Colorful Guatemala

Colorful Guatemala

Colorful Guatemala, I tell you, colorful Guatemala!

Si ni los mismos guatemaltecos logramos entender la complejidad cultural en la que vivimos… —Ale de Desde Kinshasa

Not even us Guatemalans can really comprehend the cultural complexity in which we live… —Ale from Desde Kinshasa

Oh Guatemala can be a challenge for people who come from places with muted colors, and muted lifestyles where everything is the same old, same old. Too many colors, too many textures, too many idiosyncrasies, too many situations subtle and complex enough to throw off most conservative minds from their comfort zone. But sure enough, with their limited understanding and ignorance of the complexities of Guatemala, they publish misinformation on the web as absolute truths. That was one of the main reason I began this web site over three years ago; I was sick and tired of reading misinformation and ignorance regarding all things Guatemalan.

Still, often I come across aberrations such as: Volcán de Agua is active and can be climbed to see lava and eruptions, while thinking of Volcán de Pacaya; of course, misspellings of name of places (Spanish only has 5 sounds for the 5 vowels, yet many foreigners always use the wrong vowels); or that izote is the flower of the yucca tree; misinterpretations of Guatemalan idioms, words, customs, traditions, celebration, diet, et-cetera.

Some people have stated that Guatemalans only eat rice, beans and tortillas, without checking the facts; for instance, I have over 125 entries on Guatemalan cuisine and I am sure I have not even covered 25% of the extensive and rich Guatemalan food heritage. One single trip a town’s market would prove them wrong; after all, for whom are all those hundreds of fresh vegetables, fruits and spices? Other people, without doing research first, will cast as truth that a diet based on the milpa crops is deficient. Let’s see what the scientific findings are:

Maize is grown in what is called a milpa. The term means “maize field,” but refers to something considerably more complex. A milpa a field, usually but not always recently cleared, in which farmers plant a dozen crops at once, including maize, avocados, multiples varieties of squash and bean, melon, tomatoes, chilies, sweet potato, jicama (a tuber), amaranth (a grain-like plant) and mucuma (a tropical legume)… Milpa crops are nutritionally and environmentally complementary… Milpa is one of the most successful human inventions ever created. [ed. Just a fragment on the chapter about maize). Source: 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus.

Oh, I could go on and on about the misinformation I come across through my Google alerts about Guatemala and its people. One can understand that some of this crap is published by naive tourists, pseudo-travel writers or even ill-informed expats. Boy, don’t even get me stated with the expats! 😉 Of course, I am making broad generalizations which are ALWAYS dangerous according to my good epistolary Guatemalan friend Ale from Congo Days, but there is enough foul information out there on the web published as “truths”. Keep that in mind whenever you discover new blogs and websites through Google.

Otros vendrán para descubrir que es más complejo, tal vez más bello y más trágico, que lo que se habían imaginado y habían escuchado. —comentario de Ale de Congo Days in AntiguaDailyPhoto

Others will come to discover that is more complex, perhaps even more beautiful and more tragic than what they had imagined or heard. —comment by Ale from Congo Days in AntiguaDailyPhoto

Can you share with us your thoughts about misinformation and ill-informed posts you have come across?

Colorful Guatemala, I tell you, colorful Guatemala!

© 2009 – 2013, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
  • Hola~! What a fantastic picture with the bright colors and wonderful handicrafts in front of the old structure! Muchos gracias – adios EAGAN daily photo

  • Ale

    Rudy, I think I’ll be quoting YOU very soon. I share your frustration over lack of depth by some writers/posters who try to simplify the “unsimplifiable”. I agree with you 100%. Ok, travelers or people with little experience make mistakes, but expats that have lived in Guate for decades??

  • AB

    Colourful indeed — and from this perspective it seems like endless colour

  • emromesco

    Pues the caption for the photo could also be “colour in ruins”, which is also another metaphor for Guate and all things related to the motherland. To keep “branching” the discussion, we cannot forget that prejudice is what makes the world go round, or at least makes it understandable. At the end, the final goal should be a “fusion of horizons”.

  • Jerry T

    Did you have to post this shot? 🙂 Makes me really wish I was there. I have purchased things at this market several times and just love all of the color. Thanks for what you do. I check this site everyday and appreciate it’s value.

  • @Leif, thanks for you continued feedback, I am glad you like to the contrasts in the photo.

    @Ale, you know what, I don’t know why I have never thought of chapines as expats, even though, many Guatemalans living abroad could very well be expatriates. As a matter of fact, I never heard the term being used among other Central Americans living in the U.S.; I guess Central Americans refer to themselves as just that or imigrantes (immigrants), exiliados (exiled), or simply Latinos. I wonder why that is?

    @AB, it is impressive to see so many bright and rich colors against the dull and neutral colors of the ruins in the background.

    @emromesco, thanks for the link about prejudice in Ronald Flores blog. Ronald scares me sometimes, how can anyone be so brilliant and lettered at such a young age?

    @Jerry T, welcome back my friend. Long time no see. I am glad I was able to grab you back from the shadows. 😉

  • I love the colors.

  • Eclipsedeluna

    Ahh como extraño Guate! :(…

  • Pingback: Have Balls, Will Travel | AntiguaDailyPhoto.Com()