Archive for October, 2013

Road To Chisec

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Ha ha, the first time I drove by this exact same spot I saw two ducks swimming in the puddle and then I noticed the swimming sign next to it. Well, I do not know if the sign is for a swimming location near by or a prank by some local.
Chisec

Stormy night

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

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Che Guevara

Friday, October 25th, 2013

A very controversial figure. Loved by many, hated by others.
This mural is at Plaza del Guerrillero Heroico at Universidad De San Carlos de Guatemala.
Plaza Guerrillero

A day in Zone 10

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Zone 10 is the Premium business district of Guatemala City.
I am not a big fan of urban areas, specially here in Guatemala, but I do have to admit, from above it looks impressive, serene and yes; beautiful.
For lunch, if you are a devote carnivore, you have to check out this place.
It is a very simple meal, a slightly season, good size piece of meat, served with a small cut of cheese and a slice of jalapeno pepper. Perfect! The meat is what it should be, cooked to perfection, very juicy and flavorful.
Here you don’t get distracted by any sides, you get your meat and some bread and olive oil: That’s it! but as I said; if you are a devote carnivore you’ll love this meal.
The price is a bit high for Guatemalan standards, but you get a good size steak and of great quality.
Paying for parking (Q10) at the restaurant is something that does not seat well with me. I don’t think it is coherent when two costumers buy two full meals and drinks, tip the staff and on top of that, they have to pay to park their vehicle at the restaurant’s parking lot. It is not much; Q10/$1.25, but in principle I find it offensive. But I guess that’s the norm here in Guatemala.
Bon appétit..
for the name of the restaurant you just have to ask. ūüėÄ
Zone 10, Guatemala City

Quetzalteca

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Quetzalteca Rosa de Jamaica in a can!
This is something I noticed recently and and I have no clue since when it has been available, and finally I bought it and tried it.
It is very tasty and easy to drink with a 16 proof, perfect for a hot day.
And just a $1 would get you one of these cans.
Tchin Tchin…
Oh, one more thing: Most Guatemalans call Quetzalteca “Indita”. I personally avoid that term because the word “Indita” is a diminutive of the word “India”, which Guatemalans constantly use a a pejorative and a racist insult, a word that is constantly used to refer to the indigenous people of the country.
So, whenever you can, I advise you to use the real name “Quetzalteca” and avoid the Guatemalan’s name “Indita”.
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Food

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Street food Tacos

Guatemalan Street Tacos al Pastor are not as sophisticated as Mexican ones (from vertical spit grill), but they are okay in flavor and for Q10/$1.25 for a three tacos portion, you can’t go wrong.
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Food

Monday, October 21st, 2013

This is a Transmetro, a very large version of a Shuco
Almost fourteen inches of off the grill mixed meats (sausage, chorizo, longaniza, and grilled beef) on a slightly toasted bread, with a healthy spread of Chimichurri, steamed cabbage, ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard. ¬°Bueno Probecho!
Oh, all of it for just Q26 or $3.30.
One more thing: the name Transmetro comes from the large articulated buses we use as a metro system.
Transmetro

October 20th

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

Here is a gallery of a October 20th march, commemorating The revolution of 1944. The revolution of 1944 overthrew and bloody dictator and embarked us on a brief democratic period and deep political reforms, until a CIA backed coup d’√©tat overthrew the elected president of Guatemala, which put in place another dictator. For a brief history, checkout AntiguaDailyPhoto.com and an interesting post on the 1944 revolution.
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October 20th

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

I went out on a bicycle ride and on my way i encountered a march. History of today’s and complete commentary later today.

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Montecristo

Friday, October 18th, 2013

While working in the liquor industry I got my hands on some bottles of Montecristo Rum, Guatemala made.
I kept two bottles, and of course I drank one of them and saved the other.
I’ve been to several liquor stores and supermarkets here in Guatemala and I’ve not found it. (!)
The quality is great for the price, on the rocks it is perfect for any occasion.
Don’t hesitate to grab a bottle if you spot it here in Guatemala, and tell me where so I can buy a bottle too. If it still available…!
Montecristo

Serenata

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

This is how Guatemalans start their birthday.
If you ever wondered what was that live music at 5am, it was a birthday serenade.
serenata

Alta Verapaz and Playa Grande, Quiche, No Reservations!

