I don't know if you've seen these before (below), but I hadn't, and I spend a lot of time in Guatemala.
These are Jesus chairs and from what I understand, the idea is that you ... well, you sit on Jesus. I'm neither Catholic nor religious, but the idea still seems a bit disrespectful to me! Like sitting on Daddy's lap?
Reminds me of a guest of ours who insisted he could see the image of Jesus on a bedroom chair. All we saw was a wood stain, heathens that we are. We had to assure him we'd call a priest to check out the chair.
Either way, it's interesting. Even more interesting, however, ...
... were the Zapatista dolls, which look like a tiny-scale Ninja army. I want to take some back for my nephew in the U.S. Well, some children play with GI Joe dolls (or "action figures," if you must), others shall play with Zapatista dolls.
Maximón (below) is not a plaything. It's a character revered by many Guatemalans, Mayan or not. It is a synchretic melange of Mayan god and Catholic saint, and its followers take him very seriously. I always felt a deep sympathy for Maximón (sort of a doppelganger of St. Simon), even though many fear him as a kind of malignant being.
From what I understand, he is neither good nor bad. Maximón is actually like a mediator. If a petitioner asks for something bad, then that is the petitioner's personal responsibility. Maximón only grants and it is up to the petitioner how she/he uses the granted wish. Kind of existentialist, if you ask me.
There was one that was sporting NY Yankees baseball cap. I also saw a typical Mayan woven-wool blanket that displayed a huge "Obama" sign. US hegemonic cultural imperatives in the Mayan arts & crafts market and all that jazz. Still, I kind of like it.
Anyhow, if you are ever in Antigua, do as I do, and go have lunch at La Cuevita de los Urquizú (the little cave of the Urquizú's). For less than US$10 they give you a main dish and 2 side dishes, and it's always delicious and huge.
They have so much to choose from that it's a very angst-ridden decision. For vegetarians, there is a meal with 5 vegetarian side dishes, and it's very tasty.
All sorts of people go to the restaurant: locals, backpackers, middle class people, wealthy people, en fin, quite the democratic admixture. Everybody has to stand in line and sit wherever each may fit, as the place is almost always full.
Some of the stews offered at La Cuevita can be seen below. I wish I knew how to cook some of that stuff and in olla de barro, as well!
The Historic Center Festival (below) is going on right now and it has been fantastic. Street performers, hip hop/spoken word poetry, rock concerts, art exhibits, film, theater, dance, etc. And I mean, a lot of it all. All free. Also lots of free food and bar-hopping involved. Bar fare not free.
If you're in Guatemala these days, the schedule of events is here. Even if you won't be coming, check out the website for its really cool pictures.
One of the highlights of the festival was the musica sacra concert at the Cathedral (below). I am more of a blues/rock kind of person, but the concert was truly magnificent and received a standing ovation. It was performed by one tenor and two sopranos and It . Was . Awesome.
The whole festival has been tons of fun and lots of aesthetic pleasure for all kinds of tastes. So if you're in town, come check it out. It has really opened a space for indie artists and art collectives, so one sees a side of Guatemala usually not available to the mainstream visitor.
Hotel - Lofts - Parking
In the Historic Center of Guatemala
In the Historic Center of Guatemala