Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Guatemala in 1934: addendum

Present-day residents of Antigua may well have been struck by several sections of the film in the previous post. 

For example, if you have ever wondered why the old fountain on the wide avenue in front of El Calvario is apparently set below street level, the answer is that it didn't use to be, but so severe was the inundation about thirty years ago that the city authorities had little choice but to restore the highway at a considerably elevated level, incorporating a set of steps down to the base of the fountain. 

V remembers well the configuration we can see in the pic below from her childhood, because one day her sister neglected to pick her up from Santa Familia and she decided to walk back to the finca. Her father refused to believe that she had covered all that ground by herself at such a young age and immediately took her out in his car, retracing the journey so that she could point out each significant landmark along the way! 

Another solo expedition occurred not long afterwards when her mother asked her to go into San Juan del Obispo to get some meat. On finding that the butchers in that town had packed up for the day, she embarked on an ambitious journey into Antigua itself. In those days, as in 1934, the mercado municipal in Antigua was located within the ruined church of the Compañía de Jesús (Beside the restored buildings of the Cooperación Española in contemporary Antigua.) 

Huge chunks of fallen masonry lay all around the densely-packed market and V recalls that the experience of shopping there alone that day was fairly daunting. Still, she got the meat and ended up fesssing up to her mother about her trek into town.  

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