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

I won’t sin of sugarcoating anything! So here it is, a brief commentary of a two day trip to Northern Guatemala. I arrived at noon at Fray Bartolom√©¬†de las Casas, a small town on the northern-most area of Alta Verapaz. I have been to this town a few times before, just as a transit point. I get here with a big appetite and started looking for a decent place to eat regional food. I asked a couple of people and I was suggested to try a fried chicken place (chain restaurant headquartered in Guatemala City), very regional right! Another of the suggestions was a Cevicheria, a place where ceviches are their specialty. Ceviche at a town very far from a coastal area, ¬†any ocean, lake or mayor river, I think that’s a sin. I ended up ordering some of that fried chicken. Personally I find nothing interesting here to photograph, after walking the town streets, I put away my camera and in fact, did not take one single photo here. After lunch, I headed to Playa Grande, a town known by many because it was heavily contested by warring sides during our civil war. ¬†The town was and still is the headquarters of the regional Guatemalan Army and the guerrilla forces never got to control the town. Ironically: after the signing of the peace accords, Guatemalan guerrilla forces became a political party, and now they have their regional headquarters based in Playa Grande, not more than 5 blocks from the imposing Guatemalan Army military base. I don’t have much positive to say about these two towns. Their food offering is mediocre, messy streets are the norm, no dominant architectural style, no parks (decent ones) or leisure areas, nothing impressive or appealing at plain view. They are merely disorganized supply and commerce centers for locals. ¬†People are great tough! Very friendly and welcoming and they make the best of what they got. I just hope they never read what I have to say about their towns! Food here ¬†is an aberration (I’m referring to what’s available to the traveler) ! Unless, unless you get invited to a local’s house to eat some of what they eat at home! Under an scorching heat, I get invited to a local’s house. They offered me a pitcher of freshly made lemonade. Delicious! I’m presented with a plate with a serving of cheese and cream, a separate bowl of black beans and another bowl of hot sauce and some tortillas. Wow! I exclaim to my self! I am a cheese lover, on my last trip to Europe, I brought back at least 5 pounds of cheeses from Northern ¬†France and the Netherlands. Since I move back to Guatemala, I’ve failed to find any cheese that would make me sigh. I had a small bite of this cheese and I immediately fell in love!¬†“Lo acabamos de hacer”, we just made it, they tell me and out of the porch they point at the cows the milk came from. Soft, not salted like all regional cheese you find in Guatemala, fresh, with a some character, simply delicious. The cream was exquisite as-well, made fresh everyday at the house. I put some of those black beans on my plate and added some of that spicy sauce to them. Wow! I tell myself once again. It is a spicy sauce made with onions, chiltepes, and loroco¬†and some other herbs, a combination I had never seen. Very impressed once again!¬†Is it a regional style sauce I asked them. No, from here no. It happens that this family migrated from ¬†the Eastern region of the country, and that’s the way they make hot sauce where they come from. ¬†If it wasn’t for that meal I would have not survived! Kite Season. It is kite season here in Guatemala and I found these children flying their kites at a park in Playa Grande. Laguna Lachu√° The entrance to¬†Laguna Lachu√° is on the road we had to travel back from Playa Grande to Coban. it was around 5pm when we reached the entrance. We stopped and asked if we can go in. No, you can’t, the park closes at 2 and people have to be out by 4, a park ranger tells us. We talked our way in! You have to go fast he tells us, because it is getting dark. Well, I had flashlights, so darkness wasn’t an issue for us, but we decided to go to the lagoon fast. The lagoon is 4 kilometers from the entrance; we ran top speed to the lagoon. The area is beautiful, clean and it is one of the few wild life sanctuaries in the country. In fact, we heard howler monkeys across the lagoon and when we ran back to the entrance we heard a small troop close to the road. While talking to a local attending a small tienda, he tells me they have even seen jaguars in the area. Cob√°n, Alta Verapaz Cob√°n is a city you can easily fall in love with. One advice tough: Make sure you book a hotel room early or you might spend two hours driving around finding no vacancy and of course running out of fuel in your vehicle. El Calvario is a Christian church ontop of a hill in the City of Cob√°n.¬†¬†Well, the site is sacred to mayan people too. I spend no more than ten minutes on the summit and while I was there, there were four Mayan ceremonies under way. The prayers were spoken in a Mayan language, I could not understand much, except for a few words “cardamomo pantiosh” thanks for the cardamon. I assume they were blessing their crops, “ajau ajpu” Hunter God/Lord. I guess I have to work on my Mayan language skills. To end the trip, we stopped at a restaurant on the side of the road. I always try different foods, so I ordered something from the menu I had not seen before: Salchichon Ahumado, smoked salchichon. Oh man, no better way to leave the region than eating that salchichon with fresh tortillas and black beans. If you ever travel to¬†Cob√°n, you have to try that, trust me, you’ll love it. Mayan Ceremony, El Calvario, Cob√°n