Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas in Antigua

It has been some time since we last posted. But we have a legitimate excuse. After we left Mexico and entered Guatemala our road life changed a lot. We went to lake Attitlan for a couple of days. Then we drove into Guatemala City to get the bikes serviced for the next 10000 km of driving.

Guatemala City is big, spooky, and GPS would do no good. We managed to find the BMW dealer and get the bikes serviced. But the 2 days we spent in the heart of the city were like going back to 1969. We are assured by Guatemalan friends that the city we saw is not indicative of the city in general. We did not see miles of slums or degraded conditions. It was more a feeling that something was amiss.

We got out of Guatemala City on Friday Dec 19 and went to Antigua. Those of you familiar with Antigua know what a great place it is. For those of you who do not, let me assure you that for $25 US you can find a great hotel room with parking for the motorcycle. There are scores of hotels, lots of visitors, and plenty to keep you occupied.

On Dec 20 Mary, Wendy, Annie Odinas , and Bob and Sandy Wickersham showed up for Christmas week. Marty and I moved from the Black Cat Inn ( $33 per night for 2, with breakfast ) to the Quinta De Las Flores ( $140 per night for the Casita sleeps 5 - fireplace- pool- spectacular place). This was quite the change for Marty and me. We got used to staying in some pretty modest hotels. Toilet seats are not always included!!

So for the past 6 days we have been "touring" Guatemala with the family. I have worked so many projects here and visited with Mary before. So finding something new is a challenge. But we did it. The Dec 21 celebration in Chichicastenango was pretty over the top. This is basically a Mayan celebration asserting their heritage and superiority over Spanish colonial domination. They get one day. Then its back to the 21st century and the inevitable press of Western Civilization. Guatemala is one of those countries with a very large indigenous population. Many of these people live in poverty, butothers are quite successful. Those who think that indigenous people can somehow recoup the past 500 years are living a dream. Even those who wear the traditional garb want the trappings of european life including Toyota pickups, satellite TV, and the access to information that modern Spanish affords their children. The percentage of capitalists among the Maya is about 100% based on the number of them running their own stores, stalls, and trying to sell me souveniers. Lots of self employed people here running everything from knife sharpener machines to masons.

Part of our time was spent with some Dutch people who build concrete block houses for local families. The family only pays a part of the cost. The NGO picks up the rest. But getting to the jobsite requires the mandatory ride in the back of a Toyota pickup. Marty missed this trip, and the Dutch girl Inge. If you snooze you loose.

Marty and I are off to El Salvadore on Dec 27. We hope you enjoy the photos.

By the way. We got new tires and a new windshield. It cost a little duty, but everything is back in running condition.


Patio John said...

Just wanted to say hello. I've really ben enjoying following your trip with the great commentary and photos. This website thing had to be Marty's idea and a very good one at that. Godspeed to you gents and stay safe.

steven said...

Hi Fritz and Marty - Black here, think you could use a break so here is our Christmas Cookie Recipe

I'm whipping up abatch right now.

Jose Cuervo Christmas Cookies
1 cup of water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup or brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup nuts
2 cups of dried fruit
1 bottle Jose Cuervo Tequila
Sample the Cuervo to check quality. Take a large bowl,check the Cuervo again, to be sure it is of the highest quality,pour one level cup and drink.

Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter
in a large fluffy bowl.

Add one peastoon of sugar. Beat again. At this point it's best to make sure the Cuervo is still ok, try another cup just in case.

Turn off the mixerer thingy.

Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit. Pick the frigging fruit off the floor.

Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaters just pry it loose with a drewscriver.

Sample the Cuervo to check for tonsisticity.

Next, sift two cups of salt, or something. Who geevesa sh**t. Check the Jose Cuervo. Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.

Add one table.

Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.

Greash the oven.

Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall

Don't forget to beat off the turner.

Finally, throw the bowl through the window, finish theCose Juervo and make sure to put the stove in the wishdasher.
Cherry Mistmas ! Black Deb - Steve Jr. Trish n Justin , Pam Julie ect

Jordan said...

Marty! Valerie, Aunt Martha, Mum and I are playing cards and reading you blog in my mother's new apartment in the Back Bay. We're glad to hear you had a nice Christmas. Happy New Year buddy!

Jacquelyn Caglia said...

Happy New Year, Marty!
Wishing you all the best on your great adventure in 2009! Love, Jacque