Our trip took us to the countryside of Guatemala. Traveling from Guatemala City to Antigua and the Mayan ruins, we saw many things along the way. I took hundreds of photos on the trip, many of them on the road between the city and the country. Here are a selection of my favorites.

Despite the clouds, you could see for miles.

Driving through the countryside, this is what I thought ALL of Guatemala would be like. I was surprised how quickly the city stopped and the country began. No suburban communities, housing developments. Just city, then country.

Hotel Mayan
A sign on the side of the mountain. Way cooler than billboards!

One of the coolest things about the Guatemalan roads is their busses. Our guide told us that they are school busses that are drivable but no longer up-to-code for driving in the USA. (I guess all those smog tests really do mean something) I could tell that there were emission problems with some of the busses, but most of them seemed to be a lifeline in the countryside communities. The busses are much like the run-of-the-mill city busses in LA. They always seemed full of people when we were on the road. Often, people’s luggage was stored on the racks installed on the top of the bus. It reminded me of Romancing the Stone.

Cool Bus
This custom paint job is excellent! Is “Patzuneria” the buses’ name?

I think my favorite part about the buses is their fabulous paint jobs. Our guide said that sometimes the drivers will either paint the bus themselves or hire an artist to do the detailing.

Cool Bus
This bus means BUSiness!
This one was my favorite. A lot of detail went into this beauty.
A splash of color on a cloudy day!
You can see some luggage up top.

Once we made it into smaller cities outside of Antigua, I saw the Guatemala I had been imagining. The rural areas were full of farmland and shops selling the necessities.

I never did find out who or what “Lider” was.
This looked like a good place to stop where you could get food AND tires for your car.
Hospital de Los Angeles!
A handsome building with overgrowth on part of the roof.
There’s that “Lider” fellow again…
Dispensa Familiar: a superstore (similar to Walmart). I love their logo.
A dentist’s office. Love the painting on the wall!
There were dozens of churches along the road. This one was the only green one that I recall.
“Welcome to Antigua”

Once we arrived in Antigua, our first stop was in a monestary. It was a beautiful space full of beauty and a little mystery.

A Building in Antigua
A cross. By happenstance or was it painted on?
Ruins in downtown Antigua.
I believe that some of the monks were buried in this area to the left.

Our guide said that this was a destination spot for tourists and locals alike. The space housed many private and semi-private areas that would be perfect for parties or even weddings. There was a beautiful garden with all manner of plants and a man who had performing parrots with him. There was a wedding in one of the private areas.

The parrot was not to be bothered by paparazzi.
A small glimpse of the flowers before we got caught in a torrential downpour!

As we were exploring the grounds, an incredible storm rolled through and we made our way to the covered shops. I was able to buy some fantastic coffee and some chocolates to bring home with me. My coworkers purchased some other (fancier) goods from street vendors including a jade jaguar for Paul’s wife and Toni got a blanket for her mother. Both got great deals. I wasn’t so good at haggling, but I did get some trinkets for my family back home.

Sign in Antigua
I tried to find some painted tiles like this, but to no avail…
We had to stop here to get some home-made treats before we headed out of town.

After we purchased (more than our fair share of) treats from El Rosario, we headed on our way to see the Mayan Ruins. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was to see them!

Beautiful plants growing on the roof of this building.

And now we begin our journey to the ruins…

To the Ruins
Wonderful signage to point the way to the ruins!
Photography, Travel

My Trip to Guatemala

¡Hola! ¿Qué Pasa?

We got back from Guatemala over the weekend. Wow. What a fantastic trip!

I took TONS and TONS of photographs throughout the trip, and I would love to share some of them. This was my first time to Central America, and I had a great time. We worked hard every day that we were there, except for the last day when we got a chance to see MAYAN RUINS and Antigua. These are photographs that I think are the most worth sharing.

A week in  Guatemala City through my eyes:

MOCAP: Let’s start off with the actual work. I can’t share much, but this is what *I* was doing most of the time that we were in Guatemala. Monitoring the motion capture process and making sure that all data recorded was as close to perfect as possible. If you’re not sure about how motion capture works, feel free to ask me or look it up online. It’s an awesome process and the technology we use is cutting edge.

Staring at screens: This is what I saw for 9+/- hours a day for 7 days!

A shot of the Motion Capture Process in action!

MUSIC: Without going in to too much detail on this either, the music in the game will be made using these Mayan Flutes. We were able to hear a historian and musician play almost all of these incredible flutes. Each one has a completely unique sound, many are inspired by the actual animals that they are supposed to sound and look like. The Murciélago (or Bat) was the most interesting, mysterious, and beautiful. I wish that I had recorded a video with my camera.

Ancient flutes. Some are thousands of years old.

All of these Mayan flutes were made by hand and are originals or replicas. Each has a different sound.

God of Maiz (corn) Flute.

The City: Never being to Guatemala, but hearing many stories before I left, I thought that the entire Guatemala City…and likely the whole country would look like this. Although there are many people who live in poverty, there is a large middle class that lives in homes and apartments that, from what I’ve heard from the young men and women working at the studio, are not too different from where myself or my friends live in L.A.. True there is a disparity between the classes, but it was good to know that the standard of living in Guatemala City seems to be improving for many.

Homes of some of the poorer residents in the city.

Residential. Visible on the drive between where we stayed and where we were working.

Farmland on the way to Antigua.

I thought this is what most of Guatemala would look like. On our way to Antigua.

Radio Stars: One evening after work, we were invited to be on a radio program that is very popular in Guatemala. The host Phantom, the gentleman wearing the skull mask and Darth Vader shirt, was a pretty funny guy. We were all interviewed about what we do, why we are in Guatemala, and more. There aren’t many companies doing what we were doing, so this was a first for the radio show. Our contact at the studio has been on once or twice, though, and he translated for us.  We had a great time. We were instant stars.

Radio Stars

Downtown: We spent most of our time in Guatemala City. The city is like any other metropolitan city I’ve been to. I was pretty impressed both with the architecture and the roads. There were few stop lights and very few road markings (lines, lanes, etc.) but we saw very few accidents. Here in L.A. accidents are a dime a dozen. I was amazed that we only saw two cars broken down on the road, and it looked like one had a flat. The other seemed to have engine trouble. Maybe we just missed the accidents, but I was impressed that, despite the lack of lanes and “rules” that we seem to have in the States, everyone was driving along just fine. I was terrified, though.

I love this blue roof on this large church in downtown Guatemala City.

A lovely garden on the front lawn of a municipal building in downtown Guatemala City.

On the grid! This has to be a fire hazard!
An amazing view from the glass windows and ceiling at our hotel.

There were things that were the same, but different. Take stop signs for instance:

Traffic light and stop sign in downtown Guatemala City

A lovely urban garden. Look at all those plants!

Thank you for viewing the work/travel photos I took while in Guatemala.  Coming next: ART AROUND GUATEMALA!

Stay tuned for the next post!