When I read in Qué Pasa magazine that October was the month of Photography in Antigua I got a little excited.
Straight away deciding to do the Walking Photography Tour of Antigua that Saturday morning.
So excited in fact that all I read was ‘meets at the fountain at 8am in Parque Central’. That's all I needed to hear. I was prompt, arriving early in fact, and rearing to go. Now, you should not be in the least surprised that when I saw a Photography group meeting at the fountain at 8am naturally I tagged along thinking they were my people.
No matter that I was the only Gringa (white lady) surrounded by gorgeous little Guatemalan smiling faces. I didn’t even think of it. No warning flags going off in my brain. Just happy for the opportunity to practice my Spanish.
No matter that I didn’t check around the fountain. There was a Photographer right in front of me wearing all the gear.
The 'Canon' scrawled across the back of his vest and wearing a very professional Canon camera hanging around his neck meant this must be the guy. And when I approached him and introduced myself to Roberto Guerra (aka The Wrong Guy) he said he was a Photography teacher. So naturally I thought that was my group. These are my people. Right?
They were a University group down from Guatemala City for the morning with their teacher, and they were all looking at me a little confused. Probably wondering who I was, but I just put it down to the fact that I was a foot taller than everyone else. Not my finest moment of intellectual brilliance.
NO. As it turns out, I had just high jacked a University class and tagged along. All morning spent walking around town, joking and chatting with the students having a wonderful time.
Discovering things you had walked past a hundred times but not looked at with a photographers eye like the half n half door. Two halves totally different. I loved it. How had I walked past this so many times without noticing?
It was great to hang out with like minded individuals. All the while totally unaware that it was a private group. Yes, similar to a Wedding Crasher, I was the Simple Minded University Crasher (SMUC) in other words. Oops.
Now there are perks to being the SMUC of a group that is too polite to say anything. For example, student entry into one of La Antigua's grandest churches, La Merced Church to see the spectacular courtyard inside.
Normally there is a higher charge to be paid for tourists but I was with a group of students so hey, cheap tickets – bargain!
And free Photography advice from a University Professor whose class I’m not even in. Priceless. Thank You Roberto.
Being the SMUC is a wonderful way to spend a morning in La Antigua. Insightful, interesting, educational and surrounded by friendly people. Albeit they may be a little confused as to why you are there but hey, overall it’s great… for the SMUC.
Looking back a week later, all I will say is that if you find something you are passionate about, then please don’t allow yourself to be blinded by the outside world. Jump in boots n all.
Turn up where you are supposed to be rearing and ready to go. But by all means, ask if that tour is the one you are supposed to be on. At the very least look around and when you see that other group of photographers, maybe, just maybe talk to them too and see if THAT is your group.
Don’t just high jack the first group you come across. That is how SMUC’s are born.
And it avoids looks like the judgey one I got from this massive Iguana we came across in Tanque la Union. He thought I looked weird in that group. You can see it in his eyes. He's thinking 'what are you up to Missy?' and giving me the sly eye.
Speaking from experience, it’s great fun being the SMUC but when you finally realise you really do feel a little silly.
But hey, what's life without a little silliness?