Guatemala Day One

What a day. Rachael had warned me of possible travel delays based on some Vedic astrology data she had read, and it was absolutely correct. How did we miss seeing that American Airlines had a fuel tank fire at their Miami airport hub on Thursday?

As we sat on Charlotte waiting for our flight to Miami, I got a call from the airline telling me our flights had been cancelled and that we were rebooked for Sunday, which meant we’d need to stay in Charlotte another night and lose a day of our trip. It also meant rebooking our hotel in Antigua and rearranging our shuttle to Villa Sumaya. Not good.

We managed to get a spot on the plane to Miami today anyway, and barely got onto a later flight to Guatemala City. It meant a 5 hour layover in Miami, but we felt we needed to get there today no matter what.

We made it to Miami, and after a few cat naps in the gate, we boarded the plane along with two FIFA soccer teams who were signing autographs and flirting with women the whole way into Guatemala. There must be a big tournament near here this weekend.

We were shuffled through customs quickly, thank goodness, and walked out of the airport into a scene that felt like a demented red carpet stroll at the Oscars. There were several hundred men behind ropes shouting at us to accept rides to varying destinations. I spotted the man holding a sign with my name on it — the shuttle to our hotel in Antigua.

We followed a man named Nino to the shuttle bus, and after several near collisions on curvy roads where lane markers mattered little, we arrived in Antigua at Hotel lo de Bernal. Once inside, we learned of the next delay: our room was unavailable because the bathroom was out of order.

Luckily, they had arranged for a room at another hotel. So back onto the bus with Nino we went.

Several bumpy cobblestone streets later, we got to the new hotel. From the outside, it was a walled off alleyway, which most of Antigua seemed to be. It turned out to be a beautiful Spanish feeling setup on the inside, and we went to pay Nino for the ride as we checked in. He told us it was $45, which we took issue with since we were originally told it would be 25.

After much Spanish flying around, we ended up getting settled up, but due to not having change for a 20, we had to borrow 5 bucks from the doorman to pay Nino. We are to get change in the morning and pay the doorman back, which we will definitely take care of.

Exhausted, Rachael and I sat on the veranda in the hotel courtyard and tried to soak in the situation, letting the day’s events start to slide away, knowing that we made it safely, better late than never, and ready for what the week has to give us.

It was dark when we arrived, so we haven’t quite gotten a feel for the insane beauty that I know surrounds us, but judging by the lights flickering on the mountains and volcanoes around us, and my memory of being here 20 years ago, I am certain the morning will be a nice treat.

Stay tuned…

About Will Chatham

Will Chatham is a Cyber Security Analyst, Ethical Hacker, and Penetration Tester at a data center in Asheville, NC. Since Netscape 2.0, he has worked in a wide array of environments including non-profit, corporate, small business, and government. His varied background, from developer to search engine optimizer to security professional, has helped him build a wide range of skills that help those with whom he works and teaches.
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