Currently browsing

December 2007

Last updated by at .

La Antigua Guatemala Daily Photo’s Top 12 of 2007






New Year’s Eve Celebrations in La Antigua Guatemala:
For starters there are many things that make New Year’s Eve similar and different than Christmas’ Eve. If Christmas’ Eve is celebrated with the family at home at your parents’ home; New Year’s Eve can be celebrated anywhere: a discotheque, a park, the beach or La Calle del Arco, a popular venue in La Antigua Guatemala




La Antigua Guatemala’s Central Park Dressed for Christmas






Okay, I promise this is the last shot of La Antigua Guatemala’s Central Park at night for a while. I just thought I needed to show all the angles and besides and I also wanted to show what is possible when you are walking around and the lighting conditions don’t allow for photographs to be taken without a tripod. See, thanks to the mini tripod LAGDP received from Santa Claus, a tripod is always present for those photo opts that do require a little more than a steady hand (and boy, because of all the coffee drinking I do, a steady hand is one thing I lost long time agoooooo).







Illuminated Angels at the Park






I figured you would like to see the illuminated angels a little closer, so I took a few more shots. This one has a couple making up (you guys are voyeurs) by the fountain and this next one you could use it as a post card since it is only the two angels slightly out of focus. I hope you enjoy them both







Illuminated Escuela de Cristo Park Scene in Antigua






Even smaller parks, like the one in front of the Escuela de Cristo Church, get their light dress for the Christmas season in La Antigua Guatemala. Yet the best and most expensive lighting is reserved for the Parque Central (Central Park) as you have seen in the previous days’ photos.







Baby Jesus Inside the Nacimiento






On the December 8th, It was Carmen who said, “Baby Jesus was put in his spot within the Nacimiento after we came back from the Misa de Gallo…” in the comments of the entry about the Nacimiento Shrine Niche at Capilla de Belén. Well, I am glad to know that our fellow readers and visitors are eager to fill in all the details and ephemerides that I leave out (out of ignorance). Follow the link if you would like to learn about Nacimientos tradition in Guatemala.







Feliz Navidad, Merry Christmas from LAGDP






With the help of a little tripod and an out of focus shot, you can turn even the most banal and commercial Christmas tree into an awesome Christmas card. I hope you like it even though it is not to easily distinguishable as a Christmas tree.







Christmas’ Eve or Noche Buena in La Antigua Guatemala






Christmas’ Eve or Noche Buena in La Antigua Guatemala is celebrated by staying up all night burning firecracker, eating tamales or turkey and drinking real fruit punch or hot real chocolate, visiting family, friend and neighbors for the respective abrazo de Noche Buena and buenos deseos (Christmas hug and wishes); many even go to midnight mass. At midnight the presents under the Christmas tree, around the nacimiento (nativity scene), are opened and everyone laughs and hugs indiscriminately everyone around. These celebrations rate the highest on nostalgic memory scale; everyone living abroad wishes to be in Guatemala for this season and for this night in particular.







Santa Claus Pays a Visit to La Antigua’s Central Park






Well, what do you know, even Santa Claus pays a visit to the illuminated Central Park. LAGDP’s Santa Claus lives in Motley, Minnesota and she paid a visit earlier in December as a response to the entry where I requested support for this web site through the Amazon Wish List that I maintain for La Antigua Guatemala Daily Photo. Carolyn was kind enough to wear a red fluffy dress and bring the following presents: a mini tripod, a book on Wordpress and a set of rechargeable batteries and charger.







La Antigua Guatemala’s Central Park Illuminated






La Antigua Guatemala’s Central Park gets a light dress for the Christmas season. If you remember some of the photos from last year, like Tree branches of Fire or Lit Branches at Central Park, you would know that taking photos of the illuminated park is quite difficult since the resulting photos hardly capture the magical atmosphere of the trees with thousands of Christmas lights. I promised I have tried my best. This year, I have a few more takes on this gorgeous light dress for the La Antigua Guatemala’s Parque Central.







Guatemalan Tortilla Basket






Right now, the going price for tortillas is 6 tortillas per one quetzal (Q1 = US$0.13). This fact brings me to another interesting aspect about tortilla selling in Guatemala: tortillas are sold by units and not by weight, which means some tortillas could be tiny or really thin or worse yet use maseca flour in the mix. 🙁







How to make the perfect Guatemalan Tortilla






Well, for starters you need ‘real’ nixtamalized maize dough (nothing of the maseca flour that Manolo uses), a ‘real’ comal (baked clay griddle) and you need to use ‘real’ leña (wood logs, quite possibly pine). After that, you need a good pair of hand to tortear (hit into shape) a real looking tortilla. You don’t need no sticking mold to shape your tortillas ma’am. 😉







Traditional Guatemalan Christmas Food: Dobladas






Dobladas (turned over) is our last meal at the Virgen of Guadalupe Celebrations. Dobladas are made from nixtamalized masa (maize dough) like tortillas, but other ingredients are added before the masa dish is folded over itself and cooked. The ingredients that are added to the doblada are normally ground pork rinds, cheese, mashed potatoes, whole beans, et-cetera, but could be anything really. For instance I would like to find dobladas with cheese and loroco flowers; that would be very tasteful. Dobladas are normally fried or cooked over a comal (griddle made from cooked clay); just like tortillas. Dobladas are very similar to pupusas, except they are turned over. Check out the giant pupusas or Mayan pizza photos. Once dobladas ared cooked they are top with repollo salad (cabbage salad or coleslaw), tomato sauce and/or chile sauce (hot and spicy sauce).







