Archive for January, 2012

Stillness

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

We are used to be in a hurry from one place to another; say for example we woke up late or because of a traffic jam, but a new day has arrived and sometimes we forget the tunnels of stillness we can find. The opportunity to take a deep breath and enjoy the simple things of life that matter.

Do you like to walk during your lunch hour?

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

A lot of people do; In a day-to-day living while people are walking I can hear a Walt Whitman poem:

(…)

O the puzzle, the thrice-tied knot, the deep and dark pool, all untied and illumin’d!
O to speed where there is space enough and air enough at last!
To be absolv’d from previous ties and conventions, I from mine and you from yours!
To find a new unthought-of nonchalance with the best of Nature!
To have the gag remov’d from one’s mouth!
To have the feeling to-day or any day I am sufficient as I am.

O something unprov’d! something in a trance!
To escape utterly from others’ anchors and holds!
To drive free! to love free! to dash reckless and dangerous!
To court destruction with taunts, with invitations!
To ascend, to leap to the heavens of the love indicated to me!
To rise thither with my inebriate soul!
To be lost if it must be so!
To feed the remainder of life with one hour of fulness and freedom!
With one brief hour of madness and joy.

“One hour to Madness and Joy” – Walt Whitman

Parks in Guatemala City?

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Oh yes, even though parks in Guatemala City are not seen as safe places to rest (nor so big, particularly in Zone 1) I always observe people killing time at Parque Concordia: some like to sit and see others pass by, women get together in a bench during their lunch time while others buy an ice cream or wait for the bus. The truth is this park is one of the treasures of the so called “Centro Histórico”, the oldest park in the City. The constructor designer Julio Rossignon named the park “Concordia” but after 1966 the name was changed to Enrique Gómez Carrillo (the name of a Guatemalan poet) however the popular name stays as Parque Concordia and it has been rebuilt several times: First after the earthquake in 1917, then in the mid 20th century and last a remodeling project took place from 2000 to 2004. It used to be a place where a lot cultural activities took place, but nowadays it is rare; mostly because surrounding areas are not as beautiful as this one.

Do you know other parks in Guatemala City?

 

Tortillerías and Tiendas

Friday, January 20th, 2012

As poverty strikes the rural areas of the country more and more, people living in the countryside are faced with the need of moving to the city in an attempt to make a little money. Most of them end up working in the informal economy selling candy, DVDs, clothes, etc. in the streets. Some women make tortillas and sell them to hungry customers throughout the day, especially around meal times. In the past, women used wood to warm up the “comales” (that were made of clay and are now made of steel) but now it is a common practice to use gas instead of wood. Making tortillas is a great time for women to bond: they talk, share their opinions and joys. They might also talk about their love life and crack up a little about it…what do you think they’re laughing about in this picture?
If you are planning on buying tortillas, consider not being in a rush and wait for the warmest ones which are “del comal”. You will not regret it!

P.S. Tortillerias are sometimes in the same spot as small convenience stores or “tiendas”. These stores did not have bars in the past but owners are now taking all actions possible to prevent robberies. I remember when I was little you could walk through the store and get your chips or soda yourself but now you have to ask the owner to get it for you…oh well, I guess things are not the same after 20 years

Text by: Astrid Fortuny

Sweetness of the Earth Packed in a Bag

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Cut up fruit is a popular on the go snack often chosen by students going out of school, workers taking their morning break or simply by people running errands around crowded places. You can see these fruit stands in a lot of busy streets, especially near markets, bus stations, schools, buildings, etc.

Vendors are usually accompanied by their young children, who play around the stand or are carried on the back of their mothers held with a blanket, as you can see the baby in this picture. Some of the delicious fruits you can find in these stands are oranges, mangoes, tangerines, papayas, watermelons, melons, pineapples, and my personal favorite ones: mangoes.

You can add a great kick by adding special condiments like “pepita”, salt, lime juice and chile to some of them, like oranges and mangoes (at no additional extra cost! =0). No matter what corner of the country you visit, you will always find a stand with the pure sweetness of the Earth packed in a bag.

Text by: Astrid Fortuny

A new day has come

Friday, January 13th, 2012

And so there’s the street, where a lot of Guatemalan start walking every early morning. Now that Otto Pérez Molina takes office as Guatemala’s new President on Saturday 14, lots of thoughts of fear or hope stays in the hearts of people; but another day comes and one must be on time for work.