It has been wonderful to be back - and not just because (but a little bit because) of the weather! We left many happy memories and good friends here last year. In my experience, Guatemalans are very loving and demonstrative - and I don't think we've been hugged so many times in one day as on our first day back!
We have rented a house in the same neighborhood as last year - it's very comfortable, with good wi-fi and volcano views (our two musts). Of course, the first weekend we made for the market to stock up on fresh veggies - particularly the wonderful avocados.
|Flowers at the market - bought a dozen calla lilies for 50 cents|
|Sox caps at the market - $1.30US|
|Our favorite bumper sticker!|
|Our casa - white house on the right - volcano in the background|
|banana delivery to the market|
|flower carpet for the procession|
|weekend breakfast - fresh tortillas, chorizo and eggs|
We were aware, from last year, of all the traditional processions you see during Lent, but figured we were a bit early for it to start yet. Little did we know that there are processions on February 2nd, marking the day that Mary went to the temple to be blessed, 40 days after the birth of Jesus. This traditionally marks the end of the Christmas season. The day here is called Candelaria, but, interestingly, around the world it's also Candlemas, Imbolc, and Groundhogs Day! (and my sister-in-law's birthday).
|The Candelaria procession|
|The band follows|
This all happened at night, so the photos aren't great, but it went through our neighborhood and we met the neighbors who were making alfombra (flower carpets) for the procession to pass over. During and after the procession, there were very loud - and very close - firecrackers. Firecrackers seem to be a way of life in Guatemala and nary a day goes by when you don't hear a few. Comically, we had a car in the neighborhood whose alarm was set off by the firecrackers. So that night, laying in bed, we would hear a firecracker, hold our breaths for a second, and then hear the car alarm go off!
Tomorrow our friends Anne and Jim arrive to work and play with us for a week. We're all heading to Lake Atitlan for the weekend. Stay tuned.