Traditional Guatemalan Christmas Food: Fried Plantains






But like in anything else in life, something good emerged from such a tragic history. Fried plantains, rellenitos (fried plantain mass filled with black beans), atol de platano (plantain-based hot and thick drink) and even the wrappings of traditional Guatemalan tamal came from the banana trees. Man, I could on and on talking about bananas recipes and dishes in Guatemala like Bubba did in Forest Gump about shrimp.







Traditional Guatemalan Mole






Guatemalan mole is very similar to mole poblano, which is a chocolate and chili based sauce (over simplification of the ingredients). One big difference is that mole poblano is a meal with chicken or turkey, while Guatemalan mole is a dessert of plantains ladled with chocolate sauce or mole for short. Bon appetite!







The Buñuelos King of La Antigua Guatemala






This guy is the self-proclaimed King of the Buñuelos of La Antigua Guatemala. After making such claim, he turned towards the competition and asked, “Isn’t true that I am El Rey?” to which the other vendors just nodded. Last year on December 6th, 2006 there was a picture of his fair food stand.







Buñuelos Are Another Traditional Guatemalan Christmas Food






By the way, although I have not mentioned it yet, every night as I write the daily entry I can hear the bombas (bombs) firecracker, the cohetes (firecrackers) being burnt, the church bells tolling, the canchinflines (whistle) firecracker and all kinds of unknown (to me) firecracker being burnt and creating a loud bang which I can hear as echoes through the far away streets. In additions to the smells and scents, the Christmas season in Guatemala has a soundtrack of its own.







Torrejas, Torrejas, Anyone?






Guatemalan torrejas is what happens when you mix a good sampling of Guatemalan sweet bread known as molletes; stuff it with manjar …




Virgin of Guadalupe Celebrations in La Antigua Guatemala






In La Antigua Guatemala, religious celebrations draw together all kinds of heterogeneous people and the feast day of Virgin of Guadalupe is no exception. In the day of La Virgen de Guadalupe, Our Lady of Guadalupe, you can find gringa mamas, indigenous mamas, ladino mamas and white mamas all taking their children dressed with indigenous clothes to visit the altar of La Virgen Morena. In many cases you have grandmas and the whole family taking part of the visit to Virgin of Guadalupe inside Iglesia de la Merced.







Multimedia Section at the Compañí­a de Jesús Library






So it took us about a week to finally enter the Multimedia zone at the Compañí­a de Jesús Library, as Lessie suggested. Now I would be extremely happy if the film section had the complete works of Woody Allen, Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock and Emir Kusturica for starters. Or better yet, I would be in film-heaven if they only had the 1001 movies you must see before you die. Sometimes I wish I was a Slacker.







Nacimiento Shrine Niche at Capilla de Belén






One important aspect of this particular Nacimiento is the fact that Santo Hermano Pedro de Betancourt managed to get himself in the picture of the Nativity shrine. For those who are not well verse in Catholic imagery, myself included, normally the Nativity scene shows Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus along with a few animals. No, Santo Hermano Pedro could not be present there since he was born about 1600 years later, give or take a few moons. Rather, the inclusion of his image, on the right, is to celebrate and to remember that is was Santo Hermano Pedro de Betancourt who introduced the Nacimiento and Posadas to the American Continent, to La Antigua Guatemala if you want to be precise, and from this old town, this celebration was taken to the rest of the continent.







The Ecological Way to Celebrate the Burning of the Devil in Guatemala






For those who would rather break a piñata than playing around with fire, I present to you the Lucky 7 Burning of the Devil Piñata for you to fill it with all your frustration and negative vibes and virtually burn it or break it with your mouse, trackball or tablet until your let it all out. Happy Burning of the Devil everyone!







Children’s Area at the Compañí­a de Jesús Library






Children also have a reading and play area at the Compañí­a de Jesús Library. This picture was taken early in the morning, before kids show up and fill the place with their happy noise and laughter.

I was glad to see a reading and play salon for the kids. Reading is a habit that should be acquired at the earliest age possible.







Computer Terminals at the Compañí­a de Jesús Library






Computer stations are also available at the Compañí­a de Jesús Library in La Antigua Guatemala. Patsy mentioned that many people opt for the computer instead of grabbing the old-time-tested book. Well, the times are a-changing, you know and everyone needs help with a new system. If you don’t believe me, just take a look a the video clip below that show us how difficult it was for the book to get accepted as the new medium for holding texts.







Reading Area at the Compañí­a de Jesús Library






From the reception desk, we move to the reading area, immediately to the left, to check out all the recent magazines (mostly European and Spanish). This gray granite table with its bright illumination is the perfect work area to do your Spanish classes homework; even more so if you take into account the great dictionaries and thesaurus available the







The Library Tour: the reception desk






We will begin a mini tour of the library at the Compañí­a de Jesús building under the care of Cooperación Española NGO or Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional as it is called in Spanish.

But first the disclosure: I love libraries; even chicken bus libraries! 😉







Before Sunset in La Antigua Guatemala






The quality of the sunset light during the winter months in La Antigua Guatemala is the best of the year. Almost anything you photograph has this warm feel. If you are in Antigua now, click away like crazy. Even a simple shadow can be warmth, don’t you think so?