top of a hill the capital came in view, and an excellent winding road took us down into the
plain in which the city is situated.
It was raining in torrents when we entered the town, and some of the streets resembled
rushing streams. Light bridges on wheels were placed to enable pedestrians to cross from one
sidewalk to another. These bridges are always kept ready in the same places, so that if it rains
they can at once and easily be placed in position. I found an excellent stable for the horses,
and later went to the 'Hotel Palace', which is very good and up to date.
The capital of this republic is relatively new, having been built after the town that is now
known as Guatemala Antigua (Old Guatemala) had twice been destroyed by eruptions of the
north-west of the present-day capital. A few years ago the new town was shaken by a severe
earthquake, and the amount of damage done can be seen when one visits the outskirts of the
city, where rows of villas still stand in ruins.
There is very little of interest to be seen in Guatemala City, but its hilly surroundings and
the delightful climate make up for this.
A few trams run to the outskirts of the town. These public conveyances are propelled by
old Ford engines, and I ventured to make a journey in one of them when I went to see a clev-
scale horizontally and 1/2,000 vertically. It is made of concrete, and running water marks the
rivers, lakes and oceans. On my way back the tram derailed, and the driver asked me to help
him to lift it back on the rails. Having failed, after two or three strenuous efforts, I thought it
would be less work to walk back to the hotel.
Marimba bandsentertainedvisitors,andthe alta sociedad oftowncameintodancetotheir
music. Here, as in some other southern republics, I again noticed that all the American-haters
try to look as American as possible at these dances, using any odd word of English they hap-
pen to know in preference to their own language.
Whilst in this city I saw a man who had been kept in a dungeon below the San Francisco
church for sixteen years. This happened during Cabrera's time. The food and water were
lowered through a hole to the prisoners below, and those who died were hoisted out through
the same opening. Considering what this man must have gone through during those sixteen
years it was a marvel to see him still alive, but the horrible experience had slightly deranged
his mind; and no wonder!