Archive for April, 2012

Hip Hop Draws Youth Away from Violence in Guatemala

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Hip Hop Draws Youth Away from Violence in Guatemala by Leonel -Nelo- Mijangos

In Guatemala hip hop is not just a dance or lifestyle; hip hop is a way out; a way out of gangs and violence, a way out of red zones and dangerous neighborhoods.

A quick Google search about hip hop in Guatemala took me to the website from where I grabbed the song above. Also, in the results I found this interesting article about Trasciende, an organization who teaches youth about hip hop and promotes peace, love, unity and enjoyment. Below you can find a fragment of the article and an overview video clip about Trasciende and hip hop in Guatemala.

… In the context of this reality one would not expect the youth to organize nonviolent actions, workshops or, as we shall see, an academy that teaches the principles of nonviolence. Yet, if we were to take a stroll down Calle 12 and 6ta Avenida, of Zone 1 in Guatemala City, we would find a group of mostly young men who celebrate the spirit of nonviolence every day.

Trasciende, an organization founded in 2009 by a group of five B-boys (break dancers), is a hip-hop academy that offers art workshops as a means to draw the youth away from violence and into a peaceful environment. Mr. Fer, the head of the academy, meets regularly with those who attend the workshops to discuss the four values Trasciende promotes—Peace, Love, Unity and Enjoyment… continue reading the entire article at Waging Nonviolence.

photo by Leonel [Nelo] Mijangos.

Running in Guatemala

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

There’s always someone running in the streets of Guatemala. Probably practicing for a race or just for exercising. Nowadays we have more races than we used to and therefore more Guatemalans are running. If you wanna start running, the “Dirección Técnica de Carreras de Ruta” gives you the following recommendation:
– Learn to breath properly while running
– Eat healthy meals
– If you don’t feel you have the physical condition, start by walking every day
– Discipline
– Determine the reasons why you wan to run
– Good shoes and light clothing

I love running and I’ll try to show you more pictures of this beautiful sport. The most famous races of Guatemala (and the oldests) are:

• Carrera Max Tott (January)
• San Marcos: La Carrera de la Primareva (April)
• Media Maratón Internacional de Cobán (May)
Media Maratón De las Rosas de Antigua Guatemala (July)
• Carrera Patzún (September)
• Maya Maratón Internacional Amatitlán (November)
• Carrera San Silvestre (December 31)

Stela 5 at Tak’alik Ab’aj

Saturday, April 28th, 2012
Tak'alik Ab'aj
Stela 5 at Tak’alik Ab’aj in El Asintal, Retalhuleu by ANTONIOLEDERER.

Tak’alik Ab’aj (/tɑːkəˈliːk əˈbɑː/) is a pre-Columbian archaeological site in Guatemala; it was formerly known as Abaj Takalik; its ancient name may have been Kooja. It is one of several Mesoamerican sites with both Olmec and Maya features. The site flourished in the Preclassic and Classic periods, from the 9th century BC through to at least the 10th century AD, and was an important centre of commerce, trading with Kaminaljuyu and Chocolá. Investigations have revealed that it is one of the largest sites with sculptured monuments on the Pacific coastal plain. Olmec-style sculptures include a possible colossal head, petroglyphs and others. The site has one of the greatest concentrations of Olmec-style sculpture outside of the Gulf of Mexico.

Takalik Abaj is representative of the first blossoming of Maya culture that had occurred by about 400 BC. The site includes a Maya royal tomb and examples of Maya hieroglyphic inscriptions that are among the earliest from the Maya region. Excavation is continuing at the site; the monumental architecture and persistent tradition of sculpture in a variety of styles suggest the site was of some importance. Continue reading about Tak’alik Ab’aj at Wikipedia.

No Pirir. Yes, design can make you happy

Friday, April 27th, 2012

No Pirir. Yes, design can make you happy by Rudy Girón

World Graphic Design Day is celebrated on April 27 known in Spanish as Día Mundial del Diseño and to highlight the graphic design work being produced in Guatemala I bring you the latest billboard of a very successful advertising campaign created for MegaPaca, a second hand clothing store chain.

By the way, Paca is the term used in Guatemala for bale or large package normally shipped in a palette, which is the way these second hand or discard clothes make their way into Guatemala and other countries in Central America. Paca is also the name used for stores that sell paca clothing.

Because I am a politically correct person I will say that Guatemala is one of major recycling centers for things discarded in the good old U.S.A. I will say that Guatemalans give a second life to things dumped by estadounidenses (Unitedstatians) and Canadians to a lesser degree.

To end this post on a positive note, watch the TED video Yes, design can make you happy by graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister. Enjoy!

Holy Week Stamp from Cobán, Guatemala

Thursday, April 26th, 2012
Semana Santa; Cobán, Guatemala
Semana Santa; Cobán, Guatemala by Lon&Queta.

The most famous venue for the Semana Santa (Holy Week) is La Antigua Guatemala, but there are many more places in Guatemala where the processions and traditions are just as colorful.

