National Geographic : 1947 Oct
U Natitoial Geograplii Sociely Kodaclhrime by Luis lIarden Yellow Sulphur Streaks the Sides of Restless Fuego (Fire) Volcano Southwest of Guatemala City, the active vent is the lower of twin peaks. The higher, 12,989-foot Acatc nango, has a cold, filled-up crater. Shortly after this photograph was made, a violent eruption blew away part of the sharp-edged crater walls at left. Solid sulphur condenses as yellow patches beneath steam jets. into a catch basin. As I sat on a bench near the fountain one day, a friend pointed out town characters to me. Indicating a man who walked with a limp, rising and falling at each step, my companion said, "There goes the (an Opener." When I commented on the good looks of a passing girl, he shook his head. "Yes, she's good-looking, but that's all; lacks appeal. We call her 'Cafiaspirina' la popular brand of as pirin I, because she 'does not affect the heart.' " But a dark-eyed girl who sat opposite us with a girl friend had plenty of spirit and character. To a bell-bottomed-trousered dandy who spoke and leered at her as he passed, she snapped, "Honey was not made for a buzzard's beak." Close to the Plaza stands the iron-barred yellow house of Bernal Diaz del Castillo. A soldier with Cortes on the conquest of Mexico in 1519, Bernal Iiaz fifty years later wrote down all he remembered (which was prac tically everything) of that saga of Spanish arms. By then he was an old man, living in Guatemala on land allotted him as one of the original conquerors of New Spain. The bulky manuscript, in the old soldier's hand, is carefully preserved in Guatemala City's City Hall. When I first turned the yellowed pages of the account ten years be fore, it made me want to see for myself the route followed by Cortes.* While I read the tablet in the wall of Ber nal's house, a man standing in the door said, "Would you like to come in?" Showing me a niche in the wall he had dis covered when remodeling the house, the pres ent owner said, "Perhaps the old man kept his writing materials here." He told me of Antigua's history, and when I commented on his knowledge he said, "Of course, but I have many other interests. I am," he drew himself up, "a tailor, farmer, beekeeper, and philharmonic musician.' Tilemakers of Spain brought their art to Antigua. They covered walls, fountains, and * See "On the Cortes Trail," by Luis Marden. NA TIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, September, 1940.