Today another optional tour and we make our way out of Antigua towards Tecpan. On the way we stop at a Church, although this is quite an unusual Church. It is a cross between the Catholic religion brought by the Spaniards and the Mayan religion. They pray to a god, but it is not Jesus, but Maximon, also called San Simón who is at the alter. He is a Mayan deity represented by a moustached man. People will enter this church, kneel and make the sign of a cross as Catholics do, but then step up to the alter and give offerings, like throwing rum, or money at Maximon or rubbing the drapes of Maximons clothes and then rubbing their own head. It is most unusual. They pray to Maximon to bring them good fortune and all around the walls inside the church are signs requesting things like, two new trucks, or cure someone of an illness or some signs give thanks, like a young women who got two diplomas which she attributed to giving offerings to Maximon. Outside the worshipers then set a small fire in the courtyard as an offering and smoke cigars or cigarettes. At one fire a man is rubbing the leaves of a plant over a women's body trying to cure her of some ailment. It really is very bizzare!
We then go to Iximche ruins the only Mayan ruins that were not abandoned by the Mayans, they were partly destroyed by the Spaniards in 1524. Therefore, these ruins did not need excavating as they were not covered by earth or had trees and plants growing out of them. Although not as impressive as Copan, there is a shrine towards the back of the main plaza where Mayan's still perform rituals today. On the way back to our van we see several red crested wood pecker in the trees.
We stop for lunch on the way back and arrive at 3.30. Phil, Anita and I hitch a ride into town with our driver so we can have a further look around and then Anita meets us for a G & T at 5.00 before we go back to the Hotel to get ready for our farewell dinner.
It's a bit of a rush, a quick shower and we meet Tomas for a Guatemalan rum at the Hotel bar and then we go to Wetcen Restaurant. The inside is very'old world'and the table settings are beautiful, with rose petals on the tablecloth, candles and fine china crockery. All the waiters have bow ties. The atmosphere is lovely and the food delicious. We have soup as a starter and Phil has duck and myself fish. There is a complimentary glass of bubbles when we arrived and a complimentary cup of tea at the end. A very fitting farewell dinner for a really varied and fun 24 days. We did and saw a lot!