Ten days have gone by very fast and it has reached to the last portion of the trip, Antigua. Although I was not able to avoid feeling guilty when enjoying the material life at Antigua, I was still attracted by the colorful walls and the antique buildings. While on the street, I began to think about my privilege and all the presentations during the trip. I also observed the actions and emotions of other tourists. I learned that while I took many pictures “every other second” like a tourist, my perception have changed when I look at the Guatemalans.
Last night at the restaurant and today at the market place, I saw many traveling with their families or as a study group. Their smile reminded me the tourist billboards I mentioned on my first post; they came to Guatemala to relax, to buy pretty souvenirs at the lowest price, and to enjoy all types of luxury goods. In comparison to Guatemala City (except zone 10), Antigua definitely has more fancy restaurants and stores to shop, in which, a tourist would not be able to understand the current condition of the country. When I was wandering, however, I began to ask myself if the people begging for money on the street are deported migrants trying to gather money to return home. Or if the vendors in their indigenous costumes used to live with their indigenous tribes but are separated now due to resources exploitation and the internal conflict?
After all the informal conversations and presentations from the speakers and the drivers, I have a different view about Guatemala. In the future, I will not visit a country only for my joy, I will also try to understand the history, the struggles, and the outlook of that country.