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   January 20, 2003
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Hello friends and family.  

Another exciting day in Antigua.  I am writing this on January 20, 2003 at 9:00 p.m.  We have just experienced our first earthquake in Guatemala.  Only 10 minutes ago the apartment we live in started shaking.  We are fine and no damage done.  I am not sure how great a earthquake it was, but it sure was the best one today.  Actually it was the first one for us, but we hope to experience a few more.  

We have moved.  We no longer live with the Guatemalan family.  Mike Lampe, the guy we bought the practice from, has now moved to Florida.  We took over his apartment which is located behind someone's house above their garage.  Next update we will feature our place.  This time however we would like you to get a feel of what it is like to walk through the streets of Antigua. The real reason of course is our apartment is a mess, because it is our second day here, and we would rather show you nice pictures.  Antigua is about one square mile in size.  We are able to walk from one side to the other in about 30 minutes or so.  The time always goes by quickly because there is so much to see.

This is a typical street.  We are located in a valley so you are able to see mountains in all directions (I think that is the definition of a valley).  The streets themselves are cobble stoned.  Looking at the picture you see what appears to be a garage door on the right.  That is also very typical.  There is actually a door within the larger door.  These lead to private residences, shops, courtyards, ally ways, and so on.  You may pass the ugliest door and if you peek behind it, you will see the most beautiful garden in a sprawling courtyard.  We are beginning to think we could live here forever and never uncover the secrets of Antigua.  Even though we do have bike, at this moment I am walking more than riding.  There are quite a few cars in the city. However, as you will see in the next photo, there are other options to getting around.

It is not uncommon to see locals riding horses through the streets  Do you here that Banhi?  We can trot right on through the city.  The entire city is centered around a wonderful park.  There you see everyone from local Mayans to Dutch tourists.  Some days I think the Dutch tourists outnumber the locals.  I tease Annette about the fountain they choose to place as the center of attention.  Mothers milk I call it.  Annette will only let me look at it for brief amounts of time.  I can't help but smile every time I see it.  A sculpture with a brilliant sense of humor.  I would have loved to have been there when he, and yes I am sure it is a he, pitched his idea to the town so many years ago.  The following pictures are arranged as you approach the park from the south west side.

  

   

Yep, the water just keeps flowing all day and all night long.  I did a double take the first time I saw it.  We do not have any pictures of the market place yet.  We will have to do a special update on just that one day.  You can get lost in the maze of booths and corridors.  We are getting the hang of haggling, it is actually a lot of fun.  As soon as they see blonde hair I think the price gets tripled and they expect you to pay it without question.  So when Annette and I start the barter game they are sometimes a little surprised.  And when we get them down so low or walk away to another booth if they don't agree to a fair price they are really surprised.  We really do need to get better but so far we are fitting in. 

The weather is very cooperative.  Usually mildly chilly in the mornings and then it gets warmer as the sun gets higher in the sky.  At night we wear a sweater or jacket.  The stars are so visible at night...one thing I do not miss about Texas is the fact that you can never fully see the stars because of all the light produced in the city.

Here are a few pictures of our clinic.  We thought every one would like to see where we spend our time working.  We are very proud of it and think that with a little paint and a roof it will look great!

 

Our patients sure do appreciate us.  Last week we made 120 quetzales, two chickens, 35 avocados, three dozen eggs and a bottle of rum.  I especially liked the rum and I hope we didn't fix the guy to well and he will come back.  Well that might be a good eye full for now.  Stay tuned for our next update we sure do miss you!

Nathan and Annette