Posts Tagged ‘Guatemala’
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.
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”.
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.
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’état 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.
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 Bartolomé 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 Lachuá The entrance to Laguna Lachuá 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. Cobán, Alta Verapaz Cobán 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 Cobán. 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 Cobán, you have to try that, trust me, you’ll love it.
This is how we roll, how a lot of Guatemalans move around in the city.
If only there was an alternative, only if….(?)
A great deal of Guatemalans usually mistake Progress and or Development with Urbanization.
Progress –implying Urbanizing- is good, houses, shopping malls, hydroelectric plants, etc. are better than useless patches of dirt. That’s the common mindset.
As I child I lived in front of this small patch of forest, one of the few close to Guatemala City. I used to frequent this forest with friends in search for local fruits: Jocotes, Sandia de Raton (mouse melon, Melothria Scabra), Matasanos (white sapote) and others. As children we used to disturb squirrels (one of the very few places around Guatemala City where they USED TO live wild) and hunted for small tortoise and birds. I know, we were bad!
I left Guatemala and came back seven years later and found a shopping mall had been built (now a Walmart)
I left Guatemala shortly after to comeback eight years later and encountered a series of new gated communities built where some of the remaining patches of trees were.
I’m a business person: Not long ago I saw a for rent sign on one of the windows of this large strip mall. I call the number and had a long conversation with the Realtor. “This is a great opportunity, see the mountains on the back, all this belongs to the same family and they are planning on building five thousand houses on that mountain. He tells me.
Goodbye remaining trees.
Yes, housing is necessary, as business centers are. Aren’t forest (patches of dirt) needed too?
I often finish these kinds of conversations with friends and acquaintances with the following:
I don’t call progress to stopping or diverting a sacred river to generate electricity so you have enough juice to watch TV tonight.
I don’t call progress to destroying a life and splendor giving forest and its inhabitants to temporarily fix our human housing problems.
Oh, on a funny related note: Many of these housing projects advertise themselves as “green” or “Nature surrounded”, but they fail to say that most of these gated communities refer to their green or Nature to small patches of grass in front of these houses, again: small strips of grass on their boulevards, and many times not even local species of grass or plants.
More: Another “Green Community” I was interested in a while ago, promoted itself as green and surrounded by Nature and on their advertising video they show animations of birds flying around the area instead of real ones: None available?
Rock Culture is dying down here in Guatemala.
In fact, there is no single good Rock radio station anymore, the last one they tell me changed its style more than three years ago; now they play pop music. But there still some loyal young people out here.
By chance I ended up at this autograph signing by Alan Boguslavsky, former guitar player of one of the most renown Latin America rock bands. The Dream of the Dead, by Alan Boguslavsky.
I know you all have seen more elegant, more sophisticated, more abundant and richer versions of a Desayuno Chapín -Guatemalan Breakfast-.
There is not set of rules nor it is written in stone what a Desayuno Chapín should be, or should contain. In my opinion, the Desayuno Chapín should reflect Authenticness -my word-, devotion to aboriginal ingredients, and the most important; Practicality. Again, in my opinion; Desayuno Chapín is about what’s practical but still tasty, not about presentation or fanciness. And what I show you here is what a Desayuno Chapín is and has been for the largest segment of the population, especially in the countryside.
And I’ll have this Desayuno Chapín go against any at a distinguished restaurant.
Que ricos estan los frijoles -So tasty are them Frijoles- I told the female attending the shop. Es que estan hechos con cariño -It is because they are made with love/passion/affection- she tells me. That’s something you are not likely to get at a fancy restaurant.