After a long day of traveling on Tuesday, here I am back at home, and here is Saint Francis, directing traffic just outside the door to my office.

He was carved by a young man in Chichicastenango, and I bought him there at the open air market which is said to be the largest in Central America.  The colors and sounds! Here is an old woman selling flowers, and a  Mayan mother and daughter making tortillas...



I could have roamed with my camera all day. But as always with to much to see and too little time, I had to move on.

It is too bad that "awesome" has become so overused and misused, because the sense of history on this trip could have been described that way; two days after my time in this market, I was in the northern part of the country, in jungle, and gasping at the ruins of the civilization that existed here 3,000 years ago, and from which this mother and daughter descended. Here in a place called Yaxha...a national park the partially excavated ruin of a temple:

with my friend and traveling companion resting at the bottom before we climbed to the top. Notice: no snack bar, no trinket salesmen, no tourists; just the sound of wind and bright-colored birds, and an overwhelming sense of the past and our own insignificance. Surrounding us were countess other ruins, some much higher than this: pyramids and temples and tombs, the leavings of hundreds of thousands of Mayans, now moss-coated and still.

Several years ago, Martin and I visited Newgrange in Ireland, a monument and burial chamber that dates back to 3200 BC, and which has a windowlike opening in its domed center, through which the sun appears at the winter solstice. The Mayan temples at Yaxha and Tikal in Guatemala also were built with a knowledge of astronomy and are carefully situated to mark and acknowledge the equinox and solstice. Their calendars...they had both solar and lunar calendars...were as accurate as ours today (and no, they don't, according to my guide, predict the end of the world this year. The simply come to the end of one Mayan cycle and then start afresh as they have done for centuries)

I am yammering on and on like a Frommer's Guide. Sorry. It was that kind of trip, that brings one home with many thoughts and with a changed sense of where one fits into this world.