For instance, take the processions of Cobán, in Alta Verapaz, like the Procesión del Jesús Nazareno del Perdón, Jueves de Semana Santa – procession of Jesus on Thursday of Easter week, a unique and colorful stamp of the fervor and traditions of Guatemala.

Roaming the streets of Guatemala City

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012
Guatemala City
Guatemala City by johanohrling.

If you’re looking for the authentic sounds, colors and flavor of Guatemala City look no further than the Centro Histórico (Historic Downtown) or Centro Histérico (Hysteric Center) as Miss Trudy calls it; criadero de artistas she also claims. Honest, the Centro Histórico in zone 1 is where the true identity of Guatemala City hides.

Thousands of miles away, in a city that in most ways couldn’t be more different than San Francisco, music struggles to survive. Guatemala City is an incredible place, but it faced with challenges of overcoming violence, poverty and an extremely polarized class structure. There are very few spaces that support live music and it is virtually impossible to make even a modest living as a musician. So there is a bit of irony in an Oakland born musician (a city 10 minutes away from San Francisco) deciding to make Guatemala City his home. Or perhaps, irony has nothing to do with this. Perhaps this is a rare instance where a musician’s relationship with his music has no room for thought about money or “success”.

Chris Dobel, better known as El Gringo Loco (or more recently EL Gringo Moko), at first glance comes off as a street hardened gypsy straight out of a Guy Ritchie film. His songs however show the complexity and genius that live inside of his hardened shell. His songs tackle themes such as love, friendship, sex, addiction, betrayal, the human condition in such an honest and brutal way one can’t help but feel a sense of refreshing empathy.

Equipped with his hand made kazoo, Chris’ voice is raw and pure, echoing the hardship of the stories in his lyrics in a way that allows you to see beauty in the hard truth that life can be difficult. (source: unHEARDworld)

Café Saúl en la Sexta

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012


Teatro Lux was an important Movie Theater created in 1936. Last week the restaurant Café Saul ( Saúl E Mendez chain) opened its doors to the public and caused a big surprise for this kind of restaurant is usually located in wealthier areas. Times are changing, what once was an avenue full of informal commerce, traffic and routine is now an Avenue of interest for the big companies.  The rumors are they will encourage cultural activities in this place. I hope they do and I hope it is afforable for all of us.

A recent article about Sixth Avenue:

Used books for sale

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Yesterday was the World Book Day. Some activities took place in different libraries of Guatemala. I decided to visit a library of used books in zone 1. Although buying used books is not so common nowadays due to internet and free on line books, some people still prefer the feel and smell of the paper.  What do you prefer to read? E-books or paper books?

A day of work

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

There’s always a place to go.  A new day has arrived and each Guatemalan wakes up with the hope of finding what they are looking for.

Panoramic View of Lake Atitlán

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

Panoramic View of Lake Atitlán by Rudy Girón

We’re so lucky in Guatemala to have Lake Atitlán a short trip distance from most places. What better way to enjoy Earth Day than with one of the most of beautiful and breath-taking destinations that Earth has to offer. Also, Lake Atitlán would be a great place to be for the End of the World as we know it later this year on December 21 as suggested by NYChapin recently in AntiguaDailyPhoto.

The song below could be the soundtrack for the end of the world and a very good representation of the fusion that happens in Guatemala or Guatemaya every day: take cumbia, reggae, son, with lyrics in Maya, Spanish and English play it at the rhythm of the Garifuna of Guatemala and you get a piece that is very difficult to classify; in other words, Guatemala pura. Enjoy!

All the way from Guatemaya, 13 energies 20 nahuals, Babylon is ending, Babylon is falling, Babylon is dying… 13 moons has began…

Guatemalan Roads Above the Clouds

Saturday, April 21st, 2012
Los cuchumatanes - Panorámica by imarigorta
Los cuchumatanes – Panorámica by imarigorta.

The roads on the Los Cuchumatanes, Huehuetenango, Guatemala can at times be above the clouds. This photo was taken near Páquix, Huehuetenango.

Even though Guatemala is located in the tropics, most of people actually live on the highlands, Altiplano as we call the high lands here, thus enjoy of temperate weather most of the time, except in places so high up like in Los Cuchumatanes, where you can expect very cold and freezing temperature.

Have you visited Los Cuchumatanes in any of your trips? If the answer is no, why now pay a visit this wonderfully remote part of the Guatemalan landscape.

Guatemala City’s Periferico Aerial View

Friday, April 20th, 2012
El Periferico, Cd de Guatemala by Fernando Reyes Palencia
El Periferico, Cd de Guatemala, a photo by Fernando Reyes Palencia on Flickr.

This wonderful and rare shot of Guatemala City’s only freeway and main artery was taken by Fernando Reyes Palencia from a small plain as he was coming back from Huehuetenango.

El Periférico (peripheral) was supposed to be the outer ring highway surrounding Guatemala City and perhaps it was at the time it was built. Nowadays, Circuito Interior (interior ring) might be a much proper name since Guatemala City has grown many times outside the Periférico freeway.

What do you think would be a better name of the Periférico now?