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November 2007

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First Christmas Signs of 2007

Poinsettias or Flor de Pascua are in full bloom in The Land of the Eternal Spring for the Christmas season. Commercial decorations are beginning to show up in shops and restaurants. Soon enough we will have the Burning of the Devil celebrations, Nacimientos, Posadas and everything else that comes with the Christmas season. Soon, even the trees will dress for the holidays.

Smoking is Cause of Cancer

Fumar es causa de cancer (smoking is cause of cancer)

The warning above is not used in Guatemala. I have only seen it used in Mexico. In Guatemala, the warning on the cigarette boxes is pretty explicit Smoking will kill you, period.

How to Discourage your Competition

This is a very simple and effective way to discourage the patronizing of the competition. Sign seen at Los Mojados Taquerí­a (The Wetback Taco restaurant).

Bistrot Cinq is the New Kid on the Block

Bistrot Cinq is the newest kid on the block of La Antigua Guatemala restaurants. It is an upscale bistro with exquisite decoration. I know restaurant decoration should be different than home decoration, but honest I want to move here. 😉 I guess for now at least I should go try the food. I will post my report later on. Stay tune!

Marimba Orquesta Chicken Bus Ave Lira

Like Manolo said, with Marimba music as the background for many parties and celebrations around La Antigua Guatemala and the rest of the country, I can almost smell the pine needles under my feet and the tamales and ponche (fruit punch) in the air. Oh what memories… sometimes I even wish I could like this type of music. 🙁

Marimba Chicken Bus and Church of San Pedro

Well, well, what we have here… what’s up with that, why are Guatemalans so enchanted with the infamous chicken bus. I mean what makes Guatemalans take on the crappy junk and retired school buses from up north and give them a second life as public transit chicken bus, mobile libraries chicken bus and now as a marimba orquesta mobile unit chicken bus.

Wedding Capital of Guatemala

La Antigua Guatemala is the most often used backdrop in Guatemala for… you name it. Anything from films, concerts, paintings, photos, festivals, religious rituals, and why not, weddings too. Actually, La Antigua Guatemala is used often as the backdrop for weddings not only of Guatemalans, but for many foreigners as well.

Private Spanish Classes in La Antigua Guatemala

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the private Spanish teachers yesterday in the cornucopia of options available for taking Spanish classes in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Spanish Schools entry. Once again, take all these options with a grain of salt since many of the flyers put more emphasis in the private part of the sale of the service.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Spanish Schools in La Antigua Guatemala

In the picture above you see two foreigners taking Spanish classes in a Restaurant/School named Korea with omnipresent beer posters. Here’s the Spanish word/phrase of the day: Quiero más cerveza por favor (please, I’d like to have more beer). Life is though for the Spanish students in the Spanish school capital of Latin America.

Coffee Break from Spanish Classes

Yes, Spanish Classes in La Antigua Guatemala is a very touchy subject, you know. The next post will definitely raise a few voices and hurt some feelings. I just hope to come out slightly bruised from this affair. But before we open the book on this unpredictable topic, we should take a coffee break.

Candles on Sale, Candles for Santo Hermano Pedro

At the entrance of the San Francisco El Grande Church, burial home of Santo Hermano Pedro de Betancourt, you can find this stall of candles. We visited the entrance of this church before with with Monk in San Francisco El Grande Church and The Guatemalan Chever Hot Dog Cart.

Cafe Micho’s at El Jaulón Building

From the tables of Cafe Micho’s, right across yesterday’s fountain, in the corridor facing south of the Jaulón Building, you can meet with friends and family for coffee or beers, or simply enjoy a sandwich from one the best bistros in town. The tables all face to the central patio, with the fountain slightly off-center. You can enter this beautifully restored building from the east and south entrances; from the south entrance you enter the Jaulón building through and arched d

Partners in Adversity

Life is tough for the homeless in La Antigua Guatemala, but it helps to have a friend to cope with adversity.

The Last Fashion Statement: The Chucho

Believe it or not, I read recently in an article in the New York Times (printed edition, so no link) that the latest fashion statement in the U.S. was to adopt Latin American street dogs, commonly known here as “los chuchos”. Well, maybe this should be the type of Guatemalan adoptions that should make the headlines. There is an abundance of chuchos or street dogs available for adoption in La Antigua Guatemala and throughout Guatemala.

Dog School in Antigua

The reason the photo above brought memories back from an old forbidden song in Latin America was the lyrics of Las casas de cartón (the carton houses) which had something about dog schools where the canine were given education so they don’t bite the newspapers… but I rather leave you with part of the lyrics and the song below it.

Selling Cell Phones in the La Antigua’s Market

The transnational Spanish cell phone company Movistar enters the humble Guatemalan market; following the example set by Domino’s Pizza. So now, you can go to el mercado (market) of La Antigua Guatemala for your vegetables, fruits, spices, flowers, dishes, charcoal and cell phones. These two girls, with Telefónica Movistar t-shirts, were selling the cell phones for Q130/USD$18 with Q100 of airtime and your own cellphone number; not bad all.

Taking a Break

We all need it by now.

Today’s entry marks 558 consecutive days of La Antigua Guatemala Daily Photo; 570 entries total. The tree above is the same tree that appears in the post I don’t care about the world on May 21st, 2006.

Styles Barbershop

For some unknown reason, many Guatemalans opt for misspelled Spanish bastardizations of English words to name their businesses. For instance, the image above has the name Stilos (Estilos is the proper Spanish spelling) as a way to relate to Styles the English word for this barbershop (peluqueria in Spanish).

Public Water Distribution System

Central America and Guatemala especially have an abundance of water resources, many are groundwater. La Antigua Guatemala is located in a valley irrigated with over six months of a rainy season per year. La Antigua Guatemala is surrounded by mountains and volcanoes that collect even more water. Much of this collected rain ends up as groundwater.

The Catcher of the Kites

Soon enough the electric wires become adorned with kites, lots of kites. See kite flying and the Guatemalan electric wire webs just don’t get along. One serves as trap for the other.

Guatemala Will Now Be a Social Democrat Country

As of 22 hours local time of Sunday 4th of November, Guatemala’s Electoral Supreme Tribunal or Tribunal Supremo Electoral (TSE) in Spanish has declared the Socal-Democrat Alvaro Colom as the new elected president of Guatemala.

Mickey Mouse Kite

Cross-culturization is happening so fast that Guatemala may seemed foreign to those Guatemalans who have lived a few years outside its borders. Walt Disney figures and just about any comic hero like Spiderman, Superman, Wolverine, et-cetera are being absorbed by the popular culture and mixed with their own traditional icons like kites and parades for town fairs. But this cross-culturization is happening at all levels and not only with U.S. trivial merchandise, but with Mexican culture, music, food, novelas (soap operas), et-cetera. For instance, a few year back, I took a photograph of menu board in Panajachel, Lake Atitlán, which advertised the Desayuno Chapí­n (Guatemalan breakfast) with eggs a la Mexican style

Giant Kite and Guatemalan idiosyncrasy

This picture is like a summary of the Guatemalan Idiosyncrasy. First we have the giant kite with all the Mayan motifs, which for a long time represented the pagan rituals as the dominant catholic church used to call them. Anything that represented non-christian religious rituals was denigrated and prosecuted under the pagan label

The Best Fiambre in the World

I don’t know why the word salad brings all kinds of vegetables to mind. Fiambre is a salad, but it mostly has meats, all kinds: sausages, hams, chicken, sea food, meats pork and beef. It is Domino’s or Pizza Hut that has a meat lover’s pizza with a mere 5 meat. Move over meat lover’s pizza; fiambre has over 25 meats.