Art

Monday, July 14, 2014 | by

You can find beautiful forms of art at the most unexpected places.
This image is at an outer wall of a house in the suburbs of Guatemala City.

art

art

Chinese Food

Sunday, July 13, 2014 | by

Chinese Food is popular in Guatemala (where it is not?) and there are all kinds of options.
And you won’t believe prices!
For example, you can get a plate of this for less than $8 U.S.A. Dollars.

Chinese Food

Chinese Food

Guatemala City’s Business District

Saturday, July 12, 2014 | by

I am loving more and more Guatemala City’s Business District, it looks impresive, modern, organized and yeah; clean.
And Weather is giving us some beautiful days.

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Using DNA

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 | by

We are bearers of a very sad recent past.
During our armed conflict and the Genocide that came with it; more than 200 thousand people were killled, mostly (up to 83%) by state forces and most of those killed were indigenous Mayan (more than 80%) and of course, most of the casualties of the war were unarmed civilians. Many of these were disposed off on clandestine cemeteries and and unmarked mass graves.
Many of these places have been uncovered and now thanks to technology, DNA testing, many people have been able to identify their love ones lost during the war.

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Maximón

Monday, July 7, 2014 | by

Maximón is a deity worshiped by followers of Mayan religions.
The exact origin of the cult to Maximón is unclear, but it seems to be an adaptation of a Pre-Columbian Mayan Mam deity to the Christian Judas Iscariot.

Maximón

Maximón

Guatemalan Beer

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 | by

Here are two new additions to the Guatemalan beers you can find on your next trip down.
They came out a few months back, and I am trying them for the first time today.
I’ll let you know…

Gallo Beer

Gallo Beer

Tikal

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 | by

Main Acropolis

Main Acropolis


Tikal, The Place of the Voices, as known by the few left Itza speakers.

This is one of the greatest monuments Human Civilization has ever produce.
I would easily put this place as one of the 100 must see before you kick the bucket.
Those Mayan temples towering over the jungle canopy would leave you breathless!
What a great saga is recorded on each of these stones.

Discovery
What!? I really hate when modern history uses the word “Discovery” in cases like this.
Apparently for History literature, indigenous people, don’t count, they aren’t, well, real people.
The indigenous people of the Peten always had knowledge of this ruins, in fact, they led many expeditions to show them to Western explorers. And of course, it is one of these explorers, Modesto Mendez, who is credited with the “discovery” of the ruins.

Discovery!?

Discovery!?

Eli is always a nice guy, I was guiding this handsome couple whom were visiting us all the way from Canada:

Always watch out for those unexpected rains or hailstones!

Tikal is one of the last easy access places where you can still find wild life. You’ll love the large bands of Coati. One of these bands, maybe up to 70 strong, cross in front of me, there were maybe 6-8 females, each of them with at least 6 young, plus the males and of course my camera is in my backpack.
Our cousins Howlers and Spiders are everywhere, keep and eye open for them.

Island of Flores

Monday, June 30, 2014 | by

The Island of Flores Petén

If there would be a Sin City in Guatemala, the City Island of Flores fits the bill.
The Island island is not big at all: you can walk its longest side in less than 15 minutes, but somehow, this small island has one of the most bars and restaurants per capita I’ve ever seen.
There is no drinking regulations, you can drink everywhere: the malecon, the bridge, the streets, or at a rooftop with minimal safety barriers.
You can even drink your beer next a group of police officers with all liberty.
The food quality in the island is great and you have many choices. And this is one of the last places in Guatemala where you can find exotic meats at a restaurant.
There are plenty of accommodations, from all price ranges. You can find hotels that go for $200 per night or those at Q25 per night ($3.5).
Eating at Las Mesitas.
Las Mesitas (small tables) are set on the side walk at the Malecon
Here you can find cheap snacks and local soft drinks. A great place for those night cravings after a day of touring the island. Get some “Tostadas” here, they are 3 for Q10 and they are very tasty.

Flores Peten

Saturday, June 28, 2014 | by

I’m spending the night at this beautiful hotel, Posada Don Jose, in the City Island of Flores.
So peaceful and beautiful here, you would wish you didn’t have to leave.
I heard about a restaurant that serves exotic meats -Tepesquintle among others- l will try to find it and I will have a verdict for
you all tomorrow.

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San Marcos Delights

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 | by

San Marcos is a Guatemalan province bordering Mexico. Land of contrast, at one edge it touches the Pacific Ocean, at the other end is the land of Guatemala’s two highest Volcanoes, Tajumulco and Tacana.

