A Tale of Two Travellers ~ Guatemala according to him

By Joe Mortimer: The first thing you notice when you arrive in Guatemala is the colour. From the emerald green of its rainforests to the canary-yellow walls of its colonial cities, the country comes alive in vivid hues from the moment you arrive. While the señorita studied Spanish at a language school in the postcard-perfect UNESCO World Heritage city of Antigua, I spent my days wandering the streets and soaking in some of that colour!

Oh Antigua, you are so colourful!

The volcanic landscape around Antigua is covered in rich, fertile soil, which gives birth to some of the most exquisite fresh fruit and vegetables you will taste anywhere. Carts around the main plaza sell fruit juices in myriad colours to eager tourists, while street vendors ply bags of sliced fruit, seasoned with a squeeze of fresh lemon and a dusting of chilli powder and salt. We quickly became accustomed to having sticky fingers dripping with mulched mango.

At the north end of town, next to the regional bus terminus – a cacophony of colour and noise – the covered market shows off a glut of fresh produce. Enormous watermelons are carved into head-sized slices with a swish of a sharp blade, while fresh coconuts are opened up with three quick blows from a machete and served with a straw. Bananas and plantains are arranged according to ripeness, ranging from lime green to dark earthy brown, peaking at bright yellow somewhere in the middle. Mangos in red, green and orange are piled up next to heaps of grapes, plums, dragon fruit and pomegranate, perfumed by sacks of dried cinnamon whose spicy scent fills the air.

In the centre of town, brightly dressed indigenous women from local villages in the foothills of the volcanoes sell textiles and handicrafts, while smoke-belching chicken buses rumble down the cobbled streets and children scamper around with hand-made toys. Many of the most prominent buildings, including the baroque style Iglesia de la Merced, the Palacio de los Capitanes Generales and the iconic Santa Carolina Arch are all resplendent in shades of yellow, a colour that seems to have dominated the architectural pale e of the former capital.

Only in the ruins of ancient monasteries and fallen cathedrals – victims of a series of earthquakes that flattened the city in the 18th century – does the colourful barrage cease, leaving in its wake a cool, monochrome dullness. Stifled by the absence of colour, I would stumble back out into the bright sunlight and cheery streets, and lose myself once again in the kaleidoscope that is Antigua.

A Tale of Two Travellers

A Tale of Two Travellers

Taking a year out from the rat-race to explore the world, former Dubai journalists Lucy Taylor and Joe Mortimer chart the highs and lows of life on the road, and travelling as a couple. Both of them have been writing their individual columns exclusively for FoodeMag dxb: His & Her column. Below are some of their travel stories… according to her!

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