Saturday, May 29, 2010

Gloomy morning

Efforts of picking up the 'tefra' still are undergoing now under the rain.
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Friday, May 28, 2010


One journalists and two other Guatemalans lost they lives at Pacaya volcano. Three children are still missing and thousands were evacuated. The was a seismic movemente at 3.00pm and the main eruption was at 6.55 pm the volcano shot two stream of lava about a mile high. The airport is closed to air traffic.

In the year 1998 was the last time this happen. That time Tom was waiting for me in Dallas I was to fly from Guatemala meet him and then we would fly to New York. Not satisfied to loose my trip to NY I had my father drive me to El Salvador were I took a plane to Dallas and met Tom in Dallas only one hour later than agreed. This time Tom is in LA with a scheduled flight to Guatemala tonight, we'll see if he makes it. Although after 13 years of marriage I already told him not to pull an El Salvador move because I am not driving, just come when you can!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Writing on the sand

1/ 2 inch in gt city, 5 inches in Escuintla. Sand from the eruption of Pacaya Volcano.
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Sand rain

Sand falling on Guatemala City, froman eruption of Pacaya Volcano.
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An out of character stop

My friend Rafa took me to this place at 1st avenue and 1st street zone 1 to eat dobladas and tostadas which we are enjoying under a sand rain at 8.15pm.

It was an interesting stop. I normally would´t dare stop on a corner of Zone 1 during the day even less at night but I went with the flow... Although I have never been to Brooklyn or Queens if it is any like it shows in the movies that was how that corner was. During the 4o minutes we were there all the neighborhood went by adding another line to the ongoing conversation they maintain with the doblada vendors, mom and daughter, who know every story there is to know.

BTW we ate 2 chuchitos, 1 tostada, 1 pupusa, 2 atoles for Q21.00, US$2.50.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Last Sunday we went on a 'school fieldtrip' with my masters program. It was a family trip led by our professor Estuardo Zapeta. Estuardo is a renown journalist/atropologists/linguist/economist he is both brilliant and controversial. The trip included breakfast at El Pedregal, a visit to the Chakchikel city of Iximche, the ruins, the mayan altar and a 10 interview assignment at the Market of Tecpan.

I had been to Iximche several times before but I had not been to this particular place where the Mayan rituals take place. For future reference you need to go all the way to the end of the site past what you think is the last set of pyramids.
There you will find this mound. It is a set of four altars two of them active (what Tom described as with signal -5 strong bars-).

Some of the key points we learned were:
1. The Shamanes (mayan priests) are one because of a calling mostly related to their Nahual -the month, day, year, they were born - It is so that the real Shamanes won´t even charge you for a ceremony. (To find your Nahual click here)
2. The Colors are important the circle is first divided in half and colored with nature elements blue and green symbolizing sky and earth. Around the circle in an outer one for colors are arrange on the cardinal points. According to the petition different color candles or elements are used. The Shaman will always have red in his or her head.
3. There are offering given and burn on the fire also according to the plea. If it is an illness or a course ones wants to get rid off perhaps a chicken will be used to take all the bad in you and then burnt on the fire. The Shaman will also read that fire.
4. Ceremonies will last 4 to 5 hours and are performed in spanish and a mayan dialect.

The ceremony in the picture was to ask for prosperity in business. The family brought as an offering sausages because it was the most expensive item they had at home. The sausages were thrown in the fire. The flowers, candles, sugar an other elements used were also provided by the family asking for the ritual.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

La San Juan

La Calzada San Juan is one of the bussiest streets in Guatemala, connecting Zone 7, Zone 19 and taking you to San Juan Sacatepequez.
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Buying piñatas

Last year I did not drive downtown to buy the piñatas because I had just come back from the US and was willing to pay more or have less selection in order to not go to this part of town.

This time I thought I`d go to piñata central: 12 avenue and 9th street Zona 1, at Parque Colon. I am glad I did even though I found everything except the dragon I was looking for apparently the movie How to Train your Dragon didn't stick to acquire piñata status.

In the first picture find Avatar.

In the second picture find the bucket of beer.

and in the third picture find MICHAEL JACKSON!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


The Call Center and BPO Industry in Guatemala is growing and helping Guatemala´s economy like no other industry has and it is in great need of English speakers.

I often get asked, What is attractive about Guatemala for US companies?

1. Near-shoring vs off-shoring. How Call Center are selling Guatemala is by telling their potential clients in the US if you go to India it will take you a day to go, two days stay at minimum and a day to come back. If you have your business in Guatemala you can take a morning flight, come check out your operations, play a round of golf (year round) and be back to have dinner with your family!

2. Guatemalans accent. Americans are more used to a hispanic accent than, let´s say, an Indian accent, it probably makes them feel more at home.

3. All of you who know us, Guatemalans, know we are friendly and are naturally steered towards service.

4. Guatemala's young blood: the median age is 19.4 years vs the US 36.7 years. Young people are earning $7000.00 - $8,500 per year which is considered a good salary according to cost and cultural habits of living. (GDP per capita $5,200 - US$46,400). To put it in prospective the minimal monthly wage is $240.00 a month.


