Monday, February 12, 2007

To Guatemala and Back

To the left is a pic of the view to the west over Quito from our condo.
For the past two weeks, I've been holed up in Guatemala for some pretty intense meetings and a workshop. The first week was in beautiful Antigua, of which I got to see very little, but it was a great place to have a conference. The second week was in Guatemala City, which surprised me.

In Antigua, some of the folks attending the conference stayed at the Hostal Santa Ana. It is a beautiful old house with rooms facing a courtyard and free coffee every morning. The owners are as nice as can be, but the rooms are spare. It was a challenge for us to be there on business, as there were no phones or Internet in the rooms, but the place was very clean and comfortable. I highly recommend it to people who want a quiet and sweet place to stay out of the main part of town. It is on Calle del Hemano Pedro. Our conference and the rest of our group was at the Hotel Villa Colonial. I'm not sure about the rooms, but there is OK wireless access around the grounds, and the food is good. It was a lovely place to have a conference, and apparently is also lovely for tour groups of senior citizens from around the world. Not the place to stay if you are a party person, but quiet and beautiful. Don't be fooled by the antique look of the place, it is only 8 years old! During the conference, we had a chance to purchase beautiful handicrafts from Artesanias Rosa, a women's group supported by my organization in Guatemala. They do really nice, high-quality work, and the fair price supports a good cause. They are located on 10 Av. and 7 calle number 18, in Zona 3 of San Marcos. They open on request. I'll post pics tomorrow.

In Guatemala City for our workshop, we stayed at the Radisson Guatemala City, which, on the surface, is a very nice hotel, but really is a crapper. Every room had different services, Internet service is $10/day, which is a rip off, they had no free water in the rooms, which is essential in Latin America, and the food is mediocre at best. Our conference room was nicknamed "the cave" because it was small, dark, and smelly. I recommend you avoid it like the plague.

Overall, it was good, but I'm very happy to be home in Quito, and am excited to finally move into our new condo here. Not sure if it will happen today as planned, due to difficulties getting a mattress, but hopefully tomorrow I'll be in there.