Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Photos around Antigua, and a walk in the surrounding hills.

"Except as we have loved, all news arrives as from a distant land." ~ Mary Oliver

Just some photos this time, with descriptions. I hope you enjoy them.


The term "indigenous" gets used most often to describe the native people of Guatemala. When you see indigenous women like these in Antigua, identified primarily by their bright colored clothing, they're almost always selling something. It looks to be a tough life, but very social.
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The bride waits for her entrance at the church on the town square.
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This fountain might be one of the more photographed spots in Antigua. It's inside what used to be an old colonial home, and now houses Cafe Condessa, a popular restaurant and bakery with free wi-fi and delicious, inexpensive food. The original house was built in 1549 - just over 50 years after Columbus "discovered" America. I find that amazing.
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The enthusiasm of youth. These guys are no doubt here in Antigua to taken Spanish lessons. When I get off a three-feet wall these days, I get down off it like a toddler climbing out of his high chair. 
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Cerro de la Cruz - the famous cross overlooking Antigua. It was unusually hazy on this particular day.
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I can't help but smile when I see photos like this.
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One of my favorite restaurants - Las Palmas. 
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There were more military in evidence in Antigua in the last few days - possibly because 27 people were found beheaded in the wild and relatively lawless Peten region, near the Mexico border. They suspect the Mexican Zetas drug gang was behind it.
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Some local vendors are checking out the photography exhibit in the main square. It's the norm to see women selling all day, carrying infants, looking after toddlers, and managing older kids who are sellers themselves.
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People looking at people, looking at people. (If I include you, that would be another people.)
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The inside of the oddly name Travel Menu bar and restaurant.
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One of Antigua's famed walls.
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A construction worker on his way home for lunch.
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A boy looking out the window of a parked bus. Some of the buses have paintings, stickers, and decals on the top and bottom third of the front window, leaving only a narrow slot to look through. Virtually all the public buses here are old American school buses.
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Carrying firewood up a steep hill.
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We saw this little girl on two different trips, and she's got the spirit of a fashion model. She LOVES to pose and have her photo taken. She's unusually calm here.
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I took quite a few pictures of this girl, who was hanging out with the model. I don't think they're related.
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He's not sad - he always looks like this! His expression cracks me up.
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The model wearing my friend Kris' sunglasses, which broke about two minutes later as two kids wrestled with them.
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The Model and Lovely.
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This is beautiful Benjamin, the child of two Americans who built a place called Earth Lodge up in the hills above Antigua. It's a steep but interesting two-hour walk to get there.
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Benjamin, you're killin' me!
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This kid was playing football on the dirt street as we walked past.
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The Model in her look-at-me mode, and her sisters.
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The Model's sweet and soft-spoken brother.
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I love these two.
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How is it that some people don't like kids? It's a mystery...
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(The End)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Easter Processions during Semana Santa, in Antigua (with a video!)

Oh, dear readers, I've not abandoned you. But I feel like I have. Most of you have no idea when I last wrote or where I even am. But it's my feeling, dang it, and I can cling to it if I want. I mentioned procrastination the last time I wrote (as if you even read my letters!) so that's off the table. Geesh - I'm speechless. My good intentions when I came on this trip (I'm in Guatemala, thanks for asking) was to write more, photograph more, and generally be engaged and engaging. It hasn't worked out that way.

Enough of that nonsense, and on to other nonsense. Semana Santa, which means Holy Week, (Easter to the rest of us) is a Big Deal in Antigua. It's famous for its giant processions that weave their way through the cobblestone streets of the city. Locals sign up to carry huge floats on their shoulders, as you'll see in the VIDEO (whoa!) and photos below. I'm worn out watching a procession for half an hour, but they run from a few hours to 18 hours in length. The tradition comes from Spain, where it was it really got going in 1521 when some noble or other returned from the Holy Land and wanted to initiate a "stations of the cross" walkathon. It doesn't appear to be spread evenly through Latin America, by any means, although someone mentioned that they got in a massive traffic jam in the Mission District of San Francisco during a procession. Who knew.

Look for more photos soon, lovely people.

Hugs and besos,

The video I created, using footage from my Canon 7D camera. It took a long time to make this - you need to watch it!

Gettin' jiggy with it, marimba style, on the the town square.
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Such a beautiful face.
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These "alfombras," or carpets, are made on the routes of the processions. This one is made with pine needles, sawdust, colored egg containers, and flowers. They're swept up immediately after the procession walks over them.
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A hat vendor. Or maybe he just really hates the sun.
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I was kind of excited when I saw the first one of these purple guys wandering around. He wasn't alone...
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Yikes. It's a convention.
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The colors of the outfits change. In the early days of the celebration, they wear the purple, then on Good Friday everyone is in black. In the distance you can see the float.
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I'm not sure of the center guy's role, but they usually look like they're doing their best to steer the float. At times they're pushing pretty hard one way or the other.
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Women carry separate floats, of course. And they're always behind the men's float. Of course.
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They look like they take it pretty seriously.
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I'm loving the hairstyle, and general grooviness.
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There were floats carried by really young children, but their parents were huddled so close to them I couldn't get a photo. These girls look to be maybe 13-ish.
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Lawrence of Antigua.
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Roman soldiers at the head of one of the processions.
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Good Friday.
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(The End)