Monday, August 31, 2009


I am not sure if this series will make sense so I will try it and if I get comments I will keep throwing some sayings here and there.

I love people that can sweep you with complicated and elevated words but I also absolutely enjoy the everyday colloquial talk. Part of that colorful language that leads you into the idiosyncrasy of the people are those 'common sayings'. I am not so sure they can be translated and explained since it appears to me that they are felt more than said, but anyway here is one:


The expression means that if there is a rumor going about, it probably holds some truth.

VERY IMPORTANT TO KNOW IS THAT GUATEMALA, AS THEY SAY, IS THE LAND OF THE BOLOS, BALAS Y BOLAS (bolos-drunk people, balas-bullets, bolas-vicious rumors), so I wouldn't take the saying at face value.

The picture is at San Buenaventura on Lake Atitlan. I had the picture and every time I saw it it reminded me of this saying.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

ALL WITH IN A BLOCK -everyday snapshots-

A series of pictures I took while going round a block (literally) on the way to work. These are the types of scenes my eyes catch when I have been on the States for a while and that stop jumping out at me once I have been in Guatemala for some time...

A truck loaded to go set shop at the market

People running madly for their lives trying to catch the bus or cross the street.

A "tienda" were you can but a soda on a bag, one cigarette, one piece of gum, etc.

A taylor shop. For Q10.00 you can get a seam done.

Trash set on the sidewalk waiting to be picked up.

A car parked with a plastic for a window

A works man cafeteria, where one can have in the morning a licuado de frutas and a pan con frijoles for probably a $1.00. For lunch you can get a $1.50 lunch complete with meet, rice, vegetables and tortillas.

Guatemala a country of contrasts, just take a look at places I have taken you in this blog: like this one or this one.


Requeson is very similar to Ricotta. In the supermarkets you can but it in a plastic container like you would ricotta. If you go to a cremeria (a cheese and cream store) you might find it in small bags, but if you go to the market it comes as the picture shows wrapped in a banana leaf! (very organic and environmentally friendly).

This market is the market in San Lucas Sacatepequez on the way to Antigua from Guatemala City.

Posts part of the series A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z.

Friday, August 28, 2009


I am always fascinated with all the street vendors, there are the ones that are devoted to fairs and events and the ones that take possession of a street corner and become a brand of their own. Such is the case of these flower vendors, vendedores de flores.

A rose bunch goes from Q15 to Q50 a dozen depending on the quality. It definitely makes it easier for men to bring flowers home. A point for Tom, who when in Guatemala, often brings me flowers!!

P is for PITAYA

Pitaya is the fruit of a cactus. Pitayas are easily found in Guatemala all year round in the farmer market and. They are grown in the eastern part of the country particularly in Zacapa, Jutiapa and Chiquimula.

The outside of the pitaya is rubbery and the inside is very much like a kiwi, but a vivid fuscia. The word pitaya is commonly used to describe that color.

Posts part of the series A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


La Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción, is the complete name of Guatemala city, a name give by Carlos III with a royal license on May 23rd 1776, thus the reason why today August 15th, the day celebrated as the Assumption of Mary, is the official day of Guatemala city.

La Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción is the fourth and current capital of Guatemala. It was established the 2nd of February 1776 on the area now known as Zone 6 on the Valle de las Vacas or Valle de la Ermita, where the Church of la Parroquia stood. The church had an image of the Virgen de la Asunción who became the mother patron of the new city. In 1804 the image found a new home in the Church built for her in the north side of the new city. This continues to be her home and the place were the Fair of Jocotenango in honor of the Virgen de la Asunción takes place every 13th, 14th and 15th of August.

The seal of arms of Guatemala city, whose name comes from the Nahuatl Goatemalan, which means land of many trees, is the same seal given by Carlos I in 1532 for the establishment of the first capital in Iximche, later to the Valley of Almolonga, Ciudad Vieja, then moved to today's "Antigua Guatemala" and finally moved again to the new valley were it is today.
The Seal has Santiago the Apostle on top and three volcanoes in the bottom with three trees in front.

References: Tu Muni webpage

Thursday, August 13, 2009


A matraca is a sound instrument that makes a strenuous noise. It was used in old times to announce church events, processions, etc. It is still used in processions sometimes to announce the change in the turn or to mark the pace. I have also seen matracas being used by fans at soccer games.

PS. Para los chapines, que ya se que estan pensando, aparte es a matraca!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


This particular OWLS, originally manufactures in Jocotenango, are a visual synonym of savings. In fact this figure has been constantly used in banks PR.

The Tecolotes are "piggy banks" (alcancías) made out of clay and hand painted. They can hold quite a bit of coin. The only way to take the money out is by breaking them (or patiently trying to take coin by coin out through the slot).

In Jocotenenago they also make alcancías with the shape of fruits and vegetables, growing up we used to have güicoy (pumkin) that we filled with chochas, quarters.

A Tecolote ranges from Q25.00 to Q175.00

Saturday, August 8, 2009


This blog is mostly about Guatemala, but since las week was the celebration of "Fiestas Agostinas", a time when many Salvadoreans come to Guatemala for vacation, it was a good excuse to respond to one of my readers petition to write once in a while about El Salvador (her adopted child was born in Guatemala to a Salvadorean family)

San Salvador is named, for the Savior of the World. If you visit San Salvador you have to make sure to drive by one of the city´s most important and oldest monument: El Salvador del Mundo. The landmark is an obelisk in a busy rotunda. At the top of the obelisk a globe of the world and on top of it the figure of Jesus Christ the Savior.

I am usually drive by it becuase I am forever taken by the church that is exactly four blocks to the North of the Monument: the church of San Jose de la Montaña. The church has in the outside the most charming mosaic of Saint Joseph with his adoptive son. Baby Jesus is rubbing his eyes as children do when they are fighting to go to sleep.