For once, we planned a trip basically spur of the moment. Justin had a short window at work between a couple deadlines, and we didn't know when we'd next have an opportunity to go anywhere, so we planned this in short order. We considered going to the Bahamas to dive with the tiger sharks there, but then Crystal broached the idea of trying to dive with whale sharks. It turns out that in the spring, they tend to congregate off the coast of Belize around full moons. So we found a couple places we wanted to go in Guatemala, and then found the town closest to where the whale sharks hang out in Belize. We'd always been interested in Tikal, and Justin had interest in Lake Atitlan from seeing a picture in his co-workers office many years back. We had some back and forth with our travel agent, Lost World Adventures (who we used on our 2008 South America trip), and did some slight re-arranging because of hotels being booked up around Easter weekend, when we'd be traveling.

This is also the first trip we've taken from our new place, much closer to downtown San Diego. Usually we would drive to LAX, but being so close to the San Diego airport, paying for parking - plus driving - makes no sense. We actually looked at possibly flying into or out of Tijuana airport, but the flight times didn't really work out. We packed up everything in the morning, and around 11 we realized we were all ready, and just killing time, so we went to the airport, which took all of 5 minutes. Our flight wasn't until 1:30, but we had some United lounge passes, and decided to use those. But then we realized that we didn't need them, because we were flying internationally today (even if not the first flight), and that was sufficient to use the lounge. There weren't many people in the lounge, but no one there seemed to know how to say please or thank you to the bartender. You should always say please and thank you, but it seems especially warranted when everything you're getting is free.

The flight to Houston was short and uneventful. We had a one hour layover there. We go through that airport a lot, particularly Justin, who goes through Houston to and from the East Coast. It's much more fun in the airport when you're going somewhere more promising than Shreveport or Newark. There was no one booked in first class, and so we got upgraded on the flight from Houston to Guatemala City. The flight time was about the same as our flight to Houston, about 2.5 hours or so. We landed around 8:30pm local time, which - this time of year - is the same as Mountain time. Ordinarily Central America would be in the same time zone as Central time, but they don't use Daylight Savings time.

At the Guatemala City airport, we were met by our guide Aura and our driver Joel. They told us it would be a short drive from Guatemala City to Antigua, and sure enough it was. Apparently the traffic was minimal relative to normal, probably due to Holy Week, when most of the people in Guatemala are off from work. The drive took maybe 45 minutes, give or take. Our hotel, Hotel Cirilo, was just inside Antigua. The hotel was mostly dark, and there was just one person there, who showed us to our room. He also gave us a note from the hotel operator saying we could register the next day. It was around 10 or so, and so we just unpacked a bit, then went to sleep. Compared to traveling halfway around the world, a couple 2.5 hour flights and only a single time zone change was pretty nice.

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