May 09, 2005

Back from Guatemala

I am back from Guatemala, arriving home at a little after 1:00 this morning. I lack the coherence to give a full and reflective report, so, instead, I'm going to sort of sum up in a series of stand alone vignettes and random thoughts:

*They should just admit that the country is humid and that central air conditioning is helpful.

*I'm sure I've said this before, but Guatemala is an exciting, vibrant, lovely, dirty, sometimes scary place, filled with kind and gentle people who carry lots of guns, all the time, all over the place.

*Driving behind a pickup truck in which six National Policemen were sitting in the open bed of the truck, on the walls of the bed, was scary enough but when one of them started playing with his Uzi, I wanted to throw myself over the children and close my eyes. All we needed was a pothole. Big sigh of relief when they turned off the road.

*The National Zoo in Guatemala City is a friendly place and we were there on a day when the place was filled with children from outside the city. They were mostly indigenous peoples and we dressed, many of them, in traditional clothes. They were flat out fascinated by my blond haired blue eyes kids and spent a lot of time looking at them and talking about them. The Girl Child became uncomfortable with being stared at for so long and by so many. The Boy Child was oblivious. My mother in law explained that these children had probably never seen anyone who looked like my children.

*Marimba, when played for the locals and not the tourists, can be a lot of fun. It must have something to do with the vibe of the people listening and dancing to it.

*I know I've written about fruit in Guatemala before, but it is so damn good. We also had some other cool things:

pacaya: A vegetable, the initial blossom of a variety of date palm tree; has a slight bitter taste. Used in salads; deep fried in egg batter or served in a tomato based sauce. Most appreciated by Guatemalans and Salvadorians. Consumed year round in particular during Holy Week and November 1 (All Souls/Dia de los Difuntos).


Huiquil (which I am spelling wrong and which we had in a soup.

*More later on a couple of other topics from the trip.

Posted by Random Penseur at May 9, 2005 11:33 AM

Welcome back and congrats a completing a safe trip. Hope ya had fun!

Posted by: Tuning Spork at May 9, 2005 10:06 PM

I am glad to see you are back safely. I read your accounts with great interest and a little sadness. I miss that part of the world.

Posted by: Alex at May 10, 2005 02:59 AM

My blonde neices and nephews went through something similar in Hong Kong, a little unsettling, esp when large groups of mainland tourists tried to pick them up to pose with for photos.

Posted by: Mia at May 10, 2005 03:15 AM

Fascinating! Sounds like an amazing little excursion. The whole 'police truck' part would have terrified me as well. My world is so much different.

I had a friend from Guatamala. He was very fiery. Did you see that is the people there? Did they appear to get easily worked up about things?

Posted by: dr Pants at May 10, 2005 03:16 AM

Hah! - Gotcha! Welcome back.

Posted by: Mark at May 10, 2005 10:44 AM

Welcome back! Looking forward to some more Guatemala pictures. :)

Posted by: Jim at May 10, 2005 12:05 PM
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