“All good things…”
Friday afternoon Carolina and Maia picked us up for the long drive to Antigua, where we stayed for two nights at the lovely home of Carolina’s mother, Lucrecia García Granados.
Lucrecia’s great-great grandfather was Miguel García Granados (1809-1878), leader and “Philosopher” of the 1871 Revolution to overthrow the corrupt Presidente, General Vicente Cerna. After the liberation of Guatemala City, he became the 7th President of Guatemala, 1871-1873. During his presidency García Granados initiated and supported many liberal reforms, including education and the arts. In 1872, he invaded Honduras, where he decreed freedom of the press, established separation of church and state, and expelled the Jesuits.
García Granados designed the Guatemalan flag which remains almost identical to his original version, produced in 1871. Like George Washington on our American $1 bill, García Granados’ portrait appears today on the Guatemalan 10-quetzales bill.
Continuing her illustrious family tradition, Lucrecia has established a project fostering the education of girls. Her program is called Associacion de Supracion Educativa (see Facebook page). This is a mentorship program to improve the lives of Guatemalan girls, and give them tools to build their way through education. Lucrecia is looking for godmothers to sponsor these girls, who are eager to improve their lives, but do not have the means for adequate education. Lucrecia says, “With your generosity, you give a helping hand to one of our girls, and with effort she will be able to climb as high as she wishes.”
Saturday we celebrated Lucrecia’s 73rd birthday, starting with cake in the morning. In the afternoon we all went up in the hills to a beautiful park, Cerro de Santo Domingo, with its several fine museums and a spectacular overview of Antigua. A number of craftspeople were selling their wares, and Dona bought a beautiful shawl from the woman who wove it.
In the evening we went to Osteria, an outdoor Italian restaurant owned by Lucrecia’s friend Francesca, where we were joined for dinner by her dear friend, Patricia, who is also Italian, and a real hoot. We feasted royally, managing to go through three bottles of prosecco [an Italian champagne analog]. Conversation was an animated gesticulating mix of Spanish, Italian and English, with Carolina translating some of the Spanish for us. I haven’t laughed so much since Dona and I were in Mexico last Jan. with Jiva and Diego. Eventually Maia crawled up onto the table and fell asleep. The best line of the evening was her sleepy voice, “Why am I on this table?”
[Answer: “Dang! We were just about to start the autopsy!”]
It was 11:00 and they were putting the chairs on the tables when we finally departed.
Monday we went for lunch at another outdoor restaurant, Amos, where Carolina’s niece Monica’s boyfriend Sebas was playing guitar. Afterwards we said our tearful farewells to Carolina and Maia, who headed back to Santiago. Lucrecia drove Dona and me on to Guatemala City, putting us up in the guest quarters of her private apartment in her grand eco-hotel, Terra Esperanza. We watched nightfall from the hot tub and swimming pool on the 10th floor, with its all-around panoramic view of the city and distant volcanoes. Unfortunately, the actual sunset was occluded by storm clouds and lightning. Lucrecia joined us for dinner in her restaurant, Kardamomuss. Afterwards Dona and I caught up with episodes of the Rachel Maddox show before bed.
This morning I woke up in considerable pain from the horse incident on Sat. 8/11. Lucrecia arranged for a massage for me in the hotel gym, which really helped! I had a FB phone chat with my Grey School apprentice Nicholas Kingsley, who informed me that, once again, rumors were circulating of my demise—this time from being knocked off the horse. I told him to let people know that rumors of my death were greatly exaggerated, as Mark Twain once said.
Tonight we watched a beautiful sunset over the mountains beyond Guatemala City from the hot tub and pool. Lightning flashes in the south heralded a light rain that soon followed. A poignant farewell to a beautiful country and beautiful people! We are so blessed!
Tomorrow morning a taxi will be here for us at 4:45 am, to take us to the airport for our 7:00 flight back to Austin.