Perhaps I wasn’t pushy enough. Perhaps my wallet was a devoid of its fun-producing partner, you know, money. Perhaps altitude sickness meant that I was mixing up Indonesian with Spanish, thoroughly confusing the staff members with whom I chatted. ¿Puedo masuk? Can I enter?
Nope. No scapegoats or excuses this time. In fact, the answer was rather simple: nothing’s going on today. No events, productions, concerts, sacrifices- and that’s why the interior of Guatemala City‘s famed theater and cultural center, the Centro Cultural Miguel Ángel Asturias, was inaccessible. Yet I’m only slightly disappointed, since I didn’t know that the place existed before glancing at it while biting into my merienda (afternoon snack; no, it’s not the actual name of a snack, it’s the meaning).
Paying homage to the Mayan culture, Guatemalan architect Efraín Enrique Recinos Valenzuela designed the structure, which was completed in 1978, to represent a seated jaguar. From any angle, do you share his imagination? All I see is a woebegone toy from a pediatrician’s office that really wants to emote but can’t because it’s inanimate. Just as you expected.
My visit wasn’t all in vain, because one of the security guards let me walk around the rest of the theater grounds. Although I have virtually no interest in a thespian’s world, the unusual architecture and the surrounding works were fascinating enough. Amphitheaters can be found outside of the main cultural center, as well as a few anti-ergonomic benches, but naturally I was focused on the abandoned house perched on a hill overlooking Guatemala City’s civic center. How do you make the phrase “civic center” sound even remotely pleasing? Have an abandoned building nearby.
Is Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción (that is, Guatemala City) in your travel plans? Likely no, but if you get a kick out of quirky architecture and street steak (as in the food, not a euphemism for prostitution), consider it.