We ventured out, despite this being day #1 of 15 days celebrating Guatemala's independence. Most of the chaos was on the other side of the city, but Jaime still drove us in a circuitous route to avoid the congestion. Although we had walked past the government building in Parque Central several times, we have never asked for permission to walk into the courtyard until today. The grounds are exquisitely manicured with plants colored for the upcoming celebration.
If you saw the Mormon Message I recommended on Facebook with the story of our friend Ingrid (beautiful young Guatemalan woman and wheelchair-bound amputee), this is the complex where she works.
Outside in the park there were the customary musicians, but no huge crowds as in the past. They are all at the celebration (feria) on the other side of the city.
We had to come to the Passage Enrique building to arrange for our transportation to Panajachel with our favorite tour company. Panajachel is the city that borders Lake Atitlan and we're heading there the first weekend in October with our friends the Darringtons, a senior missionary couple who serve at the temple. A driver and private van cost us only Q700/couple, which is a little over $80-quite a bargain.
This building is a hangout for Spanish language students and other young folks who like to drink and party. It's only suitable for us during the early part of the day, as it gets pretty rowdy about five o'clock.
The oldest streets in Xela are narrow and handmade. We walked these narrow passages to get to the Hotel Bonifaz to have some lunch after paying for our tour.
This is a delightful hotel and the food is quite good.
The birds depicted on the right in this painting are the Guatemalan quetzals. The male is the one with the elaborate tail. We hope to see them live and in the wild before we leave, but they only fly at five AM and their habitat is more than an hour from Xela.