Archive for July, 2013

Street Art: Murals, San Juan Comalapa

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Last week I showed you one of the Primitivism paints on the main access road to San Juan Comalapa. Today I bring you the rest of the photographs of the murals.

San Juan Comalapa

Bureaucracy

Monday, July 29th, 2013

Bureaucracy, lack of common sense or what Aristotle called “Practical Wisdom”.

Today I bring you a quick story.

We have been enjoying a couple of weeks with no rain. So, after a few weeks of no bicycle rides; I took my bicycle (La Poderosa) to work.

There is a big hill on my way to work called Cuesta de Villalobos. Almost when reaching the summit: surprise! I get a flat. To my good luck, there is a big –and well known- bicycle and motorcycle store less than hundred feet ahead. I asked the security guard if they had a shop there too, and he replies positively. He sends me to the counter to talk to the attendant. I asked him for fixing a flat (puncture) and he calls the technician.

Can you fix my tire I asked. Yes he says, but It won’t be ready until Wednesday (Three days later!?).  Thanks anyway. I’ll fix it myself; I tell him. But, can I borrow your pump please. Yes, ask the attendant at the front desk he commands.

Well, I walked towards the attendant and asked him for the pump. I can’t do that. That’s not my department, among other excuses and negative indications. He looks towards the manager for approval. The manager signals an OK and asks the person mopping the floors to go get the pump.

Don’t you love (not!) our bureaucracy!?

More: My tires use Presta Valves. The pump they bring me does not fit the Presta. I asked them for an adapter. The attendant had to ask the manager. The manager states that they don’t carry Presta Valves, or adapters. What!? I silently scream myself. Well, I’m glad I had an adapter in my saddle bag.

Either way; thanks for letting me use your pump.

Elí

Unlocking Bicycle Wheel:              30 seconds

Removing Inner Tube:                   45 seconds

Replacing with my Spare Tube:  90 seconds

Reinserting Wheel to Fork:          60 seconds

Total:                                                     Less than 5 minutes

Bicycle Shop Estimate:                   Three Days!

Oh! I got another related story.

A few months ago I went buying accessories and appliances (a lot of them) for my restaurant. At the register they were giving away calendars. I tell myself: Nice, I can use one of these home too. I asked the cashier for a second calendar. She stands there motionless, like if I had just told her and obscenity. She looks towards the manager, who was very close by and heard my request. The manager signals with his head an OK and the cashiers hands me the calendar. All that for a $.10 cents calendar.

La Poderosa

Street Art: Murals, San Juan Comalapa

Friday, July 26th, 2013

San Juan Comalapa is a small town in the province of Chimaltenango, not more than hour and a half drive from Guatemala City. This town was hard-hit by the civil war that engulfed the country for 36 years. The military outpost on the outskirts of the town was responsible for hundreds or even thousands of crimes committed against the local indigenous people. The people endured this hardship and they express their memories and suffering on a series of murals on the access road to the town.

By the way: this town is full or Primitivism Artists. Home to the famous Andres Curruchich (e).
Murales Comalapa

Anglicisms

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Anglicisms

Our language has been invaded by Anglicisms. At some point, it seems that advertising industry is trying to impose it on the consumer. But the uses of Anglicisms don’t stay there. They have become implemented on daily speech, specially used –over used- by young people.

In reference to the use of Anglicisms, the Philologist Raissa Kordic states: The importance of the issue is that has everything to do with our Cultural Identity, with the strength of the culture of a country, that if you are going to end up being “occupied” by another culture. The English language has pride in its self; it constantly recycles its words. Spanish can do it as well. Our language –Spanish- has a vast richness. What does not exist can be invented. But sometimes words are replaced when there are better alternatives –in Spanish-.”

I do agree with her, when she implies the weakness of a culture when its language is taken over by another.

