Jaime has become a dear friend and our English-speaking taxi driver. A few weeks ago we asked him to reserve some time for us on our P day to do our favorite Guatemalan activity-photograph doors and windows. The sights in Xela are so varied and interesting and Jaime treats us (especially me) like kindergartners who need a watchful eye. I love that about him. He opens doors for me and takes my arm as we cross the street. He stops traffic to get us safely to the side of the road, then keeps his eye out for our safety the entire time we're shooting photos. His genuine affection and strong work ethic delight me.
He took us to this 100 year-old public laundry, which really surprised me. Jaime said at 5:00 AM this place is buzzing with all the women from many miles around who have no water in their homes. They scrub their clothing here, but I fail to see the purpose. The water has a film over it and there is no indication of soap being used. Their soap is very different from ours, so that may account for no residual soap. The people here love to be clean, so I'm sure I simply don't get the "process" they use.
These are the individual laundry slots. Only one woman remained at 2:00 PM when we arrived and her laundry was all bundled up and ready to be carried home on her head. She was quite elderly asked Jaime to lift it onto her head. He indicated surprise at the weight she was carrying as she walked away.
This is the only clothesline for all those women washing clothing!
One of the oldest bridges in Xela.
The apex of the city is a mass of winding streets that would be impassible in a rainstorm. Jaime took us to the very peak for some incredible photos.
This guy was not happy with us parking the car to take this photo. He must be somebody's pet, because the street dogs are too busy looking for sustenance to protect a doorway.
These stone streets mark the very oldest parts of the city.
If there is one photo that captures the essence of Guatemala, it's this one. Children are allowed much freedom here and are very street savvy.
Leaving El Bosque and heading back to Xela, this is the view of the Santa Maria volcano which is the same volcano we view from our living room window.