28.1.09

one quarter has passed

Loads of new photos on the flickr, linked on the sidebar...

So, did I mention I´m quite fond of Guatemala?

The cross-dressing party on Saturday night was quite nice, pretty laid back, but we should´ve been more aware of the happy hour before dinner! La Iguana Perdida is a hostel with private rooms, one of which we stayed in with a beautiful view of the Volcan de San Pedro and Lago de Atitlan (the lake!). A great big dinner is served with everyone around the same table, and as soon as it´s over (it´s delicious, by the way, vegetarians got giant beet falafels/burgers) the shots are pressed upon you! Teams mix shots and compete to sell their particular mix first. All fun and games coming from folks dressed in drag. I realized that it´s really more for the men, cause all I had to do was paint on a mustache, put my hair up and wear jeans and a baggy shirt. Mike wore a lovely outfit, a flowy skirt with a tight skimpy spaghetti-strap shirt and a rainbow-strapped bra stuffed with my socks. He also brushed his hair all down and to the front, o so cute, and he tied the cord in his shorts (worn under the skirt) above his hips to look like thong straps. :D

Sunday we came back to Pana on a very slow lancha across the lake, where we´ve been resting since. We´ve been playing cards a couple of nights with the parents, which is pleasing. Mike´s mom is funny with a few glasses of wine, her highly competetive spirit, and a certain amount of herbal influence. Ha! It´s fun to be her partner, for the most part... I´ve been enjoying kitchen access, making ginger/rosa de jamaica tea and making yummy free-range eggs. The yogurt here is pretty dang good, too.

Yesterday we went to the Solola market about 20 minutes up the cliffs which is not a tourist market at all, but a place where lots of people from different places come twice a week to buy the things they need. Lots of cheap beads for making tourist stuff, belts and jewelry. So much beautiful food, spices, fruits, yarns, breads, yellow and blue corn tortillas, shoes, clothes, cloth, housewares, etc, etc. Mike bought a headband to carry things across the forehead made of deer skin with the fur on the inside. It´s pretty cool. Other than that, we didn´t have much need for anything else. A very interesting experience though, especially riding the chicken bus there and back. A chicken buses are all school buses from the United States that get re-fit with longer seats, a badass stereo system, bag racks and a fancy paint job. I was actually quite impressed by them, just like riding a school bus (cause it is), but with good tunes and tightly packed. For 5Q a person, it´s the shit. 5Q in town only gets you a ride from one shop to the next in a tuk-tuk, which is like a super fast golf cart equipped with an insane car alarm/siren.

Today was quite interesting, as we visited the medicinal herb garden across the Rio Panajachel (a very small river this time of year, more like a creek), about 10 minutes walk from where we live on the Rio. I went into the book store here where we´ve been using the computers yesterday and was asked what I was looking for by the young lady at the desk. I´ve been on the look-out for a native plants book, so I told her, and she asked if I´d been to the garden. Apparently she works there half time volunteering with the three indigenous gardeners and other gringo volunteers. She gives tours and has gotten more into actual gardening, according to our tour today! It was a lot of fun going through the garden, as it´s set on a mountain side quite reminescent of Mountain Gardens, and we all three just shared a lot of information about plants. We talked a good piece about herbal smoking blends, Mountain Gardens, and certain plants we use for different things than is traditional here. It was great, and then Jennifer walked us to the office of the project to look at the fair-trade woven goods from the women in the villages around the lake. Back-strap weaving is a very old tradition here, and a lot of girls are taught how to weave from a very early age. Guatemala went through 30-some years of civil war, and a lot of men died or disappeared, so there are loads of widows, especially here in the highlands where there is the highest concentration of indigenous peoples. Some of these widows have formed cooperatives to make and sell weavings, and this particular project called Maya Traditions (mayatraditions.com) supports these groups with marketing, strategies, new designs for world markets, good quality materials and some funds. The garden is an extension of the support provided for the women by providing traditional information passed on from medico Mayas (the head gardener was taught by his grandmother), as well as plant starts, information booklets with recipes/preparation methods/identifications/glossary, and workshops in different towns. It´s all part of a prevention campaign in order to deal with the high cost of prescription drugs and support of tradition.

All this and more, my friends.

Hasta luego,
Abigail <3>

1 comment:

donald423 said...

I wish I could hang out like that with MY mom!