Any thought?

anglicism

Mercado de San Lucas

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

I am a person who always likes to try new things. I try to avoid going to the same restaurant too often, that way I’ll be forcing myself to try something different, something new. Mercado de San Lucas, a local market on the road to La Antigua Guatemala, offers a great selection of restaurants, with a great selection of grilled meats and poultry. I’ve tried many of the food stands but I keep coming back to the same one. Their meats are grilled to perfection, the Atol de Elote is delicious and the chicken is to die for.
I started my meal with a cup of Atol de Elote, followed by a Tortilla con Adovado, and then a Tortilla con Carne de Res (with grill beef) and top it off with a Tostada de Guacamol. All this for less than $6.50.
One thing: Everyone I know calls it “Mercado de San Lucas”, which for some time I did too. Until not long ago, walking the streets of San Lucas I found the Real “Mercado de San Lucas”.  And upon paying more attention I saw the name of the  “Mercado”  with the food stands, but I can remember it right now. Again Guatemalans not calling things by their right name.
Atol de Elote

 

 

Guatemala City

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

A night shot of Guatemala City, seen from the Scenic Overview of Carretera a El Salvador. I saw a better spot to get photographs. Next time I’ll attempt shooting from that location.
Guatemala City

Garnachas

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

Garnachas are very thick deep fried corn tortillas, topped with diced meat with sauces and grated cheese, cabbage and chile en escabeche (sort of pickled concoction of sliced jalapeno peppers, onions, carrots, etc.). These were delicious! I found them at a restaurant in Ipala. I highly recommend them. They were 3 for Q15 (3 for less than $2).
Garnachas

Street Art: Graffiti

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

The USAC -only public university in Guatemala- has a long history of supporting the commoners causes and was the only institution that openly dared opposed government repression and state sponsored crimes. And due to that, it was a victim of state atrocities against its students and teaching staff. We see that spirit in its Graffiti.
USAC
USAC

USAC

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Yesterday I went to USAC, the only public university here in Guatemala.

I got a lot of photos but I’m running out the door right now, but I promise I will show you some more later today or tomorrow.

I found this chap doing stunts with a soccer ball. He was very talented.

USAC

 

USAC

Street Art: Graffiti

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

If I’m not wrong, this graffiti depicts two Zapatistas. What is a Zapatista? Well, I rather have this song explain it to you: Zapata’s Blood.

I found this graffiti at USAC, which is the oldest University of Guatemala, and the only public one too.
Street Art: Graffiti

Laguna de Candelaria

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Most Guatemalans have heard of this lagoon, but I always thought it was called: Laguna de Ipala -Ipala Lagoon-. Everyone calls it that. At the summit there is a big billboard telling a bit about the lagoon and to my surprise, the real name is Laguna de Candelaria.
This is a location one has to visit! It is less than a three hour drive from Guatemala City and there is a road to the summit accessible by 4 wheel drive vehicles. There is another road, the one I took. From that parking lot it is an easy 45 minutes (if you are in good shape) to the top. To my surprise; the road is very very clean, I did not see any trash along the way, not like most tourist landmarks here in Guatemala, and they have trash receptacles along the way.
The visitor center has very friendly and informative crew. Talk to them and you’ll hear some history of the place.
The lagoon is clean: I was snorkeling and found no trash or any signs of pollutants. I love snorkeling, it shows you another world bellow the surface. Here you can find these tiny fish with black stripes and a few different species of molluscs.
Candelaria Lagon
view from summit

Child Labor

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

Child Labor is well known and widespread through out the country. Most people would condemn it right away without thinking much of the immediate consequences. Many children are force into working on the streets selling any kind of product, flowers this occasion, or shoe shinning, car washing, among many other things, in other to earn some much needed cash. As I’ve witness, a lot of them would be deprive of necessary cash to buy food or basic needs if it wasn’t for the money they earn on the streets. Guatemalans would condemn Child Labor stating that they belong in schools or playing with children their age. Very true indeed, but current Economic and Social circumstances leave them with no other option. The dilemma is: Have them not work and go to school on an empty stomach, with no food waiting for them home; if they have a roof where to come back to, with no money for basic human needs, medicine, etc. or the very sad alternative: having to work on the streets to temporary solve an immediate need. Got an answer to the dilemma?
Child Labor