Monday, March 19, 2007

Photo Recap of February and March

After four long weeks from my last entry, you can imagine how much has happened and how impossibly lengthy this entry would be if I summarized my experiences like I normally do. So instead of bombarding you with a short novel, I will give a photo recap of the past month, and you can see parts of it first hand:

My room. This is an important photo to show first because it is actually where I spent most of the past month. I’ve been sick for the past four weeks, longer than ever before in my life and I didn’t have the energy to keep up with the blogging (thus my hiatus). After two doctors, one radiologist, one wrong diagnosis and prescription, one CAT scan, one ear infection, one bout of pinkeye, and more sleepless nights than I care to count, I am glad to say that the bronchitis, allergies and nasal infection are starting to go away. I am more frustrated than anything else because I have spent three weekends idle and missed out on travel opportunities. However, as you will see, there was a ton to see and do in Antigua

Mariachi’s at a CIRMA celebration to welcome the stolen baby Jesus back to the nativity scene. This is apparently a tradition all over Guatemala, and the party was complete with tamales, cake, spiked punch, DJ and water balloons. The most hilarious part was when the woman who stole the baby Jesus revealed she was the secret thief (after weeks of speculation by everyone). And in front of 50 or more people she tried to make a serious speech about the importance of the tradition, and one of the kids present (about 4 years old) walked out into the middle of the grass, pulled down his pants and started peeing. Everyone started dying laughing, and the woman’s built up moment of glory was gone.

The yellow house that Laura and Kendal are sitting in front of is my home in Antigua

Check out the fireball in the sky next to the church. Behind those clouds is Volcano de Fuego which erupted the other night. You could see the lava and fire shooting out of the mouth from Antigua.

Dancer at cultural festival with beautiful smile.

Cultural dance festival on the steps of the Cathedral

That is a circus lion, leopard and jaguar being transported to the next fair grounds. It was raining and the lion was pacing back and forth while the truck blasted down the road at 70 MPH.

With my own kind. He wanted to play with my water bottle and was surprisingly strong. After interacting I’ve decided that I really want a tail. Really.

The beach front hotel we stayed at in Chiapas, Mexico a few weekends ago. The woman who owned it was beautiful and truly kindhearted. Her son was a watercolor artist with impressive work hanging up all throughout the great hall.

The beach in Playa Linda, Chiapas, Mexico.

This is the river that separates Guatemala from Mexico, and those are illegal immigrants walking across the filthy border water. They probably aim to make it the U.S. and they have quite a way to go. The border town of Guatemala was packed with young men preparing to make the jump. One young man who I can’t shake from my mind looked completely terrified and truly helpless as he paced nervously back and forth near a bus station.
In a non-Guatemalan accent he anxiously asked passerbyers for help and when he was given a half empty bottle of Gatorade he ferociously devoured it like he hadn’t had anything to drink in days. His fearful and lonely eyes were harrowing.

Laundry hanging in the garden at my home. In the background you can see the statue of Mary and Jesus with fruit and incense offerings.

Calle Chipilapa with families out in front of their homes creating carpets from fruit, leaves, pine needles, and colored sawdust for the processional to walk over. The weeks leading up to Easter are a huge celebration with processions winding through Antigua every Saturday. My Spanish teacher expressed her love and pride of this time of year when she said, “Semana Santa is by far my favorite and the most important holiday for Antigua.”

Luis, the grandson of my host family in front of the alfombra or carpet which I was able to help create.

The procession passing by our house. The atmosphere of the crowd is comparable to a Fourth of July celebration in the states; complete with families, kids, vendors, sweets, balloons, popcorn and cotton candy.

My family: Luis (grandfather of little Luis), Victoria, and Maria Luisa, watching the festivities.

The processional bearers in costume.

The sheer mass of the processional is incredible. The men and women who carry it on their backs clench their teeth and fight to keep moving. Penitence doesn’t get more plain than carrying a thousand pound representation of your God on your back.

Cerro de la Cruz, on a hill over looking Antigua. Volcano de Agua in the background.

Just so you understand how big this cross is that is me at the base of the cross in the second picture.

Our second class trip to Maya ruins, this time in the capital city. The tin roofs to the bottom left are protecting the ruins, in the background the city. My fantastic archaeology professor Erick Ponciano is waving.

I’ve seriously thought about this tail thing. I want one. The beautiful painted Maya pottery in the Popul Vuh museum.

The sunrise by canoe at the wildlife preserve in Monterrico, Guatemala on the Pacific coast..


White cranes and the sunrise.

Waves from passing boat.

Reflection of sunrise...

Fishermen in the perserve getting food for the day.

Last weekend hanging out at the black sand beach. The water was warm and current crazy strong.