When I was in Guatemala in 1983 at the tail end of a long civil war, and not extremely long after the devastating earthquake in the 1970's, the culture was friendly and the climate was perfect. I was only 12 years old when plans for the trip got underway. I went there without my parents. I've never stopped wanting to return.
I stayed on a coffee plantation owned by a close friend of the family. He was an architect, and was educated in Louisiana. Unfortunately I drank from a well on the plantation and contracted Montezuma's revenge, the real variety of which is entirely amoebic in nature, is not contagious and has nothing to do with food.
The ruins of old stone churches and haciendas in Antigua have provided a lifetime of ponderance. One of the world's highest lakes is also in Guatemala, Lake Tenochtítlan. The air up there was spectacular.
I was too young to go where I really wanted to, apparently. I did not muster the voice to clamor for a visit to that house. I didn't stop hating myself over that for a long time. Later I found out there was no place of ill repute, and that the whole concept had been dangled in front of me just to make old people laugh. So very funny. *__*
We were unable to go into the northern jungle. The jungles of Central and South America can be dangerous in more ways than one. I got great historical photographs of the Mayan pyramids in those jungles as a consolation prize. The area surrounding them looks nothing at all like it did before clearing and restoration of the sites started. People can go see them now.
The antique dealers and book sellers in Ciudad Antigua have mind boggling deals. That city also serves as a trade center for the gorgeous textiles of the highland Indians. My host for the trip, the architect Vides, designed one of the five star hotels there. The accomodations are out of this world.
I was studying the Montessori Method and Jungian educational theory last night. The elevator became sort of frightening on the way down from the third floor stacks at the Middleton Library at Louisiana State University. We on the elevator disembarked with great haste as soon as the doors opened. ('011)