On the 12 of December, Guatemalans join the Mexican celebration of the Virgen de Guadalupe. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘Culture’
Los Reyes Vagos is a Guatemalan rock band founded in 2007. (more…)
I love the cultural aspects of Guatemalan heavy traffic.
If you love watching movies on the big screen, Guatemala City is the place to be.
The Popol Wuj, sacred book of the Mayan K’iche’ people. The original version of the book was lost to history, but the first copy made of this book is safe at a library in the U.S. of A.
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.
Cycling is the new trend in Guatemala.
Every week there are about a dozen events for cyclists, from beginners to advance and pros. Some of these events are organized by local municipalities and some others are small private efforts.
Last night there was a fast ride for advance and pro riders, organized by Ciclovida Urbana -a small and independent bicycle store- a good 35ish miles ride going from side to side of Guatemala City.
A lot of the cycling events are design to promote bicycle riding as a safe commuting way, something much needed in this gas-vehicle saturated city of ours.
There are a few infrastructure project for bicycle riders too; bicycle path are popping out in a lot of place, in fact, there is one being built right outside my neighborhood, a good 1.5 miles one.
Yes, it is a step on the right directions to have these bicycle paths, but they are just independent patches of cycling infrastructure. The one outside my neighborhood is about 1.5 miles and it connects nowhere. There are much larger paths recently inaugurated on the affluent areas of Guatemala City with the same mistake; connecting nowhere. A lot of times I see these infrastructure plans as plain aesthetics projects.
One more thing, if you stand on the side of one of these bicycle paths, you’ll rarely see bicycle traffic, except for that sporadic rider.
And: One of the things a lot of these campaigns and events to promote the use of bicycles have failed to address is the Guatemalan middle class logic.
I’ve been to dozens of these events and a lot, and sometimes the majority of riders arrive at the event driving their gas consuming vehicles. Come on! if you drive your car to one of these event you are defying the logic of it!
But the worst thing about it is that most of the people who arrive by car live just a few miles from it. Guatemala City and the suburbs aren’t very large, you can ride from any of the suburbs to Downtown Guatemala City and it won’t take you more than an hour.
A couple of months ago I went to one of these event at night, we finish the ride around 10 pm and I rode my bike back home, a good 10 miles. On my ride back I see about a dozens vehicles pass by me with their bikes on their roof rack or trunks. And that’s the logic of the Guatemalan middle class. I honestly think they go to these events not because they really sympathize with the cause or understand its logic, no, they just want to show off or socialize.
Oh, let’s not forget that a car represent social and economic Status in the mind of a Guatemalan. Bicycles were/are the transport of the poor, the peasants and lower classes, fortunately this perception is changing.
And I would even dare to say that these events have not convince 1% of the participants to leave their car at home and ride to work one single day. I hope I’m wrong!
Identities omitted to preserve privacy, all told by the people who lived them
Four Hikers, three males, two of them professionals and a female
We hiked up that volcano and we reached the summit very fast. We had some spare time some we decided to cook and eat lunch on the summit.
We were having fun by the fire and the female drops the pot with boiling water on the foot of one of the two professional mountaineers.
We had to rush down the volcano to get the injury treated. He was in so much pain he could not walk. He had to be carried by two of the male hikers, while I (the remaining experienced mountaineer) and the female walk behind the group.
At some point the female next to me asks me: Hey, who is the woman walking along the other three hikers?
You are the only woman here with us I tell her, while I slowly turned my head towards the leading hikers and see a silhouette of a woman walking next to them. I was shocked without noticing it, the silhouette disappears.
Sometime later we came back to the same volcano and the hike up was perfect, the road was clear and weather was nice. On our way back there were hundreds of branches, recently cut, blocking the same clear road we had just passed, impossible for a human to do so much work in so little time.
Later while talking to some locals we tell them about our strange experiences at that volcano and asked them if they had witnessed such thing here before.
One of the locals tells us: Ese es el señoron! That’s the Big Mister, later explaining that’s how they called the Devil in that town. “In fact, there is a cave with a drawing of El Señoron and people come here to worship him and to talk with him..” the local tells.
I went for a second visit to the circus, Circo Rey Gitano, Guatemala’s oldest and most famous circus.
This time I went a little earlier to take a better look at the animals.
Do visit your local circus, they take great care of their animals and they are very enthusiastic of their performance, despite all difficulties.