It’s my first day back in Antigua and I’ve already had few mishaps, but that’s what makes travel interesting. You have to be ready for the unexpected. My flight at 3am was pretty uneventful, although staying up for it was quite torturous. I slept for maybe 2 hours. We arrived at the airport and I was supposed to be picked up by someone who works at the school I’ll be taking Spanish at. My confirmation email said that the man would have an orange sign with my name and the name of the school. I get out of the airport where people get picked up, but no orange sign. So I wait. I look around. I wait some more. No luck. Okay, no problem, I’ll just go get on the internet back inside and find the number and call. Nope, no internet anywhere to be found.
So I could have panicked, but knew it would do no good. I had to just figure something out. So I used my best Spanish to bargain for a cab to Antigua. I got a decent price and had the driver take me to the school, but it’s Sunday. School is closed. He recommended a hostel and that’s where I wound up. $10 for a clean room that even has a tv and a shared bath. Not bad.
I tried to take a nap, but it wasn’t easy with the booming of fireworks outside the window. I forgot just how loud they were here. Eventually I decided to get out and explore. Now, anyone who knows me well knows that I am what we like to call directionally challenged. I got directed to the Parque Central, which is right in the middle of town and which I’m very familiar with. I passed the familiar yellow church called La Merced, but somewhere I made a wrong turn from my hostel and wound up pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Antigua is a town hopping with tourists, but as I walked I saw none. There was nobody coming up to me trying to sell things and absolutely nothing looked familiar. I did stay here for seven weeks a two summers ago. Something should have looked familiar, but no.
Finally, after walking in circles for about an hour, I asked, again using my best Spanish, where the park was. When they asked which park, I knew I was in trouble. If we were anywhere close to Parque Central they would have known what I meant. When I said the central park they told me it was at least 20 blocks away. I was tired from lack of sleep and dizzy from walking in circles and not eating anything, so I found myself a tuk-tuk and made it to the park.
From there, I had no problem getting around. I just needed the park as my base. The rest of the day entailed roaming the cobblestoned streets, checking email, grabbing a bite to eat, taking pictures, browsing the shops, and reading at my favorite café. I was able to contact the Spanish School via email and made arrangements to get picked up to be taken to my host family tomorrow. Coming back to Antigua felt like coming back to see an old friend. The sights and sounds came rushing back as if I had never left. I fell in love with this city last time I was here and I already know I will love it just as much this time.
“Figure It Out” -Maroon 5