50+ Contact Centers including in-house
10,000 jobs created, half of them bilingual

There is a growing demand and the challenge now is to be able to find bilingual candidates, that is why the government has launched a scholarship program to improve the level of English to candidates that have and an intermediate level English to raise them to the hiring level.

To find out more about the scholarship go to

Monday, May 17, 2010


Last week we enjoyed at the Centro Cultural Miguel Angel Asturias (better known as National Theather), the music of the Concert Marimba. The concert hall was full (aprox 4000 people), not sure how many payed for their tickets, I know we didn't, we got 6 courtesy passes.

The program was superb they played music written for Marimba as well as some Mozart and such. There we also some interesting arrangements with violins and others Marimba and tromboune, the latter played by an American.

The concert was broadcast live on the Guatemalan internet radio TGW, la voz de Guatemala: .
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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Virgen de Fatima town procession

Last night at 10.00 coming back home from a friend's house in the outskirts of the city, we ran into this small procession on the road.
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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Monday, May 10, 2010


This is somewhat of a vent off post. I just have to say I definitely like the US version of Mother's Day - the second SUNDAY in May.

In Guatemala it is always the 1oth of May. According to the decree 1794 the 1oth of day is Mother´s Day and an official holiday for all mothers. I am all for mothers, I am one, but we need more work days not less! Last time I checked Guatemala was not in the first world country list...

Well, regardless: FELIZ DIA DE LA MADRE

Picture: Monument to the Mother in Zone 10 Guatemala City.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Fountains davanti National Theater Guatemala "Centro Cultural Miguel Angel Asturias"

I will only refer to the fountains infront because it is impossible to do justice on one post to this magnificent architectural landmark. The picture are view of the fountains that due to lack of budget they are waterless and shockingly have become a refuge for street dogs.
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NO MORE ¨¿Qué estás tomando?"

If Craig Ferguson would be writing this blog he would say it is a sad day for America.....

The quintessential skit between sports commentators that went: "Luis, qué estás tomando?" (Luis what are you drinking?) Response: "Gallo nuestra cerveza." (Gallo our beer) will not be heard this year since the beer Brahva is the official sponsor of the World Cup. Brahva negotiated an unprecedented exclusive contract that will not allow to mention Gallo.... what a different World Cup it will be.

I grew up listening to this role play and I challenge you to call or email any Guatemalan born before 1990 and as him or her Que estas tomando? I could bet they will say GALLO NUESTRA CERVEZA!!!

Myself, I will be watching the world cup drinking Monte Carlo, although I have to confess, and I just realized it, I am writing this blog sipping a Brahva :-(.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


I have been wanting to go to Ch ateau DeFay for month and have talked it up so much my husband was convinced I had already been!

Chateu DeFay is a vineyard and winery on the slopes of the Volcan de Agua. To get there you first get to Antigua, go to El Calvario take the road to San Juan del Obispo and Santa María de Jesús, very scenic route you can get a wonderful view of the Antigua valley. When you get to Santa María de Jesús you go through the town into what any tourist would call a 'scary dirt road' for four miles. At this point we were debating with Tom if it would be a place we would bring any international visitor. The road to get there is so deceiving of what you are expecting of your final destination that we stopped several times to ask: we asked the man on the horse, the man walking and everybody seemed to now about the Chateu!

We finally made and boy was it worth it, we spent a wonderful 4 hours hours there celebrating Pablo's birthday. We first got the wine tour of the vineyard and wine tasting (cost Q35.00). Then we sat on the garden to enjoy a bottle of white wine and artesian truffles while we waited for other friends to come. They have 6 types of wine , everyone`s favorite was Angies Blend a white on the sweet side wine, which really had a wonderful quality. I liked a Lambrusco like wine they have: semi-sec sparkly red. We then moved to the restaurant area and had a long laughing out loud lunch with pasta and wine. The kids were having a blast running outside taking in all the fresh air. they came in for 10 minutes to eat their pasta and off they went again.

I definitely recommend this place so don´t turn around on the dirt road it is heaven ahead!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Saturday, May 1, 2010

IRON MAN II released in Guatemala before than in the US!

Crazy lines at the 2nd day of Iron Man II in Guatemala, today May 1st, Labor Day.
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First of May, Labor Day.

Yesterday I read on the newspaper about the annual Labor Day demostration and coincidentally I had to teach a class nearby so even though I was a little nervous about how traffic was going to be, I decided to drive by to take some pictures.

The demonstration starts at the Labor Monument or as it is better known "El Munecon" (the hunk). El munecon is a muscular man lifting a stone. As a kid I remember driving by it an seeing it as such a big monument and as you can 'hardly' see in the picture, it isn't!

In the demonstration you can see the USAC students -all six of them- wearing their handkerchieves around their necks, students from public institutes, unions and of course the always present cotton candy vendors and tostadas ladies.

You can see in the pictures floats starting to line up. The demostration heads toward Constitution Plaza infront of the National Palace.
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