Monday, January 2, 2012

January 1, 2012 Rabbi Abie's first impressions

January 1, 2012
Rabbi Abie Ingber
Antigua was superb. We arrived on New Year’s Eve just before dinner. The city was the ancient capital seat of Guatemala and arguably Central America but earthquakes and volcano eruptions eventually moved the capital to Guatemala City. People refused to abandon the 450-year-old town and eventually some reconstruction took place. Now, 34,000 people live there, but it is such a tourist draw that I would not be surprised if a quarter million were here for New Year’s. It was wall-to-wall people on the basalt cobblestone streets. Fireworks were everywhere, as were friendly folks and colorful costumes. There was a Times Square atmosphere in the entire city. While the students settled in a rested, we adults went sightseeing and ended up seated up front at a salsa restaurant with amazing salsa dancers. At midnight, we got a glass of complimentary champagne. Everyone hugged and celebrated. It was a great experience.
The students are really bonding. Today (with the help of a guide book) I gave them all a tour of the streets and churches and earthquake ruins. We have now arrived in Panajachel - our hotel village. It feels like home. Tomorrow, we set up our clinic and do 3 hours of home visits to diabetics, elderly residents, etc. Lots of climbing!
Tonight after dinner, we get our medical orientation.
Buenas noches!

No comments: