December 28, 2017

angels in antigua

this fountain angel is just in front of the main cathedral in the central plaza of antigua.  there was a lot of decorating and lighting of the plaza for the holiday season.

December 26, 2017

boy band - guatemala style


December 25, 2017

feliz navidad!

christmas here is filled with much the same energy of a christmas in the states.  perhaps the only thing missing is pumkin spice latte.  no starbucks here yet... i tried to explain a psl to my spanish tutor but just managed to gross him out.  i think americans have done a good job of exporting the stress and consumerism of the holiday.  the market had about 50 stalls filled with christmas decorations and fiesta necessities.  my christmas dinner was hosted by a very lovely jewish woman.  feliz navidad!

December 20, 2017

nachos

found a spot for excellent tacos now i'm searching for that combination for a perfect plate of nachos.  these weren't bad!



December 18, 2017

land rover envy

found this parked on the street in the housing complex where i live.  it was dusk so i rushed to grab a few photos.  i think it's circa 1970 or so.  the interior looked like it had just rolled off the production line.  keys were in the ignition so not everyplace in Guatemala is susceptible to thieves - although, the
lock on the gas tank tells the larger story.  it was gone the next day so i didn't get a chance to meet the owner but i'm sure there are some interesting places that truck has been and some stories it could tell if only it could speak .... 





December 13, 2017

butcher shop

this is the local meat shop.  it's on a road i walk on a couple times a week.  see the red flag?  that means he's just butchered up some animal so the meat is fresh.  whenever i see it i say a quick blessing for the dead one.

December 8, 2017

burning of the devil

really,  it's a thing here every december 7.  it started out as a way to prepare for december 8 which is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  during the colonial period the people would light lanterns on the night of the 7th to 'show the way' for Mary.  however, those people who could not afford a lantern would burn trash in front of their house.  as the telling goes, this escalated to dangerous proportions and the compromise of a local burning of the devil was agreed upon.

when i heard the devil had been erectred i passed by wanting to get some photos.  in Antigua, there are two gas stations.  they are on opposite sides of the same street.  in the middle of that street is a small trianglular area and that is where this 10 foot devil is burned.  really.

then a day later i heard the tragic news that vandals had pushed over the devil and broken it apart. 

but, not to fear, the devil would be burned and so he was repaired and returned to the pedestal between the two gas stations with a few bandaged limbs but still a very good likeness to a devil.  

finally, the day arrived and out comes the cans of gasoline to douse the devil.  there are proclomations made, random firecrackers and torches readied.  at the precise time of 6PM the devil goes up in flames. 

i can barely wait to see what happens next week.


December 6, 2017

immaculate conception

it seems there's a procession here every week for some feast or festival or religious ceremony.  last Sunday as i was passing through the central plaza i saw the preparation for a procession from the main cathedral so i waited around to see what was coming.  it was a big one for the Holy Day of the Immaculate Conception which isn't actually until Friday.

i don't know why the procession would be on Sunday if the holy day is on Friday but i'm going to take a guess.  there are so many churches in this 1KM square town that they have to share the holiest of the statues and so this statue of the immaculate conception gets paraded to a different church each day.

it's difficult to capture the moment with just a few photos.  there were bombas [mega firecrackers] and music and candles and a lot of people wearing medals.  think mardi gras if you've ever been there.  it's a huge honor to be one of the people carrying the statutes and in some cases they charge money.  

ps if you don't know what the immaculate conception is you need to google it or ask a catholic.  

December 4, 2017

chicken buses

Guatemala is where school buses go to die.  it's kind of like their retirement place - like Florida is for retired people.  when the school buses in the US are moved out of service, they are hauled down to Guatemala where they are given a makeover which usually includes some painting, statutes of saints or other religious symbols and lots of chrome.  



these buses are called chicken buses because they are the primary transportation for the nationals [who sometimes will be transporting chickens] and they are not expensive.  in picking a bus going in your direction it's always best to choose the one with the most chrome and best painting.  it's an indication the bus has been probably been cared for mechanically as well.  in relation to other countries i actually feel pretty safe on these.  i just use them to get around certain routes - usually villages outside Anitigua but less than 30 minutes.  still, most drivers drive like 'bats out of hell' with one foot on the gas and the other on the brake.  for this reason it's not advisable to take them on longer distance trips where the possibility of brakes failing on a steep incline or curve would be flirting with fate.

it's a weird feeling riding an American school bus in Guatemala but i also feel like i'm being transported back into my childhood in some way.  uber is active here so that's what i use after dark.