizon’s prize, glaringly aware that you will cherish the moment and the future memory of it. But, awakening at the darkest hour, drunk on sleep, the looming price seems exorbitant. What to do? Do what a being does best and rest? Or pay up and make your way to the day’s first ray?

glimpse: A SWIM ACROSS THE BRIDGE | If you look close enough you might find that the fine line between imagination and reality is really a bridge. It is neatly inevitable that by the time you’re reading this your hasty eyes have already jumped to the picture and with it to conclusions. The journey has begun. Your eyes carried you away to a Guatemalan dreamscape by the Mayan name of Semuc Champey. They hypnotized you with the tale of turquoise water dividing the jungle and lured you from reality’s solid bank into imagination’s fluid realm. For things aren’t what they seem. The paradoxical title, reminiscent of a surreal dream sequence at first, is actually the signpost to reality here. Follow it and you will see what you’re actually looking at: a bridge. Naturally formed from limestone, it spans 300m wide across the ferociously raging Cahabón River underneath, while shallow pools sit placidly atop. Only by imagining the river, which remains forever tucked away from your eyes, you can see the bridge and swim across it to reality’s bank.

Crops and fields in Guatemala
Old colonial houses in Antigua, Guatemala

 

Countryside / Guatemala · 2014      zebra fields

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Countryside / Guatemala · 2014      jumbo molehills

Antigua / Guatemala · 2014   Colonial leftovers paved the streets.

 

 

 

 

 

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places / stories

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Antigua / Old Guilt

Antigua / Guatemala · 2014   color parade

 

 

 

 

No matter how old Antigua got, it never got old. Yet, for how long can one admire Colonial architecture before the guilt kicks in?

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Antigua / Guatemala · 2014   flowers on the wall

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Antigua / Guatemala · 2014   curbside trash

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Lago Atitlán / Before Sunrise

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Lago Atitlán / Guatemala · 2014   another day in the making

Getting up before sunrise is like getting up before your mom and then waiting to see the look on her face. Feels like an ambush. Parting with your bed in the dark was as heartbreaking at Lago Atitlán as anywhere, but the sunrise was something else there and unlike elsewhere.

Santiago Atitlán town, Guatemala

Lago Atitlán / Guatemala · 2014   lake houses

Cliffs at Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

Lago Atitlán / Guatemala · 2014   an abyss to die for

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Semuc Champey / Swimming into a Dream

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Semuc Champey

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You could swim in it, swim into a dream and come out clean and cleansed. I wonder if it felt better on the eyes or on the skin. There was also a cave somewhere nearby and a river with a bridge to jump off from, and somebody had done so that day and punctured a lung.

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Semuc Champey / Guatemala · 2014   turqoise vein

As in so many places in countries far away, the only boundary was your boundary. No signs telling you off, no railing holding you back, no voice of reason telling you no. Sometimes it hurts, but sometimes is only sometimes and mostly you make it out alive and leave with a story.

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Semuc Champey / Guatemala · 2014   flowing softly

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elsewhere

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in Central America