Living a urban life in this globalized economy deprives you of many things. Like me, many people rely on supermarkets to get their groceries, where most of the foods are treated with preservatives, hormones, etc., fruits and vegetables are full of pesticides and who knows what.

That’s why I once a month I get a fresh delivery from San Marcos.
San Marcos has a terroir perfect for growing apples, though this has not been exploited at a commercial level. There are apple trees on a lot of house and they are completely free of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. You can’t get better than this! There is not a big variety of apples but I like those one can get, they are a little acidic, and that’s how I like them.

Getting fresh cheese, free of preservatives and other unnatural ingredients is rather a luxury here in the city.
That’s why I have a freshly made cheese delivered from San Marcos. They don’t use artificial coagulant in the cheese making process, they use a live culture from the cow’s stomach. Yeah, I’ve seen the entire process and that’s why I love it. And when it is done, it is wrapped on plantain leaves.

Habas, Broad Beans -Vicia Faba-
are grown on the highlands. Once dried on the patios or the roofs, they get place on the stove to roast. Your remove the hard and burned skin and bite the hard inner part. They are full of proteins and other goodies for your body. Surprisingly, we don’t see “Habas” in Guatemala City. For some reason they don’t get commercialized here, despite San Marcos producing tons them.

San Marcos is one of the main producer of potatoes in Guatemala.
Buying your potatoes from a supermarket is not the same as getting a bag of freshly harvested potatoes from San Marcos, and these ones are free of pesticides and preservatives; directly from the land to my fridge.

And my fav: Tortillas de Harina
These flour tortillas are somewhat unique to San Marcos, well, I’ve not seen them made like this anywhere else yet.
They make these large flour tortillas with a very simple mixture of water, flour, free roaming hen eggs, salt and sugar.
they are left on the “comal” (hotplate) until they are crisp.

All this makes me wonder: Why the hell am I living in Guatemala City?

A Guatemalan Wedding

Sunday, June 22, 2014 | by

Guatemalan Modern Society does not show many traces of an independently developed culture, many of the religious rituals, celebrations, etc. are offspring of the colonizers. When you attend a Guatemalan birthday, a graduation, a wedding, you’ll feel like it could be in any European, Western country; the music, the food, the ambiance: true, in Guatemala City, middle class Guatemalans rather sign the happy birthday song in English.
I’m glad there are the indigenous people who refuse to leave their customs.
They’ll attend a wedding wearing their regional güipil (Mayan Dress), despite the rest of the attendees wearing formal Westernized clothing.
I attended a wedding this last Saturday and I was a witness to this cultural phenomena, and in fact, I saw an elderly man carrying his belongings in a “Sute” a large colorful fabric that wraps around them.
If it wasn’t for these little details, many times unnoticed, the even’t would’t have had that Guatemalan touch.

Gastronomy from Petén

Wednesday, June 18, 2014 | by

Las Mesitas Festival Gastronomico

Las Mesitas Festival Gastronomico

Allow me to show you something that got me very excited today!
I found a small note on a gastronomic festival in Petén, Guatemala’s largest province and with the largest remaining forests.

I’ll sum it up for you

In the spring of 1525, Hernan Cortes (one of the Conquistadors) army en route to Honduras crossed the Petén region, where they were fed by the surrounding jungle; they ate Zapotes. In Tayazal, capitol city of the Itza they were invited by King Canek to a banquet where they ate palmito soup, coshan asado, empanadas de siquinche, tamales, bollitos de chaya, caldo de chayuco, tortillas de ramon mixed with majunches, deer meat, tepezquintle, armadillo, iguana, pizote, mapache, wild boar and different birds meat and local fish and of course frijoles (beans) to finish the meal with a local tobacco cigar.
In 1847, as a result of a war in the Yucatan Peninsula, there was a migration to the Petén lands from the Yucatan, and this came to influence Petén’s gastronomy: Stomach (cow’s) bouillon, gallina en col, gandinga, estofado, salpicon, escabeche de costilla de cerdo (pig’s rib), tepezcuintle en pibil (barbecue), atole de macal, biscotela, longaniza, etc.

This 7 December, in the towns of Flores, and San Francisco, Petén, there is a gastronomic festival called Las Mesitas, where you can find all kinds of these regional dishes and drinks.

From Guatemala’s news paper Prensa Libre.

The only thing I have to regret is not having known about this gastronomic festival last December I was in Petén.
For sure I will not miss this one. Who’s coming!?