Blogs from Western Highlands, Guatemala, Central America Caribbean - page 104


... overshadowing the flaws in his thinking and his lack of actual achievements. A man to be liked more than admired, he fought with passion and was honest towards his own short-comings but has more fame than his 'achievements' deserve. A theme consistent in Latin American where the people are fond of lifting people to God like status, untouchable by criticism. In many ways they become a symbol for a idea, a movement. Maintaining the myth of perfection is useful in bringing a face or a name to cause or an idea, almost marketing it. Hence Zapata, a man who deserves more recognition, was only to found in the history books until the Zapatistas reminded us of him. There's a book, harshly titled 'Latin American Idiots' (didn't sell well in LAm), written by Latin Americans ... read more

Admittably I've plopped this in my current location bit although much of this relates to Chiapas, Mexico. A book I'm reading at the moment has captured my political, philosphical and moral imagination and I feel I need to write about it here. The Zaptistatas are named after Emiliana Zapata, a prominient figure in the 1910 revolution in bringing rights to indigenous people after hundreds of years of abuse. This period was many a subject of a Diego Riviera Mural (see Mexico City bit). He suceeded in creating some land reforms, which have since been recinded in order to allow NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) to take place and basically allow rich companies to kick indigenous people off their land (again) and force them in to confirming with the Capatilist system (basically to live in poverty ... read more

After a day and a half of frustrating travel, due to many reasons, I arrived in San Pedro La Laguna via a overnight stop in Guatemala City. Within about ten minutes of arrival a guy had lead me to a hotel and language school and I had parted with money to both. Language schools are amazingly cheap here, with 20hrs lessons 1-1, accomodation and food setting you back only about US$90. The general consesus among travellers is that the standard of teaching is not hot, but for what I wanted (a lot of conservational practice) this is not too important and still provides excellent value for money. Of course the flip side of the coin tells you that by the time the language school has pocketed it's bit the teacher is unlikely to earning much over ... read more

Fresh off the plane in Guatemala city, I grab my two backpacks and head towards the crowd. I walk onto a stage looking up at the audience. The house is packed. Family from all over the country come to meet their loved ones off the plane. They aren't there to simply connect, find their car or bus, and be on their way home. It's an entire event. It's a production. When their loved one appears on stage, their section goes wild. I don't have a section. I look up and see nothing familiar. I turn sideways in attempt to squeeze through the crowd. I feel a bump on the lower part of my bag and look behind me to notice a little girl on the ground. I must have hit her pretty hard. I say I'm ... read more

Errr, October 13th? So first its two weeks, then four and now, well who would ever have predicted this, eh? Perhaps its time to start thinking about making lots of New Year’s resolutions I’ve no intention of ever keeping. I managed to leave my diary somewhere in Antigua so I've given up on that one. Means I can hardly remember what I've been up to though so I'd best start making things up.... NOW! So after all of Mexico - or at least the 3% or so that I must have seen - I had to take a boat and a couple of buses to make my way into Guatemala. Here's a beautiful but poor country with an unimaginably turbulent past, culminating in some 36 years of civil war (which only ended with 1996’s peace accords) ... read more
San Maricos, Lago de Atitlán after Stan.
The first family I stayed with in Xela.
Luis, my teacher.

James´s camera is lost, perdido, for now. We´ve finaly figured out how to use Diego´s camera for the blog. To answer a whole bunch of emails at once....YES Carolyn Myss does have issues...don´t we all,,,no, ¨James¨¨shall we say, was not team teaching with her...he was team boxing with her?...or more like, she with´s difficult for Dr Myss to take a compliment...James tried several times...finally, at an airport in middle of india, he complimented her on the color purple she was wearing =one of Jame´s favorities, and she called him a goofball and yes he is a clown.James and Diego two of the biggest clowns, PAYASOS, in Guatamala...then he tried again, and said to her, JUST SAY THANK YOU...she said THANK YOU. End of conversation...with authorities, etc with dr upledger they seem to like to take ... read more
lake attitlan
on the boat

Before I go on about Chichicastenango, I realized I forgot to explain why the local buses are called Chicken Buses. Basically anyone is allowed to bring aboard pretty much any kind of cargo which sometimes includes live chickens. You pretty much never know what to expect when you get on. I also forgot to show you a picture, this one isn´t that great, I have to take a better one, but you get the idea... Most of them are more colorful and have a woman´s name painted across the side, usually a daughter´s or wife´s. The same is for most of the comedors, restaurantes, cantinas, etc. Anyways, So yesterday I visited the town of Chichi to walk amongst their weekly Sunday market which covers about 10 to 15 street blocks, it is so big! I thought ... read more
Chichi market...
Chichi market...
oranges anyone?

So Thursday morning I changed my mind about going to Chichicastenango for the market and decided to take the bus to Quetzaltenango to do some exploring. It is the biggest city in the western part of Guatemala, very close to the Mexico border. It is also referred to as Xela, that is what the indigenious people call it. I was quite unsure of my decision to go here cause I really had no idea what I was going to do there, but as usual I ended up having a great time. The city centre is absolutely amazing, all of the buildings are very old and the architecture is amazing. I think my favorite place was the theatre. I have never seen such an amazing place! I got to see the inside too, and it made me ... read more
the garden at one of the parliament buildings
in Almalonga

Hola! Right now I am at what is said to be the most beautiful lake in the world, lago de atitlan. It is a huge body of water surrounded by volcanoes and many small villages that you can take boats to and visit or stay for the night. When I first arrived here I went to the village Santa Cruz La Laguna. It is a very tiny village, and most of the people don´t actually speak spanish, they speak in their mayan village language, I forget the name of it. Anyways, while there I stayed at this place on the water called La Iguana Perdida (the lost iguana). It was a really nice place with great staff, and a great Saturday night party. Every Saturday night they host a cross dressing party where everyone staying there ... read more
Cross dressing party...
the girls...
San Pedro La Laguna

OK, first of all I want to let eveyone know that I´ve added a few pictures to the blog entry about our jungle trip. If you were curious about some of the stuff I talked about in there visit it now for additional pictures! I left Antigua on the 16th. Ryan, I, and a girl named Sarah travelled to Lago de Atitlan which is a huge lake a couple hours northwest of Antigua. There are several towns on the lake, and we´re staying in San Pedro. It´s very cool being on a lake, the lake is huge, windy and we had to take a boat over to the other side. The bus from Antigua took us to Panajachel and from there we got on a boat and eventually to San Pedro. We´re staying at a place ... read more
Lago Atitlan

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