La Antigua Guatemala is Full of Contrasts

Center Fountain in Patio

Actually, it is not only La Antigua Guatemala that is a town full of contrasts, but rather the whole country. Guatemala has a rainbow of contrasts between the wealthy and the poor, the indigenous and the mestizo population, between the mountain high lands and the tropical coastal low lands, between the urban and the rural areas, between the antique and the modern, between dogs with education and homeless chuchos, and so on.

For those who have visited Guatemala, what other types of contrasts can you identify or share with us?

By the way, the first time I posted a photograph of this fountain was in June 2006. Can you tell me the exact date and the name of this building?

© 2007 – 2013, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • Donald

    Facing the cathedral, the building is one block past on the left, at the corner. I do not know the name of it. My sister’s spanish class (Escuela La Union) held classes upstairs on the balcony surrounding the courtyard. There are a lot of shops downstairs facing the street, but you can walk through the big porton into the courtyard.

  • Last August, visiting family in La Nueva I noticed a sad contrast… Sundays the city splits in two very separate camps: Zona 1, el centro is for domestic employees, gardeners, body guards, etc… mainly if you have some indigenous features or you may have immigrated to the city from the rural area that is your space. As you drive back to the area of zonas 9,10,14 (the new business downtown) you start noticing the mixed of races on the commercial centres of zona 4 and near the “Civic Centre”. When you get to La Reforma and then to Los Proceres you see all the brand new cars driven by very light skin coloured people… (well relatively to the rest of the population). If that is not a racial divide I don’t know what it is…

  • Contrasts. I see many as one would from the outside in. When I was a kid my dad would take me to a nearby market in Guatemala City and he would buy himself a bowl of caldo and invite me to a tostada and then some dulces tipicos. Then he would turn to me and say, “But your mom does not need to know about this.” Of course she knew. We were not hungry after our “mandado.” 😀 Anywho, due to childhood memories like this one and my parents’ upbringing, when I go back I usually want to eat the traditional dishes, la comida popular as it were, but I get puzzled looks from relatives/people in general. I’ve been told to go to this high end restaurant or “recommended” to go to that other one, but I when I mention wanting to eat comida tipica, those puzzled looks return. I am not saying there was a Utopia when I was little, but now there is, from what I have experienced, an increasing push to *not* appreciate/be proud of what is national/native. That is, it’s okay and even profitable to put what/who is native on a postcard, but it’s not okay to like/be anything related to what is national/native. In this case, I mentioned food, but I could also mention race (as Manolo pointed out), the marimba, traditions that are being lost, and even the way of speaking, etc. Nadie es profeta en su propia tierra so I’ll stop now.

  • The fountain and the sky — two beautiful blues.
    Contrasts…hmmm…living standards of middle class and working class, of course.
    City and country living. West coast and Southern culture.
    Rap and bluegrass. The lifestyle of Hilton Head and those along the I-95 corrider (a/k/a the corridor of shame).
    Que mas? Empanadas con bocadillo y queso and fried peach pies. Arepas and/or mesa and grits. Oh! Maybe those aren’t contrasts but similarities. 🙂

  • Hemant

    is it La fuente?

  • Suzanne

    It’s El Jaulón. I had to stop by the bank there today. It is quite a contrast with the modern style fountain with it’s ‘windows’ underneath in a beautiful colonial style building